Halo is one of the biggest videogame franchises of all time, with an entire multimedia empire rising out of the long-running Xbox series. There have been multiple attempts over the years to adapt the franchise for either the big-screen or television, with even Peter Jackson taking a crack at the series.

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Now, the series is currently in production for a television series on Showtime. The series will star Pablo Schreiber, Shabana Azmi, Natasha Culzac, Olive Gray, Yerin Ha, Bentley Kalu, Kate Kennedy, Natascha McElhone, Ryan McParland, Charlie Murphy, and Danny Sapani in a mix of classic roles from the original video-game series along with some original characters. But little else is known about the show besides small details that have been teased about certain characters.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES TO HALO CANON IN THE SHOW’S PILOT SCRIPT?

The Illuminerdi has gotten the chance to check out the script for the pilot episode of Showtime’s Halo, and we’ve found some pretty major changes and references to the future of the franchise. But what does this say about the future of the show and what storylines it could approach? 

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Now, as with anything that we only get in script form, there’s the acceptance that some details might change during production. We also won’t be going into too many spoilers about the actual plot. However, these three following aspects – which are vastly different than the core series – are so integral to the structure and world of the show as presented that it’s unlikely these will be tweaked all that much. And of course – SPOILERS AHEAD.

It’s already been reported that Miranda Keyes will be going through a slight character realignment, as she’s no longer the military leader she was in the original games. Miranda was a crucial supporting character in Halo 2 and Halo 3, a major admiral who proved crucial to helping Master Chief prevent the plans of the Covenant to activate all the world-destroying Halos around the galaxy and wipe out all life as we know it.

While the script does position her to be an important character going forward in the TV series, she’ll be in a different role. Her military identity has been substituted for a more scientific persona, which reflects her mother Catherine Halsey – who maintains her role from the original series as a scientist crucial to the development of the Spartan program. Miranda is shown to be studying the Covenant and trying to discover their secrets, far more of a loner researcher than the dedicated captain she was previously.

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While it’ll likely put her in more of the direct action than her previous role as “the expert” that Master Chief can turn to when things need exposition, it’s also a serious change to the character and her eventual role in the story – although it will likely make her crucial for any future events with the alien technology down the line.

The presence of more than just one Spartan within the pilot – and the sense that the galaxy is still engaged in the early days of the war with the Covenant – suggests that one of the biggest single events in the history of the series hasn’t happened yet: The Fall of Reach. In the original Halo canon, Reach was one of the major bases of the Earth military and the central base of operations for the Spartan-II Program.

But when the Covenant discovered the world and targeted it, it took every Spartan planetside to ensure that even just the crucial computer program Cortana was able to escape the world. Most Spartans were killed that day, save for some off-world at the time such as Master Chief. With the series seeming to play with the idea that the Spartans are still very present and potent in the galaxy, it’s unlikely that Master Chief has already been reduced to one of the last survivors – otherwise, it’s something the script would play up.

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Instead, it’s likely that the Fall of Reach will be saved as a potentially devastating moment for the series, especially if it gains multiple seasons – think the death of Ned Stark from Game of Thrones, only ten-fold.

Perhaps the biggest deviation from the source material is the fact that – and seriously, spoilers here – Master Chief takes off his helmet. It’s in the climax of the first episode, and it’s less of a “dramatic shock moment” and more of a quick moment of character development – so at least it makes sense in context.

The emotional throughline of the series pilot is focused on Quan Ah, a young woman from a remote colony in distant space. The daughter of a rebel leader, Quan is the only survivor of a Covenant attack on her world. She’s rescued by Master Chief, who takes pity on her after preventing a Covenant elite – secretly the Arbiter from Halo 2, a major character going forward in the Human/Covenant war – from stealing a Forerunner artifact.

After learning that the girl may be executed on the orders of a superior officer, Master Chief suffers from something he can’t overcome – an emotional crisis. He ends up trying to convince the girl that he’s going to help her, and proves it by taking it off his helmet. It’s an effective moment for the character within the context of the show — but damn does it throws off one of the unspoken laws of one of gaming’s most famous series. It’s a HUGE deviation early on. If the show is willing to do that in the first episode, then what else is it willing to change?

What do you think of the changes to Halo canon? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to check back soon for more about Showtime’s Halo. And remember – we’re always watching.