Halo, Paramount+’s streaming series based on the iconic video games, follows the legendary Spartan super soldier John (Pablo Schreiber), A.K.A. The Master Chief: the green, mean, alien-slaughtering machine as he travels the galaxy slaughtering aliens. At least, that’s what fans were expecting, based on the games. Season 1 of the series disappointed more than a few as the show progressed, being filled with inconsequential side-plots, little and underwhelming action, and confusing canon changes. Many point out that the show did not fulfill any of its roles as a sci-fi show, an action show, or even a Halo show. Though some fans did appreciate aspects of the series, such as humanizing John and the Spartans instead of keeping them the emotionless killing machines they are in the games.
Even with varying reviews and plenty of criticism, Halo was Paramount+’s most successful show, and the release of a second season is looming on the horizon. Fans have been quick to point out what worked and what didn’t work with the first season, and hope that the second season can improve the show. With a disappointing first season, there is a lot that fans are expecting from the new season. Here’s what audiences want to see most in Halo Season 2.
Update December 12, 2023: If you are a Halo fan, you’ll be happy to know that this article has been updated by Jessica Peerez with more information regarding Halo Season 2 based on the recently released trailer.
More Time with The Covenant
The Covenant is a religious union of different alien species united under the Prophets, driving humanity to extinction in the name of their gods. They are merciless in Halo and even more brutal than in the games, but time with the Covenant was limited in the first season, with the main focus on Makee, a human member of the Covenant raised by the Prophets, and very few aliens are ever shown. Many fans felt this absence, as the core nature of the franchise is battling aliens.
Showing more of these complex and unique creatures will greatly improve the second season. The most praised aspect of Halo 2 is how the game expands the story of Halo through the Covenant’s perspective, specifically through the eyes of the Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam, and though the series is not supposed to be a direct adaptation of the games, it could follow in the game’s footsteps. According to the recently released trailer, fans are likely to get their fill of the Covenant, as the Covenant is depicted as having grown even stronger following the first season. While shows like The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian were criticized for having episodes not focusing on the main characters, Halo could benefit from an entire episode centered on The Covenant.
It Needs More Action
No matter how one feels about the canon changes and directional production, the one thing fans and critics agreed on was that Halo definitely needs to pick up on the action. Advertised as a sci-fi/action show about a galactic war for the survival of humanity, fans were surprised to find that Halo was more of a space drama. The action almost disappeared entirely after the very first scene where the Chief and his fellow Spartans battled the Covenant Elites for twenty minutes in the premiere, a proper battle worthy of the legendary franchise. But this scene was just to get viewers hooked as the action wouldn’t happen for the next four episodes, and every action sequence afterward was bland and suffered from poor effects.
It appears as if the creative team behind the series has picked up on the demands by viewers for more action. The trailer for the new season portrays Season 2 as being intensely action-packed, with enough explosions, guns and fight scenes. “You deserve the truth, the enemy is at our gates,” opens the trailer before delving into a scene of planet Reach being attacked. It also seems that Master Chief himself may have a new weapon in Season 2, keeping with the stepped-up action, as the trailer shows the character carrying an assault rifle different from the one he had in the previous season.
More Focus on Lore
Halo actually does a good job incorporating the lore of the Halo universe, where we see the true nature of the UNSC hidden in the games and meet little-known characters like Admiral Parangosky from the novel tie-ins, yet these aspects feel very token, even the Spartans themselves. In an interview with Variety, showrunners admitted that they “didn’t look to the games” when creating the show, and it’s obvious. The names and locations are true to the source material, but the planets and the characters aren’t real, they’re just fill-ins for different things the showrunners wanted.
While Doctor Halsey is even more of a despicable monster than she is in the lore, the show lost her care and connections to the Spartans. And though the Spartans themselves are the ultimate warriors who sacrificed everything to save humanity in the games, they don’t really do anything but rebel like teenagers in the show. Especially with the seemingly random canon changes all throughout the first season, there’s little to make this a Halo show and little cohesion in the show itself. Staying true to the lore will help not only add cohesion to the show but help make this actually feel like a Halo show.
The Halo Rings Need to Appear
Despite being crucial to the title and the core of the games, the actual Halos did not appear in Season 1 until the finale. The Halo Array are the giant rings seen only briefly in the show but act as the setting for many of the games, and can wipe the galaxy clean of all sentient life. The Prophets seek the rings, believing these mysterious artifacts of the Forerunners are the key to godhood. The Halos are teased throughout the season, and their location is learned in the last episode. As one of the core aspects and most exciting parts of the games, fans expected the Halo rings to play a more central role in the series and were disappointed when it didn’t.
Given this, viewers were hoping that Season 2 would give the rings a more central role. The trailer has now revealed that the rings will most definitely be a part of the new season, with a clip of a Halo ring floating in space towards the latter part of the trailer. The decision to focus on the rings will most likely work in favor of the series by tying it to its foundation. Season 1 was heavily criticized for straying too far from the premise of the games. Given this, the new season’s promise to focus on the rings has reignited hopes of fans that the series will stick to the essence of the games while exercising creative freedom.
Given the opinions of audiences regarding Season 1 of Halo, the new season of the series will be crucial. With fans not very pleased with what Season 1 brought to screens and having a number of things they’d like to see in the upcoming season, Season 2 may be the redeeming grace of the Halo series and the manner in which viewers react to the new season will likely decide whether the series continues into future seasons.
The fact that the Season 2 trailer does not reference much of the events in Season 1 may also be perceived as a signal that producers are looking to move away from the blunders of the first season. Having the upcoming season be a more authentic adaptation may aid Halo in reaching the same success that the games did. Season 2 of Halo is set to be released on February 8, 2024. Until then, Season 1 of the series is available for streaming on Paramount+.