Halo show leak reveals Master Chief's TV face — and it looks all kinds of wrong

Master Chief, in armor, surrounded by other Spartans in the Halo TV show trailer
(Image credit: Paramount)

Recently it was revealed that the upcoming Halo TV show would be doping the unthinkable. It would be showing off the Master Chief sans helmet, and without obscuring his face in anyway. At the time, it sounded (at least to me) like a very bad idea. Unfortunately, that idea seems even worse now.

Images from the show have leaked (via Reddit), and the situation is far worse than I feared. The images seem to show Pablo Schreiber’s Master Chief unmasked in all his glory — and he looks all kinds of wrong. 

master_chief_without_helmet_in_tv_show from r/halo

While trying my hardest not to sound like an angry fanboy screaming that this isn’t what Master Chief should look like, well, this ain’t what the Master Chief should look like. 

To see it for yourself (in more than just still photos), you can now watch the Halo TV series — which is already proving divisive. We've got a roundup of fan reactions showing why the Halo TV series is both hated and loved by fans.

With the haircut and the facial hair, TV Chief is basically Jon Bernthal's Punisher if you ordered him from Wish.com. It's like hearing Half-Life hero Gordon Freeman speak for the very first time and finding out he sounds like Gilbert Gottfried.

Also this Master Chief is way, way prettier than he should be. It’s a look you wouldn’t expect from a grizzly-voiced supersoldier who was conscripted into the military at age 6 and has been on the front lines since the age of 14.

It's not like Chief hasn't been described in great detail since the beginning. The first Halo novel trilogy described his appearance in so much detail that back in 2012 343 Industries franchise development director Frank O’Conner told Eurogamer he believes it could have been taken to a police sketch artist, noting "That police sketch artist would then produce a perfectly accurate rendering of an older man, almost painfully pale, almost albino white, with pale blue eyes, reddish hair, close cropped to a skin head, and maybe the last remnants of freckles he had when he was a kid."

I can’t help but feel this Chief looks way too young to be the character O'Connor (and the books) described. Master Chief was born in 2511, making him roughly 41 years old by the events of the first Halo game. Schreiber, despite being 43, still looks about 35. Lucky for some, I guess.

But therein lies the problem in revealing the Chief's face like this. After 20 years of seeing a helmet, and only a helmet, seeing anything was going to go down as well as the weirdly-human looking Cortana. The fact that they just gave Schreiber a haircut and called it a day isn’t going to help matters.

For a career soldier with almost 30 years of experience fighting aliens, terrorists, and insurrectionist militias, you’d think he'd have picked up a few souvenirs from battle. Power armor or not, I was expecting at least some scarring — or even a crew cut. 

Here’s just hoping that the Halo TV show can make up for its controversial decisions by being a good show. However, following a 59% Rotten Tomatoes score after its South by Southwest debut, I’m not particularly hopeful of that.

Halo debuts on Paramount Plus on March 24.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.