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HW2 Trailer - Subtle Cinematography (Theories)

OP Legobrick1000

After re-watching the Halo Wars 2 trailer multiple times, something struck me that I remembered in the back of my head, some deep-seeded cinematography knowledge - the direction these two forces are walking, matters.

For those unaware, experiments have found that a character walking from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen instills a positive feeling on the audience. Meanwhile, a character walking from the right side of the screen to the left side of the screen often instills a negative feeling on the audience. (Some believe this is due to our culture; where clocks go from left to right, we think of time as moving from left to right, you're reading this from left to right right now, basically our culture makes heavy use of left to right in various ways. An example is in the Star Wars prequels. In the major battles, the Clone Army was depicted as going from right to left on the screen, as a subconscious indication that they would later become the 'evil' Empire.

Why do I bring this up? Well, if you take a look at the Halo Wars 2 trailer again, Captain Cutter and the Spirit of Fire's forces, from the VERY BEGINNING, are moving from right to left - negative. Meanwhile, Brute Commander Atriox and the Banished are moving from left to right - positive. This could mean nothing; I mean, this cinematography isn't practiced by EVERYONE - and it may just be incidental. But, in the original Halo Wars cinematics, also made by Blur, the Covenant are shown coming from right to left as they eradicate the UNSC forces coming from the left to the right - so maybe it IS intentional?

While under the assumption that it is intentional, I've crafted a theory for both sides that can reinforce this subtle signage. So let's begin. (Note that anything that has been confirmed will be linked directly to the source. If it isn't linked, assume it's speculation.)

- The Spirit of Fire / UNSC

Where Halo Wars left off
The Spirit of Fire, after the end of Halo Wars, was stranded in deep-space without a trans-light drive, meaning the trip home would be incredibly long. It's crew was put into cryogenic storage, to wait out the long journey.

How they arrive at the Ark - My Theory
Because Halo Wars 2 has been confirmed to take place after Halo 5: Guardians, that means Cortana and the Created have already risen and taken control. So when the Spirit of Fire returns to Earth, crew still in cryogenic storage, Cortana discovers the Spirit of Fire, and the long-rampant AI on board(Serina), who she 'cures' of rampancy, and coerces her to dispose of the Spirit of Fire - by sending it through Earth's portal, to the Ark. In an ironic turn of events, the Spirit of Fire, and its' crew, has been banished.

Halo Wars 2 - My Theory
Halo Wars 2 begins with the Spirit of Fire's crew awakening at the Ark, with no idea of where they are, how they got there, or the end of the Human-Covenant war. On the Ark, they encounter the Covenant - or at least what they knew as the Covenant. The Spirit of Fire's crew, unaware of who these Covenant are, or the end of the war, enacts a quick preemptive strike; they attack first, causing the spark that ignites the battles we will see in Halo Wars 2. (This is why they are displayed moving from right to left, negatively. They were the attackers, they were not attacking in self-defense, despite believing they were.)

Why right to left; signifying negative - My Theories
Firstly, They attacked the Banished first(believing it to be in self defense), they essentially 'threw the first punch'. Secondly, they're unintentionally "invading" Banished territory, unprovoked.



- The Banished / Ex-Covenant

What we know

All we know about the Banished is this:
- Led by a Brute leader named Atriox
- Existed since before the Great Schism in Halo 2
- After the war, they accumulate technology, soldiers, and power from the shattered Covenant
- Elites and Brutes fight alongside each-other, along with Grunts, Jackals, and Hunters
- In their possession, are Engineers (Find some gameplay, I can't find a source, but I have played the beta and they were there)
- They end up at the Ark AFTER 2554 (There is no mention or sign of them in Hunters in the Dark, implying they arrived later)

Now, what we don't know is what their goals are, why they are known as the Banished, or why they are at the Ark. But, as usual, we can speculate, make theories, and come up with ideas for all of these.

Against the Covenant - even before the Great Schism
Because they were against the Covenant even before the Great Schism, this implies that they either offended the Covenant in some way, and they were "against" the Covenant in self-defense, or they were strongly against one or several of the Covenant's practices. They were not known as the Banished at this time. I won't speculate beyond that because of how many possibilities there are.

"Banished" - My Theory
Next, "Banished", and why they are at the Ark. This could have two possible meanings - either they were banished from the Covenant themselves, which sparked the initial conflicts between them(which would be unlikely; what could they do that's worth banishing, but not executing as heretics?), or they were banished by Cortana and the Created, for 'whatever reason', to the Ark. This would mean that both the Banished and the Spirit of Fire were essentially victims of the same thing, forced into this circumstance, causing the battles of Halo Wars 2. (This would fit the "Know your enemy" tagline, because of the similarities between these two being literally 'banished'.) I'm going with the latter theory, about the Created banishing them.

