Desert tan and military brown reflect off of Spartan green in the soaring panoramic shots and in-depth closeups that pop in the first-look Halo trailer.
Dramatizing an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant, the Halo series began as a 2001 flagship video game franchise for Microsoft’s Xbox. Halo’s mix of military-style shoot ‘em up style with a sci-fi foundation has helped the entire line sell more than 81 million copies. The narrative follows Master Chief John-117, one of a few surviving super soldiers code-named Spartans. Together with Cortana, his artificial intelligence companion, these warriors represent a last stand against the Covenant’s genocidal goals.
If anything, Paramount Plus’ Halo trailer reveals that the series will embrace its namesake video game’s dramatic vision of the future. Sprawling military installations built into rock bring echoes of Bladerunner inside The Matrix. Spaceships and dull silver bases give off a sense of military might before flipping back to reveal the faces of the soldiers protecting the Halo array. It’s clear that showrunners are focused on interweaving interpersonal stories into the story’s action and adventure. And the first look clearly brings the action.
Soaring piano strings and a chanted chorus overlay a disembodied, gentle British woman’s voice urging on a protagonist.
“You’re special. In fact, I’m counting on it. We’re lost in the dark, but you give people hope and I will always be with you. I see this as a new beginning,” she says.
It’s likely that the unnamed narrator is urging on Master Chief Spartan John-117, who is being played by John Schreiber. With a multibillion-dollar franchise behind it and 20 years of plot lines, it’s fair to say that the success of the show, like so many alike predecessors, will depend on the development and connection with its supporting cast.
Natasha McElhone, whose voice likely carries the trailer, plays the brilliant Dr. Halsey, the conflicted yet opaque creator of the Spartan super soldiers. Jen Taylor appears as Cortana, the advanced A.I. who is John-117’s right-hand humanoid, and possibly the lever upon which the race’s survival swings.
Though little is known about Halo’s plot details, the show’s pandemic survival and studio change all suggest a film that’s already made it through a battle intact and, in fact, better for it. Showtime had filmed over half of its first season when COVID-19 restrictions shut down shooting in March 2020. A bit less than a year later, official news broke that the Paramount Plus would now air Halo with Showtime remaining as a producer. Turns out the streaming platform had already been eyeing the show for months.
Alongside the trailer, Paramount announced that Halo will arrive in “early 2022” with a three-tier streaming strategy — free ad-supported, broad-pay, and premium-pay.
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