Halo is back for Season 2 on Paramount+, and the beloved video game-turned-television series is leaning more into the characters’ storylines.

After pushback from fans about the TV adaptation, producer and video game developer Kiki Wolfkill explained the controversy behind the helmet on or off concept for Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber), whose armor never came off when playing Halo via the Xbox gaming console. 

“There’s such a fervor around the idea that it feels like it just happened in Season 2, but we actually took it off in Season 1,” Wolfkill told Blavity’s Shadow and Act. “We just reignited the creative debate around his helmet being on or off, and it’s tough.”

“So much of Master Chief is how you, as a player, identify with him in the games and how you inhabit that armor in the games,” she continued. “So it’s hard when his helmet comes off in the show, because all of a sudden, we’re telling the story of a character that may be different from how people imagine them in their head because of how personal their connection is to him as the character that they play in the games. At the same time, it was really important for us to be able to tell his story and who he is, both in and outside of the armor. And so we recognized it was a risky decision, but also recognized it was really important to how we wanted to tell his story.”

After viewers left the first season with Chief surrendering his consciousness to Cortana, Schrieber said you can expect things to pick up where they left off, except with many unanswered questions. Yet, the draw continues to go beyond the surface level of who the characters are.

“The approach with this show has always been to dig into the character that’s underneath the armor,” he said. “So we’ll continue with that approach. We’ll see Chief in armor and feel why he is who he is and how effective he is at his job. And, we’ll see Chief in all of his stoicism and power.”

Schreiber continued, “We’ll also get underneath the armor and examine the man, examine this soldier who has been tasked with saving humanity and is just beginning to experience his own and dealing with the ripple effects of what that means for him in trying to figure out what he’s responsible for, which parts of his life are his own and which he can claim for himself and what he ultimately owes to humanity in his role.”

Along with witnessing a more vulnerable side of Chief, those watching will also meet his arch nemesis and new kid on the block, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan).

“You meet James in the first episode, and he comes in; he’s the new boss, right?” Morgan said. “Ackerson’s main concern is the survival of humanity, and so he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that mankind survives…for the good of humanity. So, he shakes things up when he comes in, he has a plan and he truly believes that this is the right way of doing things.”

“He just needs everyone to get on board,” he continued. “So he’ll do whatever it takes to bring people on board, and that means manipulating them. That means butting heads with people, but it’s all about pulling people in line with his vision, and as the season goes on, the character arc gets more complex because we see more of his personal life, his private life, and we start to learn more about James Ackerson, his vulnerabilities, why he is like he is and why he does what he does. So by the time we get to the end, he has been through some experiences that make him a very different person with a very different view on the world.”

Season 2 of Halo is now streaming on Paramount+.