The wait is over – the hugely anticipated Paramount+ original series Halo will launch exclusively in the Middle East on OSN+ on the 25th of March, the same day as it debuts in the US on Paramount+.
The Halo TV series tells the story of the Human-Covenant War in the 26th Century, in which Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and his AI partner Cortana (Jen Taylor) attempt to stop the alien threat known as The Covenant and its genocidal campaign against humanity.
While the upcoming TV adaptation seems to be sticking pretty close to Halo's basic fundamentals, it also appears to be taking a wildly different path in terms of its story. Before we go any further, you can check out the official trailer for the Halo TV series below.
Analysis: a different Halo to what we're used to
As previously explained by Frank O'Connor, Halo's Franchise Development Director, the TV show exists on its own 'Silver Timeline', allowing its showrunners to pick and choose elements from existing "Halo lore, history, canon, and characters wherever they make sense for a linear narrative" without invalidating Halo's "core canon."
Based on the trailer above, we're already seeing a number of ways in which the Halo TV series diverges from existing Halo canon.
For starters, the show's Master Chief is seen operating alongside other Spartan soldiers in multiple scenes. As you'll remember, Master Chief was the sole Spartan warrior on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn in the first Halo ring, and it looks like that will be different here.
It also seems that (at least initially) this Master Chief doesn't exhibit any free will –as explained by Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone) in the trailer, the Master Chief has been designed with the sole purpose of fighting The Covenant, stating that "he is lethal, upgradeable, and most importantly, controllable."
That last part appears to change, however, when Master Chief comes into contact with a mysterious object that was being excavated by The Covenant, awakening something in Chief which sets him on his own path. This mysterious object also leads to a completely different way in which the first Halo ring itself is discovered.
Another big change to Halo lore comes in the form of Makee (Charlie Murphy), a new (and seemingly human) character created specifically for the series who leads (or at least speaks for) The Covenant.
The idea of a human Covenant member is a huge departure for the franchise, though we have to wonder whether the decision was made to cut down on the inherent VFX costs that would come with a fully CG animated alien villain.
Which brings us to what might be the Halo TV show's most controversial choice – Cortana's appearance. Though the character appears to be computer-generated in the show (or at least CG-enhanced), Halo's showrunners have opted to ditch the character's blue-ish hologram look in favour of a more physical human semblance.
Quite frankly, the change seems baffling and unnecessary to us, though we'll have to wait and see how it plays out. Thankfully, Jen Taylor has returned to voice Cortana in the show.
Changes aside, we love how most everything else in the trailer looks, from the Spartan armor, weapons and vehicles, to the appearance of the Elites (and their Energy Swords), the Jackals and other visually faithful pieces of Halo iconography. We look forward to seeing more when Halo arrives on March 24.