How Does Master Chief Look Unmasked?

One of the most iconic characters in the entire history of video gaming is Master Chief, who is the face of the Halo franchise. While he may be the face of the franchise, it is worth noting that he doesn’t actually show his face because he is always wearing a suit of armor and a helmet that keeps his face hidden. With that said, has Master Chief ever taken his helmet off? And how does Master Chief look like unmasked

In the video games, Master Chief never takes his helmet off in a manner that allows us to see what he looks like. This is why his exact appearance is a mystery to fans. However, in the Halo TV series, he takes his helmet off in episode 1 to reveal the actor Pablo Schreiber’s face to the audience. 

The decision to reveal Master Chief’s face in the Halo TV series is an interesting one, considering that fans have been accustomed to not seeing the iconic character’s face. Nevertheless, there is a good reason why the showrunners decided to reveal John-117’s face in the TV series and why his face was never shown in the entire Halo video game franchise. And those are things that we are here to talk about.

Does Master Chief Remove His Helmet?

There is no doubt that Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, or simply Master Chief, is one of the most popular video game characters ever created because he is basically the face of the Halo franchise and is probably the most iconic Xbox-exclusive character of all time. And Halo itself is one of the most successful video game franchises of the 21stcentury.

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Master Chief has been the main character of all of the six main-title Halo games since the very first installment of the franchise was released in 2001, along with the first Xbox console. And, of course, the iconic heavy-looking armor and futuristic helmet have become trademarks in Master Chief’s overall appearance in all of the video games he appeared in.

Nevertheless, while Master Chief’s suit of armor allows him to look cool and very iconic, one of the things that any Halo fan would know is that he is always in his suit of armor, despite being the face of the franchise. So, does Master Chief ever remove his helmet?

Technically, yes, Master Chief does remove his helmet. We have seen him removing his helmet a few times in the past, such as in the ending of Halo: Combat Evolved and in a special scene in Halo 4. But the thing about Master Chief is that he removes his helmet in situations wherein we aren’t able to get a good look at what he looks like. 

However, in the games and while you are playing his character, you will never see Master Chief removing his helmet. He will always be wearing his helmet in all six of the main-title video games he starred in, and that only adds to the entire mystique of his character.

Why Doesn’t Master Chief Remove His Helmet In The Games?

We are never strangers to fictional characters who never take their helmets or masks off to show to the public what they really look like. For example, for a very long time, Naruto’s Kakashi’s true appearance under the mask was never revealed. Meanwhile, The Mandalorian’s Din Djarin is strict about taking his helmet off.

Master Chief follows the trend and never takes his helmet off in situations that allow us to see his face (but it is implied that he does take his helmet off whenever he wants to). But the thing that makes him different when compared to Din Djarin of the Star Wars universe is that there is no rule that prohibits a Spartan from taking their helmet off. Spartans are not like Mandalorians in the sense that they are strict about taking their helmets off in front of people (although Djarin does break his vow).

In fact, several in-game Spartans have taken their helmets off at certain points in the game franchise. Spartans such as Fred, Kelly, Carter, and Locke have all been seen taking their helmets off in the games without even worrying about people seeing their faces. Of course, Master Chief doesn’t have a personal rule that states that he cannot take his helmet off.

So, if it is true that Spartans are not prohibited from showing their faces to the public, why is it that Mater Chief doesn’t remove his helmet in the Halo video games?

The reason why Master Chief doesn’t remove his helmet to show his face in the Halo games is actually quite simple and is more of a creative decision on the part of the developers of the Halo franchise.

Take note that when you’re playing a Halo game, you are placed in the shoes of Master Chief himself and that you are controlling the character from your perspective. This means that YOU ARE Master Chief in the game.

In a sense, the developers wanted the players to see themselves as Master Chief while playing Halo, and that’s why his face is never shown to the audience in the video game franchise. Giving Master Chief a face takes away the interactive aspect of Halo because you are now seeing the character as someone who is separate and distinct from you. 

On the other hand, you get to see yourself as Master Chief when you are playing Halo without knowing what the character actually looks like. This adds an interactive layer on the part of the Halo game because the players get to see themselves playing the role of Master Chief.

Has Master Chief Ever Been Unmasked?

While the video games never truly showed what Master Chief looks like under his helmet, the thing is that he has actually been unmasked, and that’s something that has just recently happened but not in the video games.

The Halo TV series had just begun airing, and it didn’t take long for Master Chief to take his helmet off to reveal his face to the audience in what was a move that wasn’t generally acceptable, especially to hardcore fans of the Halo franchise. This happened near the end of the first episode when Master Chief simply took his helmet off in the middle of trying to take control over his ship so that he and Kwan Ha could escape from the UNSC.

This was a surprising decision on the part of the showrunners because Master Chief had never been unmasked before the TV show decided to take a different route by showing the world what he looks like under the helmet. However, there is an acceptable reason given by the show’s creator:

“The decision to remove Chief’s helmet was not a decision made lightly, nor was it a foregone conclusion when we set out to make the show,” Kiki Wolfkill said. “That said, it was always a goal of the show to deliver a differentiated experience from the games, not a carbon copy.”

“In our games, you as the player inhabit the armor–that experience makes both the mystery and the understanding of who the Master Chief is very personal and sacred… With the television series, we want to take you on John’s journey and let you experience, as a viewer, his story and evolution from an external, subjective viewpoint; for that, it felt important to see John outside of his armor.”

Basically speaking, the reason why Master Chief was unmasked in the Halo TV series goes back to the very same reason why his face is never revealed in the video games. As mentioned, YOU ARE Master Chief in the video games, but you are no longer the character in the TV series.

As such, allowing us to see what Master Chief looks like in the TV series allows us to see the character from a third-person perspective instead of allowing us to see the character as us whenever we are watching his story on the Paramount+ show. This part of Master Chief’s journey is a personal one for him, and that means that there is no need for us to put ourselves in the character’s shoes as we do in the video games.

In that sense, allowing us to see what he looks like humanizes the character in such a way that we will be able to see him from a different point of view. The experience of watching Master Chief Petty Officer John-117’s story in the TV series should be differentiated from the interactive experience of being in his shoes in the video games.

How Does The Master Chief Look?

The Halo TV series unmasking Master Chief also proves one point, and that is the fact that the Spartan soldiers are still humans that look like any ordinary human being. Basically speaking, Master Chief’s appearance is no different from how any other person looks because he is just as human as any person.

RELATED: Are Spartans Human in Halo?

But, going into the specifics, Master Chief’s appearance in the Paramount+ TV series takes on the look of his actor, Pablo Schreiber. As such, Schreiber has basically become the face of Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, even though the next installment of the Halo video game series would probably keep the character’s face hidden.