Halo Season 2: Why Cortana Looks Different in Season 2 Compared to Season 1

Halo is now back with season 2 on Paramount+ with several changes, including a new Cortana. Cortana’s new look in season 2 has led us all to wonder if the actor was recast.

At the end of season 1, it is revealed that Dr Halsey has an evil purpose for Cortana. Halsey wants to use Cortana to take over the Chief’s mind and control him. Through Cortana, she wants to transform the Chief into another war machine.

However, Cortana tells the Chief the truth before the season 1 ending and earns his trust. Meanwhile, the human-covenant war takes a difficult turn, and John understands that allowing Cortana to take over is the only way to defeat the Covenants.

As Halsey rightly pointed out, Cortana-controlled Master Chief is unstoppable, but season 2 reveals that Cortana was separated from the Chief. The UNSC and ONI decided to separate them, leaving Dr Halsey’s Spartan program in the air.

Was Cortana recast in Halo season 2?

Jen Taylor provides Cortana’s voiceover and motion capture in Halo season 1. She is still involved in the series in season 2 and has not been recast. However, Christina Bennington physically portrays Cortana’s character in season 2.

 Halo Season 2: Why Cortana Looks Different in Season 2 Compared to Season 1
Cortana in season 1 | Source: IMDb

Cortana is an AI construct modeled by Dr. Halsey on her own brain. At the end of season 1, she was planted in Master Chief’s brain. She returns in season 2 but with striking differences in her character design.

Although her voice actor has not been recast, there are stark differences between the season 1 and season 2 versions of Cortana.

Why does Cortana look different in Halo season 2?

As of writing, Halo season 2 does not give any in-universe reasoning behind Cortana’s new look. The redesign is likely a result of the fans reacting negatively to the previous version of Cortana as she wasn’t adhering to her appearance from the games.

Halo season 1 was loved by critics and viewers alike. However, many criticized Cortana’s design as she looked too human, in contrast to the AI Tron-inspired look in the original games.

 Halo Season 2: Why Cortana Looks Different in Season 2 Compared to Season 1
Halo Season 2 | Source: IMDb

The feedback from the audience urged the creative team to rethink Cortana’s design. The new Cortana looks similar to that of the games and is more robot-like.

The new design focuses on the character’s blue glow and gives her a bob haircut, similar to the game’s character. The UNSC uniform Cortana wears is also different.

Where is Cortana in Halo season 2?

Cortana is being held captive on Reach by James Ackerson in Halo season 2. Ackerson could have meddled with Cortana, leading to stark differences within her.

Cortana’s new design may be indicative of her new personality, as Ackerson has changed her a lot. He meddled with her system. At her core, Cortana is a construct, so her appearance is bound to change with time.

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About Halo

Halo is an American live-action sci-fi television series based on the Halo video game franchise. It is developed by Steven Kane and Kyle Killen for Paramount+.

The series follows a 26th-century war between the United Nations Space Command and the Covenant, a theocratic-military alliance of several advanced alien races determined to eradicate the human race.

The series stars Pablo Schreiber, Natascha McElhone, Charlie Murphy, Jen Taylor, Shabana Azmi, Bokeem Woodbine, Kate Kennedy, Natasha Culzac, Yerin Ha, and Bentley Kalu.

Pratyasha Sarkar

Pratyasha Sarkar

Officially a student of literature, but unofficially a defence lawyer of fictional characters. I am mostly either feasting on chocolate chip cookies or binge watching sitcoms. Also, I firmly believe mint ice cream tastes like toothpaste.


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