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Halo TV Series' Master Chief Already Broke That Huge Rule From The Video Games

A live-action "Halo" project has been in the works for well over a decade at this point, and filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and Neill Blomkamp have all been attached to the adaptation over the years. Showtime and Paramount+ eventually managed to get the series off the ground, and it's finally making its way to the world. The show follows Master Chief John-117 (Pablo Schreiber), a genetically engineered super-soldier who fights a bloody war against an alien race known as the Covenant. It takes inspiration from the hugely popular video games, although it's set in its own timeline rather than in the same universe as the rest of the franchise.

It's not a surprising decision, since it means the show can push in different directions rather than being solely confined to the events of the games. The best example of this strategy is apparent in the setting: The show takes place well before the Covenant war is made public, and most Terran civilians don't even know they exist. Plus, the United Nations Space Command is based on the planet Reach, and — as players will already know from the games – the Covenant is destined to glass that entire world during the war after they discover that it's a key location for humanity.

We learned early in the production process that the "Halo" series' Master Chief would break a major rule from the games that's held for 20 years. What we didn't know was how early that abrogation of canon would happen.

Master Chief takes his helmet off

Yes, Master Chief takes his helmet off toward the end of Episode 1 when he's working to save rebel teen Kwan Ha Boo (Yerin Ha) from the UNSC. It's surprising because the super-soldier never does this in the games. Back in 2012, 343 Industries' Franchise Development director Frank O'Connor told Eurogamer, "That's a device to keep the player invested in the character and keep the player from constantly being reminded that they're not a hero or that they have to be a boy or they have to be a girl, or whatever that is."

When it comes to live action, it's harder for audiences to relate to a character when they can't see their face. The notable exception to that rule is Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) in "The Mandalorian," but he has Grogu to help add emotional weight. Master Chief, however, is waging war against bloodthirsty aliens who are hellbent on crushing the human race. When speaking to ComicBook.com about the surprising change, "Halo" star Pablo Schreiber opened up about unmasking Master Chief.

"It's a chance for people who have played as Chief for so long to put the controller down, sit back on the couch, enjoy the experience of learning about the Chief in a way that you have never done before." He also added, "I think it's an opportunity for all of us to get to know him in a better way." 

It's a fair point that makes some sense in the abstract, but after actually seeing the mythic hero freed from the opacity of his Spartan helmet in Episode 1, it's difficult not to feel like something's been lost. That being said, Schreiber's talented enough to make it work, so it'll be interesting to see how this choice continues to play out across the season.