Theories of a Halo Junkie: Part I (The Didact)
A New Halo, A New Trilogy
Rhythm and the changing of hands. Think about the uninterrupted stride of Bond films with the new faces holding the golden gun throughout the years. And then that stride loudly comes to a pause with Daniel Craig appearing on the scene, remarkably bold-faced, haggard looking, but looking Bond nonetheless. To say that 343 Industries is the Daniel Craig behind the Halo universe may be a ridiculous metaphor to use, but when they took up the mantle from Bungie, everyone wondered what would happen to the ‘rhythm’ of their favorite pastime with this changing of hands.
As a writer with journalistic tendencies, I betrayed my initial instincts to write everything about Halo 4 as it immediately came into the hands of excited consumers. I wanted to understand the new rhythm that 343 Industries was giving us Halo fanatics rather than write about how 343 compared with their own Forerunners. Like many Halo junkies before me, I have my own theories about the upcoming Halo games, the possible survival of the Didact and Cortana, John’s careworn figure in the new teaser trailer, not to mention the enigmatic Precursors–but I’ll let those ideas brew and boil. As the title kindly implies, this article is the first in a five-part series regarding those theories: it seeks to explore the billion year history of Halo lore in about three thousand words or so. Let’s begin.
Analyzing The Didact
The Forerunner Promethean is a far more sinister and cunning opponent than the Prophets. Towering menacingly over the Chief with Martin O’Donnell’s heart pounding music in the background, his grandiose entrance from lore to the big screen was cut short. But perhaps 343 Industries is self-conscious about the Ur-Didact’s untimely demise being too soon and have other plans. After all, the speech at the end of the game hints that the Didact’s plans are being set in motion. With it being announced that Halo 5 will be the darkest episode in the trilogy, the Didact’s ancient grudge against humanity can only be thought of as insidious and not merely the delusions of an aging Forerunner.
The question on everyone’s mind is how the Didact might have survived. In the light of Forerunner technology, if the Composer does what it is meant to do, then the Didact would either be immune if he had some sort of safe-guard, or be composed himself. In case of the former, perhaps he’s hiding out on Earth after crash landing, eating Shawarma just like in The Avengers. In the latter case, he would exist in the form of sentient data alongside his Promethean comrades. In any case, after the Precursors, the Forerunners had the most advanced technology in known space. The Didact’s armor could, in other words, withstand the negative effects of slip-space and protect himself from being ripped to shreds at the molecular level.
Somewhere along the lines of growing up, we learn that villains were not born villains and have a tragic story which made them that way. Think on the Joker in Batman’s universe. According to the Halo story, there comes a point where the Librarian beseeches the Didact to activate the Array. She asks knowing full well she’ll be claimed by the Ring. And if he doesn’t, the Didact risks the parasite’s survival and the end of all Forerunners. His crisis begs a very tough question: what would you do if the person you loved the most would die when you pulled the trigger, not to mention your entire race? Would you override how much you love someone in order to preserve your race and the integrity of your culture’s beliefs?
The Greeks touched on this very question with The Aeneid. The classic poem’s main character Aeneas must leave a possible loving relationship with Dido in order to follow through with his destiny. Dido is forgoing her own life for the Mantle. Has the Didact’s hesitation to uphold the ‘mantle’ turned him into a villain? Is it possible he feels any guilt? The answer to that question should help us better understand the Didact’s true intentions if he is to make a return.
Or maybe I’m completely wrong and the Nazi’s come back from beyond the grave and John has to kill Space Hitler.
For more on Halo 4‘s campaign analysis, click here.
Up Next: The Future of the Sangheili and the Arbiter?