TV - Halo: The Series

With the series coming to Paramount+ on March 24th, our own Master Chief, Kraig Taylor-Bryant, talks us through the recent trailer and shares his hopes for the Halo TV series...

So, the Halo Series is finally here, well almost, only a month away from this article’s date of publishing. Funny how it was announced way back in 2013. It seemed to be lost in the void of unfinished projects until recently (maybe the many other adaptation announcements had something to do with it). Whatever the reason, I’m glad to see this one “find its feet” and it’s always nice to sit down and watch something with my younger brother (like I did with this trailer), given the frightening amount he knows about the Halo lore. Anyway, let’s take a look at the most interesting snippets of this trailer.

The trailer opens to a quick montage of clips that we’ll see more of later in the trailer (though I have to say, trailers within trailers, seriously?), anyway, the official beginning of the trailer opens to an unfamiliar desert city that to me feels similar to that planet in Rogue One that the Death Star tested its laser on? It’s interesting that we first see what looks like a rogue military group, using weapons similar to the “Earth Military” in Halo known as the UNSC. Though these people don’t seem to don UNSC uniform, this makes me go back to Rogue One where we see a rogue extremist group, which could again be the case here.

It’s interesting to see a focus on humans that aren’t official military for a change (in the Halo universe), and it would be very interesting if this rogue group have good reason for their reservations about the UNSC, making us question who the “good guys” are. This would also explain the child we see a little later when she sounds surprised that a “Spartan” (UNSC elite soldier) would help her.

Whilst on the subject of this girl, its interesting how often we see her in this trailer, and in different locations. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a father-daughter relationship reminiscent of the Mandalorian and his relationship with “baby Yoda” or if we’re talking about video game characters Joel Miller and Ellie in The Last of Us (also soon to be a series).

We then get a gander of what is likely Chief’s bare back, scarred from training or war (presumably) and a voice over from the woman behind the UNSC “spartan program”, Doctor Halsey. Then chief approaches what looks to be the regular UNSC soldiers in the middle of a warzone, given their brief appearance in this trailer it would be interesting if this was something of a flashback, though then again its clear the alien “Covenant” group will play a role in the larger story, meaning we’ll likely see a lot of war scenes like this.

A little further along we get a look at the other Spartans that will feature in the series, it’s nice to see diversity in the casting and I can’t help but wonder if one of these characters will be a familiar face from one of the Halo games (would certainly make for a fun easter egg for the eager Halo fans), perhaps reimagined for live action. It’s also interesting that we don’t see our protagonist, the Master Chief, without his helmet, perhaps meaning that we in fact won’t see his face, similar to the games (with perhaps the exception of his younger, child self, if the child we see is indeed his younger self). Personally, I think that would be a great way if preserving some of the mystery of chief, given that many players of the game like to project themselves onto the character.

The inclusion of the child, and the voice over of one character saying “what they did to us, makes you numb” during the clip makes me think that the show will explore Master Chief’s early life in the form of flashbacks. To me flashbacks would be a great way of accompanying the existing games by giving us all something to feel more connected to the protagonist of these stories. Whilst many might feel keeping Chief’s origin as a mystery is important, I think investing new Halo fans in the character of Chief should take priority (and I personally am curious to know more about him).

It’s then hard not to talk about how much better the Covenant look in this series than they did in the internet series Halo “Nightfall”, showing that either technology has changed enough in the eight years since that series released, or they put enough time and money into the effects of this show, which either way is nice to see. Although there is something odd about watching the shot of our protagonist, the “Master Chief” fighting two of these covenant elites, maybe it’s just strange because he’s using a rifle at close range, or maybe the height difference is a little off-putting, but I digress.

The “excavation site” that’s explored makes me think that the covenant is invading the village/city in search of the object Chief finds in this scene, how this object changes Chief will certainly be interesting to see, though I can’t help but speculate the woman we see later who talks of “surrendering to the covenant” has been indoctrinated by the object. I think that would better help explain why she is serving them, given this group’s heavily anti human beliefs.

It feels wrong to not talk about one of the major issues people have with this trailer and that is how… unusual Cortana looks. It could be that Cortana doesn’t look anything like the creator she was modelled after, Dr Halsey, or it could be that they tried a little too hard to artificially create an AI that looks more human. Not to mention that the actress playing Halsey isn’t even the same voice as Cortana’s, as Natasha McElhone is playing Halsey and the games original Cortana voice, Jen Taylor, is voicing Cortana. Honestly given how poorly received the major changes to her appearance in Halo 5 was, I’m surprised they went with such a bold move here, though I don’t think we’ve seen enough of her to judge this too harshly, and I’m sure any new to universe viewers, won’t mind it anyway.

Last but not least, the shot of the three Covenant Leaders (also known as the prophets) was very interesting to see in this trailer, though unfortunately we only witness them from a distance, perhaps they’ll appear regularly in the show if we see more of the covenants point of view. It’s unfortunate that we’ll have to wait until March to see how they look in live action.

From what I’ve read about this series, the “silver timeline” this new Halo series is following is probably the right decision, given how easily things seem to go wrong when studios attempt to tie respective games and films together. Given that The Witcher is referring more to the books than anything else, this Halo series will be a separate experiment entirely, but as a Halo “fanboy” I’ll be watching it regardless, to see how the show turns out, though the fact its already been renewed for a second season is a good sign.

Follow Kraig on Twitter @Kraigandhismac

Images - Paramount+, trailer screenshots
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