It has long been the dream of Halo fans to get either a proper Hollywood film or, failing that, a television adaptation. It was practically a no-brainer that such a project would star the Master Chief, it was also a given that the show would be set during the Human-Covenant War Era (2525 - 2552). All we’ve known up until now is that the planned television series would star the Master Chief, and now we have more information on its other characters and can infer some of the story.
So this is the moment where you may be going “Duh, of course it would have Cortana!” Except, no, that doesn’t actually make much sense. While it does narrow down the timeline in which the series could take place (2549 - 2552), and predating all of the games at that, prior to the events of Halo: Combat Evolved, Chief & Cortana were not joined at the hip so to speak. Cortana spent more time with Doctor Halsey in her early years while the MJOLNIR Mark V was developed with AI in mind. Cortana was then inserted into Chief’s prototype suit for training and testing purposes, but beyond that they never went on any extended missions together.
The obvious answer, of course, is that Cortana is half of the brand recognition alongside Chief. They want to draw in as many viewers as possible, not just the lore nerds such as myself. But that brings me to my next complaint.
Even if you’ve only played Halo 5, you’ll at least have some semblance of an idea who Chief’s team consists of throughout almost the entirety of the expanded universe. Blue Team is John-117's personal squad of Spartan II’s, and while members have rotated out from time to time, Fred-104, Kelly-087, and Linda-058 have been the primary members of Chief’s team. In fact, Fred-104 is second in command of all the Spartan-II’s, Chief’s right hand man. Post- Halo 3 Fred is actually higher ranking than Chief, but out of respect and their brotherhood, Fred defers command to Chief when he’s present.
And yet, despite all the established canon, Blue Team is 100% absent from this Halo television series, instead replaced by new Spartan II’s who until now have never appeared in the expanded universe. These Spartan’s are Vannak-134, Riz-028, and Kai-125. Introducing more Spartans is all well and good. Putting names to all the active Spartan-II’s is always great, and a part of me can’t wait to see them in action. It just rubs me the wrong way that Chief’s own team was snubbed for this big budget television series. And not only were they snubbed, Vannak-134 is described as Chief’s “defacto deputy.” In other words, she occupies Fred’s literal job as Chief’s right hand person who performs his job when he’s not around.
I’m not saying they can’t come up with a legitimate reason for Blue Team to have been swapped out for this team of nobodies. The character I currently assume to be the antagonist, Soren-066 who originally appeared in the Halo Evolutions short story “Pariah”, could have some personal connection to these new Spartan’s, or perhaps the skillset of these new Spartan’s is better suited to hunting one of their own. I will, however, never forgive Vannak for taking Fred’s job for literally no reason.
Beyond all of that information on the series is still largely scarce. In addition to the above mentioned characters, the show will also star Doctor Catherine Halsey, creator of the Spartan-II’s and the MJOLNIR armor, played by the same actor that is portraying Cortana in this adaptation. They will be joined by Admiral Margaret Parangosky, yet another established character from Halo’s expanded universe. My hope is that they are at the very least faithful to the established depictions of these established characters.