Halo is heating up and the land struggle with the Covenant is pending.
“The Master Chief was enhanced and trained for one purpose: to win this war,” Natascha McElhone’s Dr. Catherine Halsey says in the first official trailer for Halo.
The new trailer from Paramount+, released at the end of January, features the first plot details surrounding Master Chief Petty Officer John-117’s backstory. The trailer also provided the first image of Jen Taylor as the AI Cortana, and announced a March 24 release date. Not sure what all this means? Wondering what path Halo the series will take in its continuous Spartan struggle with the invading alien Covenant? The Manual is here to get you up to date.
One of the best-selling video game franchises for Microsoft’s Xbox games console, Halo the game is a military-style, sci-fi/action, first-person shooter that revolves around the exploits of John-117, one of a group of super soldiers called Spartans. In the original Halo video game trilogy, the interstellar war between humanity and the alien Covenant alliance evolves into a decades-long struggle on different planets and from different perspectives. The series is now up to (count ‘em) 11 video games with the Windows PC and Xbox latest release in December 2021 of Halo Infinite, 20 years after the Spartan soldier team first crashed onto the scene in 2001 in Halo: Combat Evolved.
This first entry for Xbox played a significant role in the Microsoft game system’s initial and continuing success. One of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time, Halo games have combined to sell over 81 million copies worldwide as of February 2021.
First created by Bellevue, Washington, video game developer Bungie, Halo was inspired by the setting of Larry Niven’s Ringworld novel. Eponymous rings, called halos, surround star systems in the novel. Where the game and the series’ halos have the same idea as these protective rings, they form a protective circle around planets instead of stars.
Halo the series will launch from the same context, but showrunners have already indicated that the upcoming storyline is not a part of current Halo canon. Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill indicated that this direction should be beneficial for television and video games universes in a December tweet.
“We’re referring to this as the Halo Silver Timeline as a way of differentiating it from core canon,” Wolfkill said. “In both protecting core canon and protecting the television story, and by that I mean being able to give ourselves the chance to evolve both and for both to be what they need to be for their mediums without colliding with each other.”
The upcoming Halo TV show now has its own canon status! It falls under something called the "Halo Silver Timeline".
— Halopedia (@Halopedia) December 16, 2021
In the trailer, we get our first glimpse of John (Pablo Schreiber) and the rest of the team in action. As always, they’re aided by the AI companion Cortana, played by Jen Taylor, who also provides Cortana’s voice in the games. The clip suggests not only the continued war with the Covenant but, in a new twist, tension between John and his creator.
“He is lethal, upgradeable, and most importantly, controllable,” Dr. Halsey says.
The Covenant’s mission on this planet seems to be at the heart of this struggle. They’re after a native “object” that appears to restore Spartan soldier memories and feelings — not a good thing for the team overseeing what is supposed to be a manipulatable team of super soldiers.
“What does one do with a superhuman you’re not sure that you can trust?”
As the Spartans smash into the alien threat and struggle against their makers’ motives in the teaser, it is obvious that though storylines may differ, the unending action will continue on the streaming service.
Catch Halo on Paramount+ on March 24.
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