Halo on Paramount Plus: The Games’ 5 Biggest Changes

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The Halo TV series on Paramount Plus takes a lot of liberties with the established history of the video game franchise and crafts a story of its own.

Paramount / 343 Industries

Paramount Plus’ Halo TV Series captures the scope of a large-scale intergalactic war inspired by 2001’s Halo: Combat Evolved and its sequel. However, the TV series isn’t so much an adaptation as it is a reinterpretation of the main story from the game franchise, using established events and characters as building blocks for an original story that stands on its own.

From the first two episodes we’ve seen, there are some notable departures from what many fans of Halo would expect. With this in mind, let’s list five of the biggest changes the TV series is making based on its source material.

Note: We’re discussing slight spoilers in this post for Episode 1, which is now available to stream on Paramount Plus.

1. Master Chief and Silver Team

Master Chief isn’t the only Spartan fighting the Covenant, he has his backing with the Silver Team.

Paramount / 343 Industries

In the original game series, Master Chief (aka John-117) is a modified and heavily armed Spartan-II soldier trained by the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) to fight against the alien armada known as the Covenant. While he wasn’t the first UNSC Spartan to fight the alien antagonists, the original trilogy largely saw Master Chief as the only super soldier active in the plot. It wasn’t until 2010’s Halo Reach, a prequel to the original game, for fans to see other Spartan soldiers in the main story.

One big change the series makes: we see Master Chief (played by Pablo Schreiber) in command of Silver Team, an active squad of elite Spartan soldiers who have undergone similar training and engineering. As in the game series, the UNSC Spartan-II program was created by Catherine Halsey (played by Natascha McElhone in the TV show). She is a scientist who not only designed Master Chief but also created the Mjolnir Power Armor that he and the other Spartans use in battle.

The TV show’s focus on Master Chief and the Team of Spartans puts greater emphasis on the origins of the UNSC program and the ethical ramifications of creating an army of super-soldiers to wage an intergalactic war. Going by the first episode, there’s a more concerted effort to show how the UN Security Council is using the Spartans to not only fight the Covenant, but further the ends of humanity – no matter how grim or cruel the means. also be.

2. The UN Security Council and the Cost of War

Kwan Ha is an original character that the Master Chief will bond with.

Paramount / 343 Industries

The Halo TV series spends a lot of time building out the Halo series universe in ways that the video games couldn’t. One of the biggest changes the show is making is examining the cost of the war between humanity and the Covenant. The series begins with a Covenant attack on a settlement made up of civilians seeking independence from the UN Security Council. They believe the UN Security Council is an advancing presence in the galaxy using the Alliance and the Spartans as propaganda.

This aspect is a smart change as it broadens the scope of the universe and develops a more human dimension to the conflict where the video games largely steer clear of. For example, during Halo 2’s story beats about the invasion of New Mombasa, civilians and the general population were noticeably absent. The show’s opening attack on the planet, which also features internal struggles with the growing power of religious extremists, shows that Halo’s universe is much bigger than just the UN Security Council and the Covenant.

The TV series also makes the bold choice not to portray the UNSC in a particularly favorable light. In the games, they are largely depicted as a noble fighting force against hostile aliens. The TV series takes a more nuanced approach by portraying them as moral gray, an in-universe superpower that isn’t afraid to take out their soldiers and civilians to maintain dominance. This makes the UNSC particularly unreliable, an interesting contrast to the games.

3. The Connections Between the Covenant and Humanity

The Covenant is in full effect in the Halo TV series.

Paramount / 343 Industries

In much of the Halo series, the main antagonists are the Covenant, a powerful alien race that wages a religious war against humanity. The original Halo game largely keeps the Covenant and their intentions a secret. However, in the next games in the series, they will be fleshed out further, even allowing you to play as a Covenant called The Arbiter – a direct parallel to Master Chief.

The TV series continues with this approach, giving time to the Covenant and showing their perspective on the conflict. One key difference: The Covenant now has a human character on their side. As an original character created for the show, Makee (played by Charlie Murphy) is involved in the Covenant and works with them to undermine humanity’s presence in the universe and search for Forerunner relics.

It’s an interesting change, and it has the potential to increase the stakes in the war between the two factions. This character adds a new perspective to the Covenant, seen through the eyes of a man who has cast aside his heritage. I’m definitely interested to see how Makee will evolve throughout the series.

4. A New Look at Planet Reach

The events on Planet Reach in the Halo video games are an infamous moment in the game’s timeline, and the TV show aims to evolve into that moment.

Paramount / 343 Industries

In many games in the Halo series, the invasion of the planet Reach is a notable moment in the history of the Human-Covenant War. The original Halo takes place shortly after the fall of Reach, with the remnants of the UNSC fleeing the planet with the only remaining Spartan-II soldier (Master Chief) after the Covenant’s takeover of the planet. This event in Halo is a turning point in the war.

However, the TV series rearranges events. Planet Reach becomes an active and vibrant planet for humanity in the early episodes, and it is still well protected from the Covenant. Of course, this probably won’t last long, given Halo’s history. It’s fair to say that Reach may have some dark days ahead of it, which could probably turn into a big event in the TV series.

5. Who is actually Master Chief?

One of Master Chief’s long-held secrets is revealed in the show, which will serve as the starting point for an original story for the iconic character.

Paramount / 343 Industries

One thing the Halo games and novels have kept a secret: what the Master Chief looks like without his helmet. While games like Halo 1 and 4 have made some plagues, the identity of John-117 without the mask is still a mystery. Halo Infinite portrayed Master Chief as something more than human, so it’s likely the games won’t show what he looks like anytime soon.

However, the Halo TV series aims to take Master Chief and his history as the pride of the Spartan-II program in a different direction. In addition to showing more of his history in the program and the challenges he faced, we’ll also get to see what the Master Chief looks like under his helmet. This approach is vastly different from the way the games chose to portray one of gaming’s most iconic characters. But that said, this does open the door to portraying the Halo series protagonist in a more recognizable way. The Master Chief will struggle with his loyalty to the UN Security Council and his need to do the right thing in a very different way. And that got us interested.



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