‘Halo’ Disappoints Fans Despite High Expectations

by Justin Lakso ’25

With its riveting multiplayer, captivating campaign story, and iconic protagonist, Master Chief, it’s no wonder the Halo series has sold more than 81 million copies worldwide. Taking inspiration from The Last of Us, Xbox Game Studios decided to create a TV series based on its ever popular space arcade shooter. With production by Kyle Killen and award-winning director Steven Spielberg, fans were ecstatic about the show due to the names involved. The series, however, took missteps in three key locations that left fans confused and dissatisfied.

Master Chief is most notable for his faceless character, a consistent aspect of all Halo games. Killen, however, had different plans for him. During the final minutes of the first episode, Chief (Pablo Schreiber) reveals his face to Kwan (Yerin Ha) to show he is human. This reveal already split opinions on the series, but it got even worse when the helmet was tossed aside for a majority of the show. Schreiber is handsome and all, but Killen rewriting Chief’s canon appearance seems insensitive to the series.

Spielberg does a great job maintaining the game’s slogan, “Combat: Evolved,” with the initial fight scene putting Chief and Silver Team against an army of the Covenant. After this fight, however, the tone shifts from a high-octane war story to a Sherlock Holmes style mystery with a powerful artifact as the focus. This plot point is intriguing for the first episode or so, but drags on for four long episodes without another shootout until episode five. The series starts to blend together as the story focuses on Master Chief’s internal struggle rather than the war between humans and Covenant.

There is also a deviation from the continuous timeline about the struggle to keep humanity alive against an extraterrestrial threat that the games have maintained since the start. In an interview with Deadline Breaking News, producer Kiki Wolfkill revealed that Paramount’s version of Halo would have a separate canon from the video games. Video games and movies are different forms of media, but taking an existing universe and changing large points of the core story seems unfaithful to the source material. Among these changes are a human leading the Covenant, Chief having a love life, and the Flood antagonist being completely cut. Many fans are critical of these changes, making the point that the show would be better if the story wasn’t attached to the Halo brand.

It’s not all bad, though. The CGI is phenomenal, the fight scenes are thrilling, and characters are played very well by their actors. However, it’s not enough to excuse the faults in storyboarding and retconning of the established Halo story.