Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

Birth of a Spartan is a live-action short made exclusively for the launch of Halo: Reach.[1] The trailer was directed by Noam Murro.[1]

The short showcases the SPARTAN-IIIs, members of a project to create economical and expendable super soldiers and successors of the SPARTAN-IIs. It depicts the transformation of Carter-A259 from a teen trainee to a superhuman SPARTAN warrior.[1]

Production notes[]

The muted colors and the lighting in the short were intentional design choices, to make the world feel realistic despite the sci-fi setting. The shot of the surface of Onyx was shot at a coal mine, although the truck driving through the scene was filmed in a different location and added to the shot digitally, as the filming team could not get the truck into the coal mine. The cliff and the monolithic UNSC base were both added digitally, and the base's design was inspired by architecture in Prague. The Pelican dropship, as well as the model of the UNSC Hopeful, were re-textured higher-resolution models of Halo: Reach in-game assets. The planet Onyx seen from the windows is a matte painting.[2]

The operating room featured real, working Mitsubishi robot arms with moving drills. It was noted that the team spent some time rehearsing the use of the robotic arms, and that the needle that is shown going into Carter's arm was retractable. The camera that follows Carter during the augmentations, as well as the view screens in the operating room, were digitally inserted. The shots of the augmentation liquid going through tubes in Carter’s skin and the resulting vein effect were achieved digitally, with the interior of the vein being a matte painting. The needle was actually a live action element that was punctured through "some fleshy material." The final overhead shot of Carter waking up also involved matte painting work of the environment beyond the bed.[2]


  • The short seems to contain a slight oversight: the Spartan-IIIs were unconscious during the augmentation procedure, while Carter appears to be awake. In addition, the drugs were slowly administered, (at least in the case of Gamma Company), over the course of a week, rather than what appears to be a few minutes.[3] However, the exact time that elapses during the short is unclear.
  • There is a significant time-lapse between Carter's augmentation and his inspection of his Mark V Mjolnir Armor, as Carter was a member of the first class of SPARTAN-IIIs, Alpha Company, who underwent the augmentation process in 2536. Carter served with the rest of Alpha Company, wearing SPI armor until he was pulled out, sometime before Operation: PROMETHEUS, and given his MJOLNIR. This discrepancy was likely intentional, however, as an effort to promote Halo: Reach and Carter as the leader of Noble Team.
  • The Director's Cut of Birth of a Spartan showcases extended scenes that are absent from the finalised commercial version.[4] Significant changes from the finalised version include alternate scenes of Carter waking up after his augmentation procedure, the appearance of UNSC officer De Guzman, and inclusion of UH-144 Falcons.
  • There is also an Extended Cut, which is different from both the commercial version and the Director's Cut. This version includes scenes of the trainee Spartan-IIIs being inspected by CPO Mendez on Onyx.