Halo TV Series Gets Explosive First Trailer

Master Chief makes an appearance during halftime of the AFC championship game and is coming to Paramount Plus soon.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read

It's finally, actually happening. The first trailer for the Halo TV series exploded onto screens Sunday, and Master Chief finally looks set to complete his longest, most difficult mission: leaping from Xbox hit video game to live-action TV show.

The series will be available on streaming service Paramount Plus this spring. Set in the 26th century, Halo sees a brilliant scientist played by Natascha McElhone genetically engineer super-soldiers to fight an alien menace called the Covenant. One of these so-called Spartans, in instantly recognizable green armor and yellow visor, is Master Chief Spartan John-117, played by Pablo Schreiber, from Orange Is the New Black and American Gods.

The 2-minute trailer for the Halo series debuted Sunday, Jan. 30, during the AFC championship game on CBS and Paramount Plus. It's a fast-paced, action-packed intro to Master Chief -- "humanity's best weapon" -- and we get a glimpse of a handful of other Spartans, as well as McElhone's character, a suspicious general, a minion that Master Chief saves and a rather haughty, beshawled sort uttering softly, "Humans, surrender to the Covenant." It winds toward its conclusion against an ethereal cover of the moody Phil Collins classic In the Air Tonight and what seems like the show's mission statement: Find the Halo, win the war.

A title card gives us a rough date to mark in our TV viewing calendars: this March. A tweet from the Halo on Paramount account gives the date of March 24.

Microsoft has been talking about a Halo TV show for a decade, with Steven Spielberg attached earlier in the process. His company Amblin is one of those behind the project, along with 343 Industries, the current owner of the Halo game franchise (the game was originally developed by Bungie, but was spun off years ago so Halo is not part of Sony's deal to buy Bungie). In anticipation of the show, 343 explained that the series would have its own version of Halo continuity dubbed "the silver timeline," making it distinct from the backstory familiar to fans while still borrowing important and cool stuff from the lore of the games, novels and other spinoffs. 

Interest in the Halo franchise has been running high since the game Halo Infinite arrived in December after a troubled development period and a yearlong delay. In his review of the game, CNET's Mark Serrels wrote, "No matter where you are in Halo Infinite's open world, everything feels designed for the player. There are no dud textures, no spaces where you shouldn't be."

The TV series was originally intended to air on Showtime before it made the move to Paramount Plus (formerly known as CBS All Access, and home to new Star Trek series, among other shows).

The show's cast also includes Jen Taylor, Shabana Azmi, Natasha Culzac, Olive Gray, Yerin Ha, Bentley Kalu, Kate Kennedy, Charlie Murphy, Danny Sapani and Bokeem Woodbine.

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