Following the premiere of the Halo TV series’ first trailer, fans have begun making edits to prove that the traditional blue appearance of the series’ star AI, Cortana, would have worked in live action.
Released on January 30th, the series’ first full trailer – unlike the earlier teaser trailer which focused on its diverse cast – touches upon Master Chief’s story, seemingly suggesting that the story will focus on the beginning of the Spartan’s partnership with Cortana.
In the game’s continuity this happens prior to the first Halo game, shortly before the fall of Reach, with the AI choosing the Chief as her Spartan host in service – at least originally – of fighting against the Covenant.
“They let me pick. Did I ever tell you that?” Cortana tells the Chief during the course of Halo 3. “Choose whichever Spartan I wanted. You know me. I did my research. Watched as you became the soldier we needed you to be. Like the others, you were strong and swift and brave. A natural leader.”
“But you had something they didn’t,” she adds. “Something no one saw, but me. Can you guess…? Luck.”
Yet, despite the official trailer currently having roughly 61,000 likes to 11,000 dislikes, as revealed through the use of a third-party browser add-on which counteract’s YouTube’s hiding of dislikes, many seem to be taken aback by the series’ first showing.
Many of the top comments accuse the series of “playing it safe,” with some accusing the series of both merely taking surface level inspiration from the games and failing to live up to Bungie’s own live-action 2012 short, Halo Landfall.
Critics also expressed worry over the fact that it seems the series will be telling its own story, rather than matching the continuity of the games, while others still took issue with the fact that Steve Downes would not be voicing Master Chief, as the role was instead given to Orange Is the New Black actor Pablo Schreiber.
However, one change to Cortana in particular was met with revulsion from fans.
Though she will be portrayed once again by original voice actor Jen Taylor, despite the current myriad of CG options available to creators seeking to make sights and creatures beyond imagining, the powerful AI has now ditched her usual monochrome blue appearance in favor of something more normal and human-like.
One YouTuber user, Luke Burrell, commented “I was really excited about this show, but still sceptical after the teaser trailer. Now after this trailer I’m just worried. How did they mess up Chief’s voice and Cortana’s look so bad?”
“They have to be one of THE most iconic things about the whole franchise, I didn’t even realise it was Chief talking for half the trailer,” he lamented. “Not to mention no halo music or anything even remotely similar makes this whole thing just really ‘off’ and concerning. I will be giving this show a shot but my expectations are even lower than they were before.”
“Cortana with human skin, huh?” another user, TeeHallums, mused. “I mean, it doesnt look awful, and I get the practical reasons for the decision. But if her design is already post-processed, one cant help but wonder why not just have her be… you know… a hologram. Other than that, most of the designs look excellent so far!”
In light of this disappointing reveal, eager fans of the games took to the task of “fixing” Cortana’s appearance, many doing a better job than Paramount by quickly adding color filters and simple effects.
/u/SplinterPizza shared their handiwork on the official Halo subreddit, showing Cortana in her usual blue.
Not to be outdone, /u/skenera re-color was showcased in motion:
With around 3,000 upvotes each, fans reacted positively to these edits, with comparisons being quickly drawn to the debut trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, such as /u/SentientTroll proposal that the same people who approved Cortana’s appearance were the “same idiots who approved the original Sonic.”
“If you take a poll of 10 halo players feelings about this cortana, 9 of them ask if this is fake,” they asserted. “The last one doesn’t care because the new call of duty is coming out next week.”
InterstellarIsBadass went as far as to suggest the design was designed to intentionally cause outrage in order to allow Paramount to subsequently position themselves as ‘pro-fan’ by revealing a fixed version later on, as had happened in earnest in the case of the aforementioned Sonic.
“I feel like Paramount is purposely trying to recreate the Sonic effect – poorly change something simple… but obviously wrong to the fans”, InterstellerIsBadass suggested, “They 100% know the fans will be passionate and complain. Then [they will] reap all the praise when they ‘change it last minute’ to please the fans.”
Continuing, they speculated, “Then [they will] get more fan views out of ‘earned respect’ over something that they actually already knew was excepted. Either that or it’s trailer-only change just to bring in viewers from the super bowl who might be interested in a female actress but turned away by another weird CGI character in the trailer.”
“No way do they try to make so many things photo accurate to the game characters but can’t do this one simple thing. One way or the other,” InterstellerIsBadass relented with a shrugging emoji “I don’t think that’s the actual final version just saying.”
While some fans argue over its finer details and others, based on the trailer’s YouTube likes, are excited for it to premiere, two people who don’t have faith in the series are its own showrunners.
Kyle Killen is already out the door as “he was unable to render full-time showrunner duties during the show’s shoot in Budapest”, while Steven Kane intends to leave the series for personal reasons after its first season concludes.
What do you think of both the official live-action Cortana and her fan redesigns? Let us know on social media and in the comments below!