Why Recasting Cortana Is the Right Choice for the Halo TV Series

Cortana’s importance to the series, as arguably its other main character, can’t be overstated. It’s partially because her character is so memorable that Taylor is still one of the most popular actors involved with Halo, evoking both nostalgia for the early days of the series as well as how the character has grown beyond the franchise that made her a gaming legend. Even people who aren’t gamers but own a Windows 10 PC with Cortana voice commands enabled know Taylor’s voice well.

But what will be Cortana’s role on the show itself? We don’t know for sure. The series’ official description teases “an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant” and that the show “will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future.” That could mean anything in this franchise, which has built up quite an ensemble of super-soldiers, marines, scientists, and enemy factions over years. Master Chief and Cortana will star alongside established characters like Jacob and Miranda Keyes, as well as new Spartans.

Cortana’s connection to Dr. Halsey in particular is a key part of the franchise’s world-building, and it might provide some clues as to the show’s plot. As well as making Cortana, Halsey also essentially enslaved hundreds of children as test subjects for the SPARTAN super soldier program that birthed Master Chief. Both Cortana and the Chief were essentially created to be part of the military, and the Halo franchise has both played this straight and critiqued it throughout its run. With Halsey set as a key player on the show despite being a background character for much of the video game series, the show seems positioned to ask some tough questions about Halsey’s experiments as well as explore how Cortana and Master Chief feel about them.

Unsurprisingly, Cortana is also the character through whom the series looks most closely at the nature of artificial intelligence. Halo‘s AI are sapient machines based on human brain templates, and the presence of an AI with their own motivations and perspectives on humanity is key to the hard sci-fi storytelling woven throughout the series. (Maybe let’s not talk about where this artificial intelligence plotline goes in the much-maligned Halo 5.)

We still don’t know when fans will actually be able to watch this show, as production continues to trudge along amid a real-world crisis. Meanwhile, Xbox Series X players are also waiting on the delayed Halo Infinite, which won’t hit shelves until some point in 2021. Yet, even if it’s one piece of news in a flurry of delays, it’s still nice to see a fan-favorite actor return. We look forward to seeing more of Taylor in the future.

More Halo news as we learn it!

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