Halo TV series gets an explosive official trailer and release date

Halo TV series
(Image credit: Paramount)

The wait is over – Paramount Plus has dropped the first official trailer for its highly anticipated Halo TV series, delivering what appears to be an epic and (mostly) visually faithful adaptation of the beloved video game franchise.

The trailer also brings with it a release date: the Halo TV show will premiere on the Paramount Plus streaming service on March 24, 2022.

The Halo TV series tells the story of the Human-Covenant War in the 26th Century, in which Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) and his AI partner Cortana (Jen Taylor) attempt to stop the alien threat known as The Covenant and its genocidal campaign against humanity.

While the upcoming TV adaptation seems to be sticking pretty close to Halo's basic fundamentals, it also appears to be taking a wildly different path in terms of its story. Before we go any further, you can check out the official trailer for the Halo TV series below.

Analysis: a different Halo to what we're used to

As previously explained by Frank O'Connor, Halo's Franchise Development Director, the TV show exists on its own 'Silver Timeline', allowing its showrunners to pick and choose elements from existing "Halo lore, history, canon, and characters wherever they make sense for a linear narrative" without invalidating Halo's "core canon."

Based on the trailer above, we're already seeing a number of ways in which the Halo TV series diverges from existing Halo canon.

For starters, the show's Master Chief is seen operating alongside other Spartan soldiers in multiple scenes. As you'll remember, Master Chief was the sole Spartan warrior on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn in the first Halo ring, and it looks like that will be different here.

It also seems that (at least initially) this Master Chief doesn't exhibit any free will –as explained by Dr. Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone) in the trailer, the Master Chief has been designed with the sole purpose of fighting The Covenant, stating that "he is lethal, upgradeable, and most importantly, controllable."

That last part appears to change, however, when Master Chief comes into contact with a mysterious object that was being excavated by The Covenant, awakening something in Chief which sets him on his own path. This mysterious object also leads to a completely different way in which the first Halo ring itself is discovered.

Another big change to Halo lore comes in the form of Makee (Charlie Murphy), a new (and seemingly human) character created specifically for the series who leads (or at least speaks for) The Covenant. 

The idea of a human Covenant member is a huge departure for the franchise, though we have to wonder whether the decision was made to cut down on the inherent VFX costs that would come with a fully CG animated alien villain.

Which brings us to what might be the Halo TV show's most controversial choice – Cortana's appearance. Though the character appears to be computer-generated in the show (or at least CG-enhanced), Halo's showrunners have opted to ditch the character's blue-ish hologram look in favour of a more physical human semblance. 

Quite frankly, the change seems baffling and unnecessary to us, though we'll have to wait and see how it plays out. Thankfully, Jen Taylor has returned to voice Cortana in the show.

Changes aside, we love how most everything else in the trailer looks, from the Spartan armor, weapons and vehicles, to the appearance of the Elites (and their Energy Swords), the Jackals and other visually faithful pieces of Halo iconography. We look forward to seeing more when Halo arrives on March 24.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.