Since the original Halo released in 2001, Microsoft has been trying for a long time to get Bungie and 343 Industries’ sci-fi shooter into live action beyond excellent commercials and webseries tie-ins. After several aborted attempts at making a movie, Halo is now finally a TV show for Paramount+ (with some speed bumps along the way) that winds back the clock to the days when Master Chief’s life and the Human/Covenant War was much more simple. (If you can’t see the trailer, please click this link.)
One of the interesting things about Halo the show is that it’s not actually in the same continuity as the 20-year gaming franchise. Instead, it’s in own separate continuity dubbed “the Silver Timeline,” named so because Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) will have a new team of Spartans by his side rather than his fairly well established Blue Team members Linda, Fred, and Kelly from the expanded media. That said, the members of Silver Team—which consists of Riz-028 (Natasha Culzac), Vannak-134 (Bentley Kalu), and Kai-125 (Kate Kennedy)—are said to exist in the main continuity as well. The timelines were previously described by 343 to be extremely similar, but some elements in the show will be different in subtle and not-subtle ways that’ll make themselves known over time, such as Chief and Cortana (voiced by Jen Taylor, like in the games) actively seeking out the titular Halo ring on purpose rather than stumbling upon it.
There’s a lot of interesting things to glean from the Halo trailer, from a human woman allying herself with the Covenant to the prominent appearance of Bokeem Woodbine as the Spartan Soren-066, who left the UNSC to join the Insurrection—aka the fringe sect of humans who the Spartans were originally created to fight against. In the timeline of the show, the Insurrection is still around and kicking the same time as the Covenant is, and it’s one of the many tweaks to the new timeline that may make for a more interesting show and deeper look at Chief as a person.
What remains to be seen with Halo is what it can give the overall franchise beyond just being a reinterpretation of events millions of players have experienced since they were kids. Each Halo game has brought something new to the table in ways that have both enchanted and excited fans for years on end. Given how much of a journey it’s been for this show to see release, and how much Halo’s fanbase is extremely particular in what they want out of the franchise, this new show could either be a legend in its own right or need to go back to the Spartan Academy and do a few more drills.
Halo premieres March 24 on Paramount+.
Update at 5:01 p.m. ET: This post has been updated with further backstory about Halo lore relevant to the show.
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