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Halo's Bokeem Woodbine Talks Showing Off His Character's Spartan Abilities - Exclusive

The first season of "Halo," Paramount+'s adaptation of the revered series of video games, has told the story of a bleak future where genetically engineered supersoldiers known as Spartans may be the only thing standing between humanity and total annihilation at the hands of a mysterious alien race. To ensure they follow orders, each Spartan has been implanted with a pellet that suppresses their emotions, but that doesn't stop one Spartan from recognizing that the physical and mental manipulations they've endured aren't right and that there's more to life than their narrow existence. 

That Spartan was Soren, played by Bokeem Woodbine, and in the second episode, the show reveals that after escaping the Spartan program years ago, Soren has forged a new life as the leader of a smuggling ring on the asteroids known as Rubble. Soren is charismatic and confident like any Spartan should be, but after accompanying Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha) to the planet Madrigal following his old friend Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) placing her protection in his hands, he's been drawn into more action than he anticipated. But nothing matches the battle he faces in the season's seventh episode, "Inheritance," where he helps Kwan confront the forces that want to take her out so they can maintain their control over the planet.

During the battle, Soren becomes a one-man army and shows off the extent of his Spartan fighting skills. In an exclusive interview with Looper, Woodbine discussed his impression of his rebel-with-a-cause character and the fun of jumping into action on the show.

Woodbine brings Soren to action-packed life

While Soren appears in the book "Halo: Evolutions," he isn't seen in the video games, making him a unique presence in the TV show's story. Despite having less to go on than some of the other characters, Bokeem Woodbine indicated that he has a deep understanding of Soren. "I had a fantastic template [for Soren] in the 'Halo' lore," Woodbine noted. "When I read the screenplays, I got the sense of a person who is rebellious by nature, but not necessarily without a cause. He's a sincere profiteer. He loves to profit. That's part of his nature as well, and I really felt like I could give a voice to the character."

Much of Soren's personality is rooted in his background as a Spartan. Although he's gone rogue and is now enjoying a life of freedom and emotional fulfillment, he still retains the scars and the skills he picked up from that time in his life, and he gets to demonstrate the extent of his fighting abilities protecting Kwan in Episode 7. For Woodbine, it was a chance to show off a different side of Soren while collaborating with the people behind the scenes to create exciting, fully realized fight sequences. 

"It was a lot of fun working with our stunt team and our VFX department and having the opportunity to make some suggestions here and there about the action," Woodbine shared. "They allowed me to feel as though I was a participant in the whole design of the action. I felt really grateful to be able to be on board on that side of things, and it was a tremendous amount of fun."

New episodes of "Halo" premiere Thursdays on Paramount+.