The Ark - My Theory
Now, stranded on the Ark, Atriox and the Banished attempt to build up their forces to get back at the Created that stranded them there. They consider this their base, their territory. Suddenly, this human ship arrives, and it's crew attacks first - The UNSC being known as destroying the Covenant in the first place. In self-defense, the Banished fight back; they believe their territory is being invaded by this vengeful species attempting to eliminate the remains of the Covenant.

Why left to right, signifying positive - My Theory
First, the Banished were against the Covenant. That's a good sign. Second, the Banished, based on my other theories, are building up their forces on the Ark in order to defeat the Created. Third, they are defending themselves and their territory.

Conclusion
So basically, the Spirit of Fire unwittingly attacks the Banished first due to ignorance about the end of the war, attacking a major force that could have stood a chance against the Created(this is why they move from right to left, implying negativity), and the Banished fight back in defense, trying to save themselves and their forces to fight the Created threat. (this is why they move from left to right, implying positivity), unaware that the Spirit of Fire's attack was attempted self-defense. In this way, "Know your enemy" has multiple meanings - knowing why your enemy is fighting you, and knowing who the true enemy of both of you is - the Created. (This doesn't imply that the Created will be present in the game, at all. Only that both of these forces were effected by the Created).

So, what do you think about this 'series-of-theories'? I will freely admit I don't know everything about Halo, but I think I know enough to theorize with confidence.
This is a very good and interesting read, when I saw where you were going I immediately though of the Clone Wars thing. I hope this is true, it would be very interesting to see.
This is a very good and interesting read, when I saw where you were going I immediately though of the Clone Wars thing. I hope this is true, it would be very interesting to see.
I agree. A lot of people dislike the Created, so they probably don't like the idea of them having any effect on this game - but why else would they specifically mention the game takes place after Halo 5?
Interesting theory, Rhas. That was a delight to read.
This is very interesting. Would be amazing if this was the actual case as I'm sure 343 won't be as creative as this.
I don't really see it. Why has Atriox been portrayed as the villain saying things like "Yes....RUN! Little Demons" and "Hunt them down" in previous trailers? Why have him wearing the armour of dead humans as trophies unless they wanted to play up his history as a killer of humans and Spartans.

What you are suggesting would require a huge miscommunication on the part of the Banished and the UNSC which I just don't think would make a lot of sense.

Also, we already have an allied "good" Covenant faction in the Swords of Sanghelios. We need excuses to be fighting the Covenant races in these games; not allying with them. So I think the Banished are just straight up antagonists. I am not reading them being a misunderstood faction.

They've also said that they left the Covenant for "very different reasons" to humanity. This suggests that those reasons are not sympathetic.

Plus a lot of promo stuff is setting Atriox up as the main villain and this big bad. Unless that's all misdirection hes probably going to be an enemy.

Just because they oppose the Created doesn't mean their interests align with the UNSC. The old Covenant fought the Flood but their interests didn't align with humanity. I think you're losing sight of that slightly.
I don't really see it. Why has Atriox been portrayed as the villain saying things like "Yes....RUN! Little Demons" and "Hunt them down" in previous trailers? Why have him wearing the armour of dead humans as trophies unless they wanted to play up his history as a killer of humans and Spartans.

What you are suggesting would require a huge miscommunication on the part of the Banished and the UNSC which I just don't think would make a lot of sense.

Also, we already have an allied "good" Covenant faction in the Swords of Sanghelios. We need excuses to be fighting the Covenant races in these games; not allying with them. So I think the Banished are just straight up antagonists. I am not reading them being a misunderstood faction.

They've also said that they left the Covenant for "very different reasons" to humanity. This suggests that those reasons are not sympathetic.

Plus a lot of promo stuff is setting Atriox up as the main villain and this big bad. Unless that's all misdirection hes probably going to be an enemy.

Just because they oppose the Created doesn't mean their interests align with the UNSC. The old Covenant fought the Flood but their interests didn't align with humanity. I think you're losing sight of that slightly.
You don't have to be a straight up villain in order to hate the person attacking you. You can say things like "Yes.....RUN! Little Demons" if you get the upper-hand after THEY attack you. You can be antagonistic without being evil. We can still have this evil villain who acts as our enemy in the game, without them being a bad person. Nor did I ever say their interests line up with the UNSC. Just that they could be preparing to oppose the Created, which currently, is a threat to every living being in the galaxy.
An excellent theory, and I would like to see the UNSC as being in the wrong in-game, as opposed to limiting it to the EU.