343 Industries defends Master Chief removing his helmet in Halo TV series

Pablo Chief Helmet Removal 1024x
Pablo Chief Helmet Removal 1024x (Image credit: 343 Industries)

What you need to know

  • The Halo TV series premiered on March 24, 2022.
  • In the first episode, Master Chief removed his helmet, which has led to some criticism.
  • A community writer for 343 Industries explained the helmet removal in a recap of the first episode of the show.

The first episode of the Halo TV series was the most-watched premiere in the short history of the Paramount Plus streaming service. Near the end of the show's initial episode, Master Chief removed his helmet. The move proved controversial, as the Halo protagonist has never removed his helmet in a game. Alex Wakeford, a community writer for 343 Industries, explained the move in a post recapping the series premiere.

"Television, of course, is a totally different medium to video games. The participatory, interactive aspect that defines gaming is not there, which—much like the books, comics, and other media over the last twenty years—brings its own challenges and opportunities for telling a great Halo story and a great drama," said Wakeford."

"Revealing the Chief's face was one of those things. A moment like this is not a plot point or even explicitly a 'reveal' of what he looks like, but a means to tell his story. It had to be a moment that was earned and meaningful. This is also part of why it happens in the first episode: it's not a twist, it's a mission statement." It seems that the reveal of Master Chief's face was more of a way to tell a narrative than anything else, at least according to Wakeford.

Halo TV Series Master Chief

Source: Microsoft / Paramount+ (Image credit: Source: Microsoft / Paramount+)

Wakeford also highlighted that Master Chief has removed his helmet in the expanded universe of Halo, such as in The Fall of Reach novel. While not a full-face reveal, you can also see Master Chief's eyes for a moment if you complete Halo 4's campaign on Legendary. While the reaction has proven mixed among fans, it's worth stressing the Halo TV show exists in an alternative universe, dubbed the "Silver Timeline," branching from the events of the main game.

"The first episode juggles trying to appeal to both fans and newcomers, explaining the world and characters for anyone confused while not boring longtime veterans. By and large, it succeeds, with an action-packed episode that's surprisingly gory and makes it clear there are surprises in store," said Windows Central contributor Samuel Tolbert in our Halo TV show review. "Small ripples can have a large effect, however, so we'll have to wait and see exactly how or if the question marks raised here will resolve."

New episodes of the Halo TV show release every Thursday on Paramount Plus.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

14 Comments
  • I can handle the face reveal however I wish they would have been more lore/book accurate with what he looks like. It is mentioned in the books that spartans do not like to take their armor off often and especially with the chief, when he does take his armor/helmet off he is extremely pale due to his skin not being exposed to the sun very often. I don't remember which book says it but other soldiers are kinda creeped out by how they look out of armor due to this. In the show we get a well kept tanned master chief. At least in Forward Unto Dawn the two spartans who take their helmets off at the end were rather pale. Is it a minor detail? Absolutely, but it would have shown that they actually cared about the lore and it's details.
  • Another "rivet-counter" complaint. They have shown exactly ONE episode (and the PILOT at that) and have stated repeatedly that this is NOT CANON and is an "alternate timeline" (they call it the "Silver Timeline") version of Halo. Get over it and just enjoy the show, if you can.
  • Man if only I had stated that it was a minor detail I was talking about... oh wait... I did. Also canon or not, shows like this do rely on both new fans and current fans of the ip to be successful. The current trend of showrunners acting like they care but then just trashing everything established for their version of the property is kinda confusing. Why buy the rights to an established ip with a massive fan base just to change everything up?
  • Lol, that's fantastic! I'm guessing Master Chief carries a folding dual-screen mobile device and wears a lot of black. Panos FTW.
  • It makes perfect sense to me. It's going to be much harder for people who aren't fans of the game to connect with a faceless hero. Even for some fans, because TV is a different medium, they may still have trouble connecting with a faceless MC, even if they think that that's what they want.
  • The Mandalorian didn’t show the main characters face, like in the full first season they only showed it once and that was in the final episode. That show was a huge success for a lot of people and many people where able to connect with the mandalorian. Halo could’ve done the same thing, or at least not show the face (only showing the lower part of the body with the helmet in his hands or something), that way people where still kind of able to see themselves in master chief and connect maybe even more with the character than they can now.
  • I'm not trying to be funny...y'all know what he really looks like
  • They should have gotten someone who looks like a Master Chief
  • Halo Fan since 2001. Yes, it is jarring to have Masterchief have his helmet off to reveal his face and they could have done it with better fanfare, however I we all have to start accepting and realize that game-based movies and vice versa RARELY translate well across mediums if they are to be completely faithful, same goes for books to movies, and meet fan expectations of the original source material. However, maybe it’s time we can realize the separate mediums of movies, tv shows, books and games play to their own strengths, and “separate timelines” or “interpretations” allows the medium to present whatever it is they are doing the best way they can without being constrained to having to be too faithful to the source material.
  • TLDR; Games ->movies/tv shows
    Books ->movies
    Movies/Tv shows -> games
    All rarely directly translate well and more often than not disappoint fans of the original source. Separate mediums must be given space for their own interpretations if need be so they can play to their strengths. It is better a tv show or movie is given a chance for its own great story, acting, characters, action, messaging etc…than be hobbled attempting to be 100% faithful to the source material.
    Nothing says there can’t be copious amounts of fan service though. Same goes with games based on movies. Example, as much as I love Mass Effect video games’ stories, characters, events etc. I wouldn’t want to see a retread of it in a Movie or Tv series, I would prefer differences and variations for the sake of being a good movie a]or tv series. IF I want a retread of the Mass Effect video games, I’ll play the video games again. (Which I repeatedly do)
  • As expected. It is live action, meaning it needs real human and real human face. Otherwise it is not live action and might as well going full CGI.
  • I dunno if people are being overly critical of the show or not because I haven't seen it yet. I'll start watching soon and I'm sure I'll have to keep reminding myself that this is an alternate universe with similar characters. I always knew he was going to take the helmet off but I've heard some other things that are weird or off. We will see. I'll give it an honest shot. Hell I gave both seasons of batwoman 4 episodes each before walking away.
  • I feel like I've seen that guy many times in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn.
  • I heard that the writers didn't play the game, read the books, etc.