The highly anticipated Halo Series has plenty of callbacks to the insanely popular first-person shooting video game, pleasing old fans while introducing new elements to ease in potential new fans.
The Halo television show will take viewers’ fan-favorite characters like Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) on a new timeline. It will show us a time when rebel factions didn’t want anything to do with the UNSC and feared the legendary Spartan instead of celebrating him as their champion. We will also see how a chance encounter with a young rebel teen, Kwan Ha (Yerin Ha), and interaction with an alien relic restores Master Chief’s humanity and takes them on a journey to locate the dangerous alien weapon, the Halo ring.
While Chief is on his mission, the Spartan’s creator, Dr. Halsey (Natascha McElhone), gets permission to boot up her controversial Cortana program to get Master Chief back under control. Fans were happy to learn Master Chief’s loyal sidekick in the video games is played by Jen Taylor in the series. Taylor also voices the character in the Halo video games. BUT, as with the controversies surrounding the show’s deviation from the game’s timeline, Master Chief taking off his helmet, fans were big mad that Cortana does not have her signature blue hue.
Hip-Hop Wired spoke with Halo newcomer Yerin Ha and OG Jen Taylor ahead of the show’s premiere at SXSW. We asked Ha about introducing a new character into the Halo lore, and of course, we had to ask Taylor about beef about Cortana not being blue like she is in the video games.
Step into the interview below.
Hip-Hop Wired: Yerin, your character is a new addition to the Halo universe. How does it feel to introduce a new character to the Halo world? And also, were you able to finally make it past the second level during your Halo run?
Yerin Ha: I still have not yet, no. I need some tips. If anybody can give me some tips, I would much appreciate it. Kwan is this new character, and she’s kind of introduces the series, and I think it’s a really, really fun way for the audience to be sucked in and kind of get introduced to the Halo world, especially for the new audiences, because she’s also experiencing everything for the first time outside of her planet. So when she sees the Covenant, everything’s new, but then we follow on a journey of kind of learning about her family’s legacy and kind of about that leadership and filling her father’s shoes.
Kwan is this new character, and she’s kind of introduces the series, and I think it’s a really, really fun way for the audience to be sucked in and kind of get introduced to the Halo world, especially for the new audiences, because she’s also experiencing everything for the first time outside of her planet.
HHW: Now, Jen, you’re no stranger to the Halo universe. There was some drama when Cortana was revealed.
Jen Taylor: There was some drama. Yeah.
HHW: Yeah, because she wasn’t, she wasn’t blue.
JT: She wasn’t blue.
HHW: Yeah. What was your reaction to that whole little kerfuffle on the internet?
Jen Taylor: Yeah. No. And I understand why that is. She’s sort of changed, right? She’s blue, and then purple, and purple and blue. Yeah. And I understand why that is important to people, and I’m also curious to see what happens with this new iteration of her. I don’t know that I have an opinion yet because I’ve only seen a bit of her, so I don’t know exactly what it’s going to [look like.] Like you, like the fans, I’ve only seen a tiny bit, so I’m curious to see how she looks physically and how we move forward with that, along with you, basically.
I understand why that is. She’s sort of changed, right? She’s blue, and then purple, and purple and blue. Yeah. And I understand why that is important to people, and I’m also curious to see what happens with this new iteration of her. I don’t know that I have an opinion yet because I’ve only seen a bit of her, so I don’t know exactly what it’s going to [look like.]
HHW: We were taken aback by the first five minutes of it. Yerin, after your character is introduced, [she is] immediately thrown into the fire. Why do you think the action is so ramped up in this show, especially when it comes to the kids in the first five minutes of this show?
YH: I know, brutal, eh?
JT: It’s brutal.
YH: I think it’s just kind of setting the stakes of the war between the humans and the Covenant. I think it’s already setting the bar going like, “This is the world that we live in, and this is what we’re dealing with, and this is why the UNSC is working so hard with the Spartans and everything like that.” So I think it was really important to kind of throw the audience into the deep end and go, “Okay. we’re in for a ride.” I think that’s the best way to explain the first five minutes.
JT: There were no pulled punches there, were they?
YH: No. No.
HHW: No, it was definitely an “F them kids” moment.
YH: And I had that blood on my face for weeks.
HHW: So we have to ask, what’s your favorite Halo game?
JT: It’s so hard. There’s so many great ones. Do you mean playing? Because playing, I’m a total fool. I’m an absolute idiot. I am the same. I can’t get Chief to move around very well. So what I do is, my husband plays, and I get on the headphones and talk to people. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. If you’re ever playing, and you hear somebody who sounds like Cortana in your head, it might be, it might be. But as far as recording the games? My favorite one to do is actually Halo 4. Yeah, that was a really fun one to do.
Halo The Series premieres exclusively on Paramount+ beginning March 24 also stars Natascha McElhone, Bokeem Woodbine, Shabana Azmi, Natasha Culzac, Olive Gray, Bentley Kalu, Kate Kennedy, Charlie Murphy, Danny Sapani, Ryan McParland, Burn Gorman, Fiona O’Shaughnessy.
Photo: Paramount+ / Halo/ Getty Images