Halo’s Master Chief without a helmet is against Brand Guidelines

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Feature

The Halo TV series is not good. Paramount recently released a trailer for season two of the mediocre series, and as far as trailers go, it’s not so bad. However, a huge point of contention for fans of the Halo franchise is the show’s insistence that Master Chief not have his helmet on. I agree the big man should keep his helmet on. For all the franchise reasons people have listed for the past few years. But also because it’s against the Halo Brand Guidelines.

The Halo Brand

Master Chief in Halo 4
Master Chief in Halo 4

If there is a Brand Guideline document for the Halo video game franchise, the Do’s and Don’ts section would have at least three things on it:

The Needler must sound like this:

UNSC Soldiers must banter incessantly

And Master Chief keeps his helmet on

Brand rules are meant to maintain consistency within the brand. The writers and director of this Halo show must have something that has the history of the franchise and a detailed list of the lore. There would be a sentence explaining why Master Chief keeps his helmet on. The fact that they continue to remove it to “help tell their story” is a cheap and selfish answer. Which leads me to a question.

Who is this show for?

Halo Season 2 Screen cap

It’s obviously not for fans of the Halo series. The show has made so many decisons that angered fans, it’s akin to trolling at this point. The arguement that they are trying to tell a new story in the Halo universe is valid, but again, you have to play within the brand rules. Master Chief is the crux of the brand and not getting him right derails the whole thing.

The end result of season one wasn’t even entertaining sci-fi on a general level. Nothing groundbreaking, or even fun happens. It’s certainly nothing a general sci-fi fan would find interesting when shows like Star Trek: Discovery or literally anything on Apple TV these days exists. So I ask again, who is this show for? Who is it meant to appeal to?

Why is it about Master Chief at all?

Oh, High John. you look upset. Did Master Chief leave?
Oh, high John. You look upset. Did Master Chief leave?

Let’s go back to the brand rules for a second. If Master Chief and his helmet are a no-go in the Brand Guide, but you want to tell a story about a Spartan who takes their helmet off, why not make up a new Spartan? The Halo franchise is full of examples of this method working. Halo: ODST and Halo: Reach both star non-Master Chief leads and both are successful stories in the Halo universe.

Tell the Halo story you are dying to tell, but put John-117 somewhere else. It frees you up to do whatver you want with your makeshift Spartan and gives fans the excitement and anticipation of one day seeing Master Cheif in the series. They created other new Spartans for the show. What’s one more? That way, you adhere to the brand and have a semi-creative way of getting your non-helmeted Master Chief surrogate.

John isn’t scheduled for today

I watched all of Season one of Halo. There is nothing in that story that requires Master Chief, specifically, to be around. Every conflict in the show can be solved by any old Spartan. John consistantly makes non-Master Chief-like decisions all under the guise of his “humanity” is coming back. That can be literally any Spartan.

There is an entire subplot following the Spartan Kai-125 going through the exact same emotional rollercoaster Chief is. Just make her the star. In all fairness, her character did more interesting stuff with her emerging humanity than John. All faux Master chief did was grab a bunch of floating rocks and sleep wtih an obvious spy for the invading alien race.


So it all comes back to trolling. They could have their Master Chief and bare faced Spartan too, but continually try to mush the two together. Follow the brand, get the fans back, and have some creative fun working your way around the rules. Without the rules, nothing is off the table, then you end up with the Kwan Ha haircut.