Halo TV show trailer debuts Cortana's new look – and fans aren't happy

The official logo for Paramount Plus' Halo TV show
(Image credit: Paramount Plus/343 Industries)

The official Halo TV show trailer has finally arrived – and fans have had plenty to say about Cortana's new look in the live-action series.

Debuted during halftime of the AFC Championship game on Sunday (January 30), the trailer gave us our first detailed look at Halo's TV adaptation. And, for the most part, it looks pretty good, even if some creative liberties have been taken with its plot and style.

But fans really can't get over Cortana's aesthetic in the upcoming Paramount Plus TV show. Traditionally, Master Chief's AI companion has been blue or purple in the iconic gaming franchise. As you can see in the image below, though, Cortana's normal hue has been replaced by a more lifelike hologram, complete with white skin and black hair:

Cortana's new look as seen in the Halo TV show trailer on Paramount Plus

(Image credit: Paramount+)

Unsurprisingly, Halo fans have taken to social media in their droves to criticize Cortana's new look, with many hitting out at Paramount and 343 Industries, Halo's current developer, for altering the AI's beloved appearance.

On Twitter, Spartanin229's "What did you do to Cortana!?" comment summed up many fans' complaints, while Ringframe posted a screenshot of Cortana alongside a very abrupt "what the ****" message. 

Another user in MOGWILD called on fans to push for Cortana's design to be changed – a move that would be reminiscent of how Sonic the Hedgehog's aesthetic (another Paramount production, coincidentally enough) was altered after fan backlash to the speedster's initial live-action design:

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Over on Reddit, detrydis said it was "weird" that Cortana's appearance had been completely changed, while Msan28 opined that they really didn't like "the humanized Cortana". 

Dontloseyourway1610 agreed with MOGWILD's tweet, too, saying that the Halo fanbase should force Paramount and 343 to change Cortana's look, before Ill_Ratio_5682 said that Cortana looked "fake", and asked why she didn't retain her holographic look as seen in the games.

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Reactions to Cortana's design weren't universally negative. Twitter user R0bSkii told disgruntled fans not to watch the series if they weren't happy with what they'd seen so far, while NemaCystx called out critical fans for being "entitled". 

Finally, J_Drage_ believes fans should be grateful that Jen Taylor – Cortana's original voice actor – reprises her role as the AI companion. It's a comment that a few people agreed with on Reddit, too, including notyourancilla.

Such positive comments, however, are outnumbered by those who can't (or refuse) to take to Cortana's new aesthetic. And, while the Halo TV show isn't officially canon within the franchise's main timeline, it's understandable why fans are aggrieved at the AI's revised look.

Paramount's Halo live-action series has retained plenty of other signature Halo elements. Master Chief's armor, the incredibly detailed Elites, UNSC and Covenant weapons, and vehicles feel like they've been pulled directly from the first-person shooter series. 

From a design perspective, then, it does seem like an odd decision not to keep Cortana's look from the games. It doesn't help Cortana doesn't look like Dr. Catherine Halsey, either. In the games, Halsey modeled Cortana's physical appearance on her own, so the fact that Cortana doesn't look like Natascha McElhone – who portrays Halsey in the TV show – doesn't help matters.

The Halo TV show will launch exclusively on Paramount Plus on March 24, so there's still time for Paramount and 343 to revise Cortana's TV look. You know, providing they want to do so.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.


An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.


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