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The Halo TV show’s vision of the future includes a 2001 Chevy Tahoe

Future, meet past

Master Chief fighting an Elite in the Halo TV show trailer Image: Paramount Plus
Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

Master Chief is finally coming to streaming. The Halo TV show will premiere on March 24 on Paramount Plus, according to a trailer released on Sunday. There is genuinely a lot going on in the two-minute look at the series, as we get our first look at “humanity’s best weapon” (aka Master Chief and the Spartans), along with the gear that the super-soldiers use to save the world.

There’s a lot we might have taken for granted — the Pelicans, the trusty Warthogs in their various models. But it also turns out these vehicles of the future include a 2001 Chevy Tahoe, which is viewable at a few points in the trailer, notably during a bit where Master Chief is walloping a beefy looking Elite. Redditors have pointed out the fact, which has led to lively discussion on the matter:

Obviously, shows often take liberties with their source material. They are also, of course, made by human people who own real cars, and might use those as props (however purposefully). But it’s amusing to imagine the Chevy Tahoe being a vehicle of choice, 500-plus years in the future, in a world full of futuristic alien technology.

The Halo TV series will loosely follow events of the games, in what 343 Industries calls the “Silver timeline.” Judging by the trailer, a lot is changed; there are multiple Spartans alive in roughly the time period of the first game, and Master Chief apparently discovered the Halo ring, rather than just encountering it.

Over the years, Halo canon has been expanded, as the Halo book series continued to carve out the universe, adding depth and flavor to Master Chief’s lonely, yet alien-filled life. So hear me out: maybe the 2001 Chevy Tahoe is the car of the future? It makes some kind of sense when you think about Halo’s long-running attachment to the assault rifle. The aliens get different weapons — well obviously, because they’re aliens — but even futuristic super-soldiers seem to rely on a more or less familiar weapon. (It’s also possible the car is part of a flashback, or an older part of the storyline, which would make more sense.)

Someone from the Halo Paramount Plus series using an AK-47 for some reason Image: Paramount Plus

To add to this theory, the 2001 Chevy isn’t the only piece of seemingly old equipment hanging out in the trailer. In the very beginning, in the same spot, it looks like a human combatant is using what appears to be a semi-modern AK-47. This definitely suggests that either we’re going back in time at some point in this series, it’s set in a different year than the games, or that these people are using centuries old technology. And that might just be the answer.

In Halo’s main timeline, the Spartans weren’t created to fight the Covenant, at least not originally. Their first purpose was to fight a group of pesky space rebels that were constantly at war with the UNSC. These rebels were cut off from the more advanced technology of the rest of the human race, which means it’s at least somewhat possible that they could be using technology that’s a little closer to ours than the rest of the UNSC. This would also mean that Spartans and Master Chief are the ones attacking at the beginning, painting the heroic Halo-star in a slightly more grim light than the games ever have. Perhaps more practically, it’s also just pretty hard to imagine a 2001 Chevy Tahoe lasting 500 years. But, who knows: maybe that’s all the rebels can make.

Here’s the vehicle, from an aerial view:

An aerial image of a base camp in the Halo TV show Image: Paramount Plus

This trailer has given me much to ponder. I, for one, am hoping to get some validation on those truly canon parts of Master Chief’s whole deal — such as the fact he, in all likelihood, stinks to high heavens due to wearing the Mjolnir armor for days straight. And also, he pees in there.