Halo TV series 'Silver Timeline' explained in new breakdown

Halo TV Series Master Chief
Halo TV Series Master Chief (Image credit: Microsoft / Paramount+)

What you need to know

  • 343 Industries has explained that the Halo TV series will take place in a "Silver Timeline" that's similar to, but separate from, the core Halo canon.
  • There is potential for these two timelines to intersect, and everything from objects and equipment to characters and events from the TV show could appear in future Halo games.
  • The Halo TV series is expected to premiere in 2022 exclusively on Paramount+.

Ahead of its expected premiere later this year, 343 Industries has released a new "Silver Debrief" blog post that breaks down some of what fans can expect from the upcoming Halo TV series. We finally got a first look at it during The Game Awards 2021, and to hold us over as we eagerly await the arrival of the Halo TV series' official trailer during the CBS broadcast of the AFC Championship football game on Jan. 30, Franchise Creative Director Frank O'Connor has provided details about the show's "Silver Timeline."

According to O'Connor, this timeline will be very similar to the core Halo canon that players have experienced in the franchise's video games and novels. However, it will deviate from the core canon in situations where it's necessary for the show's story.

"The TV show timeline – the 'Silver Timeline' – is grounded in the universe, characters and events of what's been established in core canon, but will differ in subtle and not so subtle ways in order to tell a grounded, human story, set in the profoundly established Halo universe," said O'Connor. "Where differences and branches arise, they will do so in ways that make sense for the show, meaning that while many events, origins, character arcs, and outcomes will map to the Halo story fans know, there will be surprises, differences, and twists that will run parallel, but not identically to core canon."

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

According to O'Connor, there's also potential for the main timeline and the Silver Timeline to intersect. "The show certainly is built on the shoulders of Halo's canonical giants. The history, the aesthetic, the narrative underpinnings, and so on, are all directly aligned with, inspired by, based on, or aligned with existing Halo stuff, O'Connor explained. "Of course, there are tweaks ... but story differences create great opportunities to make new things that could potentially feature in future games – not just objects or effects, or designs, but people, events, inventions, and more."

Whether or not 343 Industries has actual plans to weave elements of the show's timeline into Halo's core canon remains to be seen, but it's fun to think about regardless. The show itself is expected to debut later this year exclusively on Paramount+, and according to 343 Industries' Head of Transmedia Kiki Wolfkill, the show's producers are "deep in post-production and finishing on the show." In the meantime, why not try out the Halo Infinite campaign? It features an excellent story and gameplay that's an absolute blast, making it one of the best Xbox shooters available.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

10 Comments
  • Awe, that's lame.
  • I think it makes sense, though I do wonder what was so restrictive about the core canon that they had to create a new timeline to work around it lol.
  • Best guess: the chief.
    For a series he needs a narrative arc; for the games, he must remain stoic and unemotional.
    On the show, he might even have (gasp!) a girlfriend. 😱
    It also goes the other way: 343 doesn't want to be automatically obligated to accept into games everything the series comes up with.
  • About what I expected. I think It'd be pretty boring after a while if they went "Hardcore Henry" and filmed from the inside of the Chief's helmet just to replay the events of the games. Those events had wider-ranging consequences and characters than the single player lets on, and so much of Halo's deeper lore comes from supplementary material.
  • I really hope they don't screw up the show with wokeness like so many shows nowadays Fingers crossed
  • Oh god here we go again.
  • Lol! That was my response too. Geeze.
  • I'm surprised people don't sleep more with all the complaining about "wokeness".
  • Completely understandable, contrary to the general complaints you get from randoms on the internet you can't actually translate one medium to another 1 to 1. It needs to be adopted in some way. So I'm fine with a side narrative (like they did with the Mike Coultier show) just so long as it's better written than that show (like, a lot better written). Oh, and god I hope it's not the Banished, just do anything else because that faction has nothing going for it.
  • A slavish rendition of game canon would be doable for a movie or a one and done miniseries but for a multiyear effort good writing requires characters that change and evolve. A good outcome would be akin to the Nolan BATMAN TRILOGY, the first two Maguire Spider mivies (we can pretend the third didn't happen) or the current STARGIRL and SUPERMAN AND LOIS. The characters behave as expected but the stories and interactions are different and the overall narrative conforms to canon in general but not always in specifics. Main thing is the chief isn't going to be the viewer's puppet so he won't always act like in the games. Like taking his helmet off a lot. We'll probably see him without armor a lot too. We'll see more interaction with blue team and the other units. We'll see the chief, who can be very insubordinate, get into trouble with the brass, maybe go from all gung ho to war weary and cynical. Above all, expect more shades of gray. Doctor Halsey is no angel. This could tank, yes, but it could also be awesome.
    Biggest problem is it running on Paramount+, the smallest, least useful streaming service.