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Who is Jen Taylor from Halo TV series? Meet the voice of Cortana

Olivia Olphin March 25, 2022
Paramount+ New Series "HALO" Season 1 Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

The new Halo TV series dropped on Paramount Plus on 24 March 2022 and fans can’t wait to see their favourite video game universe come to life on the small screen. We take a closer look at the career of Halo actor Jen Taylor, the genius behind the voice of fan favourite Cortana, as well as the history of the character.

Jen Taylor has been part of the Halo universe for two decades and will be starring in nine episodes of the new TV series.

Who is Jen Taylor from Paramount’s Halo series?

American actress Jennifer Lee Taylor was born on 17 February 1973 in Seattle, Washington, and is 49 years old. She began lending her voice to the Halo series when she was in her late 20s and she is still a large part of the franchise.

Taylor is most well known for her ongoing voice work on the Halo series as Cortana. She has played this character for over 20 years, from the very first Halo game, to the current Halo TV series on Paramount.

She also lends her voice to the character of Dr. Catherine Halsey and in Halo 4 she even performed the motion capture for the character.

She recently posted a photo of herself alongside her fellow Halo colleagues Pablo Schreiber and Kiki Wolfkill.

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During her time as a voice actor she has also brought to life fan favourites such as Princess Peach, Toad, and Toadette. She has also provided her voice talents to games such as Destiny, Star Wars: The Old Republic and The Lord Of The Rings: War In The North.

Meet fan favourite character Cortana

Warning! Spoilers ahead!

Cortana is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) character in the Halo video game series and new TV series. She was created by using a flash cloned copy of Dr Catherine Halsey’s brain. The pathways of the brain were scanned and copied using a process named Cognitive Impression Modelling.

Cortana was one of two AI’s that were created from the cloned copies of Dr Halsey’s brain, the other being Kalmiya. Cortana spoke her first words on 7 November 2549, which were:

Quando il gioco è finito, il re e il pedone vanno nella stessa scatola.”

This translates to: “When the game is over, the king and the pawn go in the same box.” 

The phrase has a direct link to the real life of scientist Dr Catherine Halsey, as the words were initially spoken by her mother after they played their first game of chess together.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Throughout the Halo games Cortana was an ally and guide to players during gameplay. She has a sort of dry wit and humour that fans have come to love.

Cortana also became the official assistant of the Master Chief, and even sacrificed herself for human kind in Halo 2, and in Halo 4. However, after returning, Cortana wasn’t quite the same. She began to acquire too much knowledge and even had plans to take over the world. She was once a close ally, and quickly became one of the series’ biggest villains.

Taylor discussed her long-term character with The Gamer:

“I’ve been doing it for so long, like 100 years. There are challenging things about the process for sure, but not about her character. Even the sticky parts of her character are things I, Jen Taylor, wouldn’t do or don’t agree with, I can still revel in because I get to play with them. Those are the fun things. Right?”

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Halo TV Series | Trailer 2 | Paramount+

Halo TV Series | Trailer 2 | Paramount+

Fans have some hot takes on the new TV series

Many fans have been waiting years for a live-action adaptation of the Halo games, and the wait is finally over! However, there have been mixed reactions to the new series.

However, some fans think that the series could have had the character of Cortana more central to the storyline.

There are also some fans who feel the series didn’t quite hit the right note.

You can stream the series now on Paramount Plus.

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Olivia Olphin is an English Literature graduate and a film and literature fanatic. She has many years of reviewing experience, recently working as accredited press for the London Film Festival. She has also written widely about culture and sex education, as well as LGBTQ+ and women's issues.