Here’s how Spartans are made in the Halo show and games

By Nicholas James

|

Apr 15, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

The Halo show has had a much heavier focus on the origins of the Master Chief than the Halo games, so how are Spartans made?

Spartans are a type of supersoldier with augmentations that let them accomplish impossible feats of battle prowess and strength. The protagonist of the Halo games, Petty Officer Master Chief John-117, is a Spartan-II, the second iteration of the Office of Naval Intelligence’s supersoldier program. Spartan-IIs have a particularly dark origin story. Here are the details behind the creation of Spartans in the Halo show and universe.

How are Spartans made?

In Halo canon, Spartans are made by brainwashing, training, and physically augmenting kidnapped children.

The Spartan program is led by Doctor Catherine Halsey, and run by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the shadowy intelligence branch of the UNSC. Spartans, particularly the second generation, are made by recruiting potential candidates at a very young age, usually in their pre-teens or early teens.

These children are kidnapped by the Office of Naval Intelligence once they are deemed suitable candidates and replaced with “flash clones”, genetically modified duplicates with DNA that was resequenced to guarantee that they die at a young age. The original copies of the children are taken to ONI facilities, where they live their lives being trained to become perfect killing machines.

As the children age, they receive a series of incredibly dangerous surgeries to augment their growth, strength, speed, and lethality. At the same time, they are essentially pumped with medicine that suppresses any emotion that could hinder their effectiveness in combat situations.

The Spartan program was designed by the United Nations Space Command and the United Earth Government to quell rebellions in colonized space. They are a black ops asset developed by a desperate, authoritarian intelligence agency trying to violently impose its will on disaffected citizens. In a sadistic twist, many Spartans are recruited from outer colonies before being turned into transhuman monsters and weaponized against their homes.

How did the Spartans start fighting against the Covenant?

Spartans are repurposed from fighting humans to fighting aliens after the discovery of the covenant.

In the lore of both the Halo games and show, the Spartans are only used in a limited fashion against humanity due to the discovery of the alien alliance known as the Covenant. This is a stroke of luck for ONI, who can spin the introduction of this disturbing new weapon as a necessity for humanity’s survival in the face of an existential threat.

As such the Spartan program is covered up within ONI’s vast misinformation network. Records are modified, falsified, and deleted to make the children who became Spartan candidates disappear. This is information that the ONI fiercely protects to protect itself from political troubles. This appears to be similar in the Halo show.

An episodic audio drama series was released to tell this story form a different angle. The Hunt The Truth Podcast follows a war journalist named Benjamin Giraud, played by Keegan Michael-Key, who begins to pull back the curtain on the Spartan program.

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