After all, a lot has changed in the past sixteen years (yes, there have been plans for a Halo film adaptation for that long). An adaptation no longer has to be a rehash of an existing story, nor does it have to be completely separate from the source material. There is now a middle way. Thanks to Star Wars and Marvel, multimedia universes have become established. Films, TV series and games can complement each other, connect to each other, and yet be separate from each other. They should dare to do that with Halo
No future for Chief
Ten years ago, had you asked me what a Halo movie or television series should look like, I would have argued for an adaptation of The Fall of Reach. This book by Eric Nylund is set for Halo: Combat Evolved and would therefore have been a logical choice. It tells how Master Chief was recruited (read: kidnapped) as a child to train him to become the super soldier we know from the games. In addition, the book describes how humanity was completely overwhelmed by the aggressive Covenant. It is perhaps the most important side story in the franchise, which many fans also don’t know yet.
I still hope that The Fall of Reach is the basis for the Halo television series, but for different reasons. Yes, it is still a very safe choice because there is a big role for Master Chief. Halo needs Chief to gain a foothold, to instantly connect with the games. Chief gives the television series relevance. But Master Chief has no future – not in a TV series, at least.
Breeding ground for new heroes
Chief’s story is already told in the games. Just as Anakin and Luke Skywalker are the common thread for the Star Wars films, Master Chief is the thread for the Halo games. In order not to become a marginal note, a TV series must – eventually – break away from that common thread. Disney understood that all too well with The Mandalorian. Jon Favreau and co. managed to create a universe of their own, with new heroes and villains, old acquaintances we had lost sight of, and only the occasional subtle nod to the films. A strategy and implementation that was so strong that nobody dares to use the somewhat disparaging term ‘spin-off’. The Mandalorian is more Star Wars than the sequel trilogy.
So if the folks behind the Halo television series paid a bit of attention during The Mandalorian, they bring together a cool cast led by Master Chief, but eventually let others grow into interesting, diverse characters who can then stand on their own two feet. Characters who then fan out across the universe and experience their own adventures. Just like Boba Fett, Fennec, Moff Gideon, Bo-Katan, Ahsoka Tano, Mando and Baby Yoda. Chief really doesn’t have to walk all season with a Baby Grunt in his bum bag, but a little Mandalorian vibes won’t make the series any worse. I have ghosts.
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