Season two of Halo’s TV adaptation is set to premiere on Paramount+ February 8, and we all got our first look over the weekend. It was packed with intense scenes forecasting the destruction of a world, lots of death, and lots of fighting. There were also a couple of neat little tidbits we spotted, including some possible new gear for Master Chief and some new looks for returning characters.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you can check it out on YouTube. You can also watch the entire first season for free via Paramount+ (you don’t even need to sign in) or YouTube.
Halo’s first season certainly divided the fanbase, with many a Halo fan not enjoying the surplus of scenes with Master Chief, helmetless, sometimes completely naked, having sex, and talking. The TV show also takes place in an entirely separate timeline, with characters and locations that didn’t exist in the books or games.
Ultimately the TV show takes more of its beats from the Halo novels, which feature way more dialogue and typically cover darker themes of war and conflict, often calling into question who the “good guys” are in this universe, whereas the games have typically focused on more hopeful acts of heroism. Season two, from this trailer alone, looks set to deliver those same, darker tones.
Read on for some neat moments from our first look at Halo’s second season.
Reach is kinda screwed
The trailer wastes no time jumping into what’s likely to be one of the main events of the new season: The near destruction of the planet Reach, the planet home to some of the UNSC’s most essential military assets.
Reach’s fate was explored thoroughly in The Fall of Reach novel that shipped shortly before Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001, and then the 2010 prequel game Halo: Reach.
Circular imagery remains important
During what looks like a funeral just under the one-minute mark, a group of people surround a cremation site, forming a circle. That might not seem like much initially, but both in the games and in the TV show, circular imagery is a constant, a clear callout to the series’ titular “Halo” rings.
Examples in the show’s first season include the circular shape of the settlement on Madrigal (complete with a large pillar in the center, another common Halo visual theme) and the circular well Kwon comes across in episode seven, “Inheritance.” In the most recent single-player campaign, Halo Infinite, you can find audio logs that talk about the circular nature of the Halo ring, with allusions to it as a metaphor for an endless tendency toward war and conflict in the galaxy. Season two of the TV show looks like it might continue this symbolic tradition.
The Arbiter’s armor
Blink and you’ll miss it. At 1:19 in the trailer (and a few other quick shots), we get a quick shot of an Elite wearing a very familiar set of armor activating an energy sword. Is this the Arbiter we know from the games? That’s hard to say right now, especially as “the Arbiter” is a title that many characters in Halo’s lore have claimed.
The specific character often known to Halo fans as “the Arbiter” was introduced in Halo 2 and named Thel Vadam. He was a former Covenant fleet commander and, controversially, that game’s second playable character.
Chief’s got a new assault rifle!
Master Chief appears to be wielding a different assault rifle in season two of the Halo TV show. In at least two scenes, Chief’s assault rifle looks more like the variant featured in Halo: Reach and Halo Infinite. Season one’s assault rifle had more in common with the familiar design from Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 3, Halo 4, and Halo 5.
Given that many weapons in the Halo universe have historically changed their design with each new game, it’s nice to see the show also offer up some visual changes for its second season.
Cortana’s got a new look? (Or is this a new character?)
The Halo series has had many different AI characters, usually represented as glowing holograms with human appearances. In the Halo show, however, Cortana is really the only AI of her kind. And in the new trailer, we see a glowy person indicative of a Halo AI character, but she looks nothing like Cortana did in the first season.
Whether this is a new look or a brand-new character isn’t certain. It should be noted, however, that Cortana has changed her look in almost every Halo game, so a change of appearance would be on brand for her and the series.
Finally, an actual Halo ring!
Despite being in the title, the Halo TV show never really showed off an actual Halo ring outside of a few strange dreamy sequences. That looks like it’ll change in the new season. Right at the end of the new trailer, floating ominously in the void of space, lies a Halo ring.
I particularly like how spooky this feels here. If you’re familiar with the narrative events of Halo: Combat Evolved, you’ll know that this ring has a few intense secrets.
We’re not done with that pesky relic
The first season of Halo often centered around a mysterious artifact that Master Chief seems to have some kind of strange connection to. In a quick scene featuring a character new to the show—James Ackerson, who appears in a few Halo novels and comics—we once again see that very relic. Relics and strange items from the past are common plot devices in Halo, usually with specific purposes designed by an ancient precursor civilization. What the show does with this relic remains to be seen, but it seems safe to count on this being important to the plot once more.
That wraps our list of cool stuff we spotted in the new Halo trailer. Did anything else catch your eye?
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