Monday, May 20, 2024

Halo’s Helmetless Master Chief Has A ‘Book Of Boba Fett’ Problem

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Master…Chief?

Paramount

Alright, I was willing to push back against the tide of Halo fans who were “offended” the Halo show would reveal Master Chief’s face. I figured there was some context that would make sense in the series, and I mean, we know he’ll look like actor Pablo Schreiber, so it’s not some great mystery at that point.

But now after two episodes of Halo on Paramount Plus, I’m going to need to ask Chief to put his helmet back on.

In episode one, we got the “context” for the helmet removal in a specific scene where in order to get Kwan to trust him, John removes his helmet to reveal he’s just some dude, and to make himself vulnerable to a potential kill shot. The gambit works, and the two are now on the same page.

But what I was not expecting in episode 2, nor what may be most of the rest of the series going forward, is that Master Chief would keep his helmet off, and now we have this really weird situation where Chief is helmetless for 95% of his screen time. Hell, he even strips down to his undersuit this episode, and now we’ve got some dude who looks way more like Commander Shepard than Master Chief (see above).

Master Chief

Paramount

I understand the “logic” of why Chief would take his helmet and mega-armor off indoors and such, and yet it still feels extremely weird in practice, and ultimately, I don’t think this was the right call. We are running into what I call the “Book of Boba Fett” problem, where that character, famous for his iconic helmet, opted not to wear it for most of his series, and between that and some fundamental character behavior changes, just didn’t look, feel or sound like the Boba Fett fans were expecting from that series.

And it’s Boba Fett’s sibling series, The Mandalorian, that shows how this could have gone if they’d just left Chief’s helmet on, and maybe just kept Steve Downes doing his voice like in the games, like how they’re using OG Cortana Jen Taylor for that role. I just can’t get behind the idea that you cannot “connect” with a character behind a helmet when we have The Mandalorian doing exactly that. Not to mention legions of masked superheroes who portray plenty of emotion with their faces hidden most of the time.

This just feels weird. This is nothing against Pablo Schreiber, who I think is doing his best in the role he was given, but anyone could have been cast here, and a Halo series with Chief’s face visible for the vast majority of it was always going to come across badly. I have to believe even those making the show knew how controversial this would be, which is why they avoided ever showing Chief without his helmet in the marketing, even though he’s clearly helmetless the majority of the time.

I don’t think the helmet is the only problem with the Halo show. Chief could have kept it on the entire time in episode 2 and I still don’t think it would have helped that very weirdly scripted outing. But it’s certainly not helping things, and I hope they realize how much this warps the perception of the character in very odd ways. I’d argue it’s definitely not for the better.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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