Paramount’s Halo series teases the Mantle of Responsibility, a destiny that serves to be a major reason behind humanity’s war with the Covenant.
Warning! SPOILERS for Halo episode 2.
Paramount’s live-action Halo series just teased the Forerunners’ Mantle of Responsibility, as well as the so-called Blessed Ones who will bring about humanity’s destiny. Having discovered a mysterious and powerful artifact, SPARTAN super-soldier Master Chief John-117 has been uncovering the secrets of the Forerunners, a group of ancient beings who created and left behind powerful technologies, such as the titular Halo rings. As such, the new series has been teasing the Mantle of Responsibility and its major role in the Human-Covenant War.
In Halo episode 2, Master Chief and the daughter of an insurrectionist he spared (named Kwan) have taken refuge in The Rubble, a colony hidden within an interconnected and hollowed-out collection of asteroids free from the eyes of the UNSC or Covenant forces. Having gone rogue to keep Kwan safe and learn more about the artifact John-117 inadvertently activated, the pair visit Master Chief’s old friend Soren-066, a fellow SPARTAN who went AWOL during their training together. Soren eventually takes John and Kawn to meet Reth, a troubled human who was once abducted by the alien forces of the Covenant.
Thanks to Reth, John-117 learns that the Covenant’s entire religion is based on artifacts like the one he found. The Prophets who lead Halo‘s Covenant are obsessed, sending detachments of troops to search the galaxy in search of these objects that once belonged to the Forerunners. Reth also reveals the existence of Blessed Ones, those chosen among humanity who can activate the technology just like Master Chief can. None of the Covenant can activate the Forerunner artifacts precisely because they aren’t human. In the midst of his mutterings, Reth confirms that the Blessed Ones have an “obligation” or “moral imperative.” While he was struggling to find the right words, fans of the Halo video games and novels know that he was trying to reference the Mantle of Responsibility, a mandate given to humans passed on by the Forerunners for them to eventually become the galaxy’s ultimate protectors using the Halo rings.
The Mantle of Responsibility is a big deal in the pre-existing Halo canon. While Paramount’s Halo may exist as its own continuity known as the “Silver Timeline,” it seems as though the Forerunners’ Mantle is just as significant, serving as the primary reason for why the Covenant wants humanity wiped out. While they worship the Forerunners as gods, they were not chosen as humanity was. By eradicating mankind, they hope to assume the Mantle instead and take control of the Halo rings for themselves. At the same time, they ironically need select humans alive who can activate the artifacts – such as the Blessed One they’ve indoctrinated known as Makee.
As the new live-action series continues, it will be interesting to see how the UNSC reacts to the Mantle of Responsibility. Episode 2 ended with Master Chief rejoining the fold with the artifact being placed in the custody of the SPARTAN program’s Doctor Halsey who will doubt study its capabilities, hoping to unlock its secrets as John-117 had when he made contact with the object, being a Blessed One himself. In any case, it seems as though the war over the Forerunners’ Mantle and their rings has only just begun in the new Halo series.
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