As one of the most highly anticipated TV series in 2022, Halo will finally be arriving at Paramount+ this week. The upcoming series has proven to be worth the wait with an excellent cast and visual effects. Similar to the Xbox video games, Master Chief, also known as John and/or Spartan-117, is the main character of the television series who leads from the front against an alien race known as the Covenant. Several other characters from the video game series are also featured on the live-action show.
Originally launching back in 2001, the Halo video game series sold over a total of 82 million copies. While the Paramount+ series introduces a brand-new “silver timeline” as a way of differentiating from the core canon, Halo fans will notice everything from characters, weapons, vehicles, and locations that are easily recognizable. Pablo Schreiber’s performance as Master Chief will not disappoint as the show provides a new portrayal of the character that wasn’t revealed in the video games. The biggest controversy at the moment is that viewers will get to see Master Chief unmasked more than once throughout the first season. This became a huge issue for the hardcore video game fans, as John’s face has never been revealed before.
Halo is an upcoming American live-action military science fiction television series based on the video game franchise of the same name. The official synopsis for the series reveals that it will follow “an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant. Halo will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure, and a richly imagined vision of the future.”
The Halo series also stars Natascha McElhone as Dr. Catherine Halsey (a scientist for the UNSC, and creator of the Spartan-II Project), Yerin Ha as Kwan Ha, Charlie Murphy as Makee, Shabana Azmi as Admiral Margaret Parangosky (Director of ONI), Bokeem Woodbine as Soren-066, Olive Gray as Miranda Keyes, Kate Kennedy as Kai-125, Natasha Culzac as Riz-028, Bentley Kalu as Vannal-134, Danny Sapani as Captain Jacob Keyes, and Jen Taylor as Cortana (an artificial intelligence AI construct).
In the year 2552, humans on the planet Madrigal have been fighting for independence from Earth, but a fatal encounter with the Alien Covenant complicates things. Master Chief John 117 and his super-soldier “Spartans” join the fight. After the battle, Master Chief heads to his home planet of Reach with a Madrigal survivor and a mysterious object he discovered on the planet. But a controversial order has John questioning his mission, and himself.
The first episode begins in a time period before the events of Halo: Reach. At this point, the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) are somewhat aware of the Covenant’s presence, but rather seem to focus on the multiple rebellions that are taking place throughout the galaxy…for now at least. It seems that the Fall of Reach event that took place in the original Halo video game and books timeline will actually happen at some point during the Paramount+ series. Within the first few minutes of the series premiere, Master Chief and his Spartan silver team arrive in midst of a battle on planet Madrigal between humans and the Covenant. The epic battle also shows several first-person action sequences through Master Chief’s helmet that pays homage to the video games. As a mysterious object is discovered in a hidden cave, John comes in physical contact with it, revealing the forgotten flashbacks of life he no longer remembers before joining the UNSC.
As John begins to rethink everything about whom he truly is, he also wonders if the mission itself is the correct course of action. The series premiere seems to tease that viewers will get to learn and see Master Chief’s origin story throughout the season. A new character is introduced into the Halo universe, who also is the sole survivor of the Madrigal attack, named Kwan. It is revealed that her father was the leader of the rebellion, and now she seems to have nowhere else to go after her home is completely destroyed. After successfully securing the mysterious artifact, John decides to oddly separate from his Spartan silver team and take Kwan along with him.
Episode 102 – Unbound
John takes Kwan to an old friend and learns more about the mystery object, which the Covenant and Makee are determined to steal. With the alien threat growing, Dr. Halsey has a plan to deal with John’s unpredictable behavior. The second episode has strong opening as first, while pulling off a great way of introducing Soren-066, who is originally a character from the Halo novels. Master Chief is shown to be more human than ever, as he continues to find answers about the mysterious artifact.
The second episode of Halo definitely makes it known to its viewers that the series is taking place in its own universe. As Master Chief takes off his helmet early on in the season, Pablo Schreiber’s performance goes to an entirely new level when showing John’s emotional side, teasing that the series is just getting started. More flashbacks about John’s personal life are revealed, as well as the introduction of rogue Spartan Soren-066 played by Bokeem Woodbine. After escaping the UNSC several years ago, Soren has a place called home in a space colony filled with Insurrectionists. It is revealed that John and Soren aren’t exactly the best of friends, but John is in a position where he has no choice but to ask for Soren’s help.
After Soren helps John and Kwan with obtaining more information about the mysterious artifact, John then realizes that the UNSC’s help would be the best option. John decides that it’s best for Kwan to stay with Soren in his home to keep her safe. Once John arrives on planet Reach, he immediately turns himself in and the mysterious artifact is taken by the UNSC for research. In a holding cell, Dr. Halsey enters the room to speak with John about his misbehavior and the consequences of his actions. Before the episode ends, it revealed that Halsey does in fact have plans of her own, and it doesn’t seem to be a helpful one for Master Chief.
Halo is produced by Showtime in association with 343 Industries, along with Amblin Television. The upcoming series is executive produced by Steven Kane, Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank, and Justin Falvey. With the series having already been renewed for second season, this most certainly shows that Paramount+ sees some great potential in the Halo TV series. Of course, there will be many Halo video game fans who will not enjoy the series for various reasons, but nonetheless, after several years of going through “development hell” the Halo TV series was worth the wait.