The new Halo series tells a sci-fi story about parenthood, following in the genre footsteps of several Star Wars shows, most recently The Mandalorian.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Halo series premiere, now streaming on Paramount+.
The first episode of the new Halo series is following the trend of parenthood established in another big science-fiction franchise. starwars has leaned strongly into this subject for years now, with both The Mandalorian and The BadBatch. While Halo was already being compared to The Mandalorianthis thematic similarity may make it harder for the series to stand out — even though the concept of parenthood has played very well to sci-fi audiences.
The Mandalorian uses the father and son dynamic between Din Djarin and Grogu to help make the masked hero relatable. The relationship softens the hardened protagonist by showing him that there is more to life than rules and killing. The Bad Batch uses the same idea, but with the characters of Omega and Hunter. Omega helps to show Hunter what it looks like to have responsibilities beyond a war and that there can be joy in life. in the Halo premiere, Master Chief’s military training falls apart when he is faced with someone who has suffered because of his actions. Kwan Ha convinces Master Chief that he is not doing the right thing, so he decides to go rogue and save her life from her.
Kwan was part of a group of colonists rebelling against the United Nations Space Command (UNSC), the military organization at the center of Halo. After all of her people are killed by The Covenant, Master Chief decides to take her with him, but finds out that she will be executed when they arrive on the UNSC homeworld of Reach. She is able to get past his lifetime of military and scientific programming to uncover the man within her. The series appears to be building their dynamic from her into a parent and child relationship, where a large organization will be after Kwan and Master Chief is the only person who can protect her. That’s very similar to what audiences saw with Grogu and Din Djarin in The Mandalorianculminating in their meeting during The Book of Boba Fett end.
The trend of parenthood is popular because most viewers can relate to it. People are able to see themselves in those characters because they have a similar relationship. However, following a trend can also dilute a story when it becomes too familiar. Fans can become tired of seeing the same dynamic over and over again, so Halo needs to be careful to find a new way to explore the concept that starwars hasn’t already mined, lest those comparisons to The Mandalorian continue.
That doesn’t mean Halo should avoid the topic altogether. The series established the relationship between Master Chief and Kwan Ha extremely quickly, while The Mandalorian developed it over a few episodes before Din Djarin rescued Grogu from the Empire and fell in love with the little guy. That pacing alone will help it to separate itself from starwarsas long as it continues to look for new and different stories to tell.
Halo is clearly trying to humanize John-117 and giving him a surrogate child may be an effective way to do it. Just because a thematic device has been used before doesn’t mean it can’t fit the storyline that the video game adaptation is trying to tell. But in following this new and much beloved trend, the Paramount Plus series will also have to set out on its own at some point — much like a child leaving its parent to start its own adventure.
The first episode of Halo is now streaming on Paramount+.
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