See: Pablo Schreiber talks about taking off the Master Chief’s helmet in aura
Pablo Schreiber says that the removal of the famous Master Chief helmet in the aura The television series was “an important piece of the puzzle” in telling the story of the show.
Canadian star Schreiber stars as the genetically enhanced hero in the adaptation of the video game franchise, which is coming to the UK as part of new streaming service Paramount+’s launch offering.
The series follows the supersoldier as he plays his part in the conflict between humans and the alien order known as the Covenant.
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In the first episode, Chief removes his helmet, something gaming devotees haven’t seen in the franchise’s 20-year history.
Schreiber told Yahoo that he felt removing his helmet was “a necessary step” for him and the character in this version of the aura history.
And he added: “Everyone has their opinion about whether that is [necessary] or not and if you’re a deep, deep aura fan so I think, for a lot of people, there is a desire to have the same experience that you had when you played the game.
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“Certainly that was not a high priority for most of the people who created the show. It was to create a universe that felt familiar to the games, so that you could be in a universe that felt the same but had a different and unique experience.
“To that end, removing the helmet felt like a very important piece of that puzzle. As controversial as it is in some corners, it didn’t seem very controversial to me.”
The 44-year-old confessed that he was a bit surprised by the intensity of the reaction to his face appearing behind the character’s visor.
He said “I knew what aura meant for the people. He knew how big a franchise it was. I knew how much passion there was in the fanbase, but I don’t think I had any real idea what the day-to-day interactions were like and what the tone was like on social media and all of that until we released.”
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aura Franchise supervisor Kiki Wolfkill added that some gamers have been waiting for two decades to catch a glimpse of the man under the armor.
She said “You’re always gonna have both [viewpoints]. It was very important for John’s journey, the man inside the helmet, to be able to see it.”
Despite the confidence surrounding the decision to see Master Chief without his famous helmet, Wolfkill said he remained aware of potential backlash from video game fans.
“With any creative endeavor, there’s always a bit of anxiety about how it’s going to be received,” he confessed.
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“But the fans are super passionate. You definitely get used to that with games, and for me the opportunity to try to give them something new was really exciting.”
Schreiber joins the aura Cast by British artist Natascha McElhone, who plays Dr. Catherine Halsey, artificial intelligence enthusiast and head of the Spartan initiative that gave rise to Chief.
McElhone said joining the franchise and going through “aura boot camp” was something of a “baptism of fire”, but it helped her investigate the character and the AI world for herself.
She said: “I read quite a few books and got into a lot of Nick Bostrom, Stuart Russell and Ray Kurzwei, all these guys who made me think about life in a very different way, to be honest. It was really instructive and interesting.
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“It’s always good, especially if you’re doing a TV show that you want to run for multiple seasons, to dig deep and plant your seedlings in the ground so you don’t get bored of the part you’re playing.
“I wanted to make sure, pushing that analogy forward, that the tree could have many branches.”
aura It has already been renewed for a second season at Paramount+, with Schreiber eager to get back into the suit, helmet or not, to continue telling this sprawling sci-fi story.
Schreiber said, “It was a huge vote of confidence from Paramount+ to know that they loved the material as much as they did and that it means both to them and to the future of the platform to take that vote of confidence.
“Now we do the hard work, which is to take what we learned in the first season and turn it into an even better second season. That’s where my head is and I’m really excited about that opportunity.”
aura is available on Paramount+ now. New episodes will be available to stream weekly on Wednesdays.
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