My son and I finished Halo 3 for the second time over the weekend, once on Normal and once on Heroic.

While it's obvious from the very final scene at the memorial that Master Chief dies at the end, neither of us can figure out how the moments on the Pelican are supposed to signify that.

Are we supposed to assume that the flash at the end is the ring detonating and that Master Chief doesn't survive in the open cargo bay? Is there something else we're missing?

  • thanks for the edit - I just realized that the title was also a spolier...
    – cori
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:44
  • 1
    Some tags, such as plot and boss-fights, imply the presence of spoilers. Please only use spoiler if the question title contains spoilers... which it probably will once I get to improve it.
    – badp
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 17:26

2 Answers 2


If you watch through all the credits, you'll find that there's just one more cutscene with this plot detail:

It's assumed that Master Chief dies by those involved but Master Chief and Cortana survive in the Forward Unto Dawn (half of it, really) with no comms and no power. They're just floating on a space wreck, unable to communicate with the rest of the universe.

There is one more detail that shows up in this cutscene if you finish the game on legendary difficulty, but it doesn't relate to the question asked so I'll leave that for you to find on your own.

Great way to set up another sequel, eh?

  • Well that makes sense - I guess I didn't get the memo that the ship broke apart, so I couldn't figure out how the Arbiter made it back but not MC.
    – cori
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:46
  • Half of the Forward Unto Dawn makes it through the portal with the Arbiter. The other half is where MC and Cortana reside. Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:49
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    @cori Ah, I see what happened here. Be sure to watch all the way through the credits :) Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:52
  • @Nick I believe your answer contains a plot spoiler. +1 if you hide the spoiler. Also, didn't Bungie state that they're done with the Master Chief trilogy?
    – Arkive
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:59
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    @Arkive Yeah, they stated that they'd be done developing Halo games after Reach. But that doesn't mean that Microsoft won't allow some other studio to make new Halo games. Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 17:21

If you've got the time, go back and load the very last checkpoint for the last level on Legendary. Fight your way to the Warthog, drive to the ship, and beat the game. This will unlock the true ending. I'll not post any more to remain 'spoiler free'. :-)

  • I had heard that it was different on Legendary - we're starting Halo 2 now but will probably play the game through on Legendary sometime...
    – cori
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:45
  • AFAIK, the only part that is added on Legendary is after the important storyline bit about Master Chief and Cortana surviving. Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:50
  • It's on youtube, if you don't have the time for a Legendary playthrough.
    – Arkive
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 16:55

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