Based on the popular first-person shooter video game series, Halo: Helljumper premiered earlier this week. It’s a perfect example of quality fan-generated content. Director Dan Wang used his passion for the Halo universe and Tobias Buckell’s novella Dirt (which, for the neophytes in the room, is part of Halo: Evolutions, which is a collection of official Halo stories released in print and audiobook forms) as inspiration for creating the live-action series every Halo fan has been dying to watch.
“I’ve wanted to do a Halo movie for the longest time” said Wang over email. “I began to read a lot about the universe through the books and Halo wikis. At the time, I had just started getting into film so I made it my goal to make a Halo movie.”
The series follows the exploits of Gage (Bradley Rose), a dying solider who shares the exploits of his time fighting against the Covenant, a hostile alien force. Flashing back to the time Gage enlisted, the series chronicles his life from when he discovers his home planet has been attacked by the Covenant to his subsequent tours a soldier in the Human-Covenant war.
It’s amazing to see a fan-created original web series that looks this good. And while there have been a great deal of great-looking fan films and trailers over the last year (Dan Trachtenberg’s Portal short and Alex Albrecht’s Voltron: The End come to mind), that’s all they’ve been. Great-looking fan films and trailers. Wang’s Halo: Helljumper is one of the few committed to releasing multiple episodes.
While the series doesn’t have the budget of studio-produced derivative content, Wang’s contagious enthusiasm for the franchise helped secure some of the funding. He put $20,000 of his own money into Halo: Helljumper before raising another $3,100 through an IndieGoGo campaign.
Bringing the world of Halo to life in a fan made series presented challenges, but Wang found a way to overcome the many obstacles.
“The experience (of the crew), when combined with determination and passion allowed us to push the limits of what’s normally possible on our budget level,” Wang said reflecting on the production.