I don't understand Halo 5's legendary ending:

In the legendary ending, we see a Halo, which seems to be next to some planet other than Earth, starts glowing alongside the back.

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What does it mean, exactly? Does this mean Cortana has gained control over that installation, and that it's under her control, or is it just another Halo that has reactivated?

In the regular, we learn that Exuberant Witness forces Cortana and her Guardian out of Genesis, but we learned that Cortana and her Guardian have already found where the Infinity's location is and has started to wreak havoc among the planet where the Infinity is. Since that planet is nowhere near the planet depicted in the legendary ending, how is it that Cortana can gain control of that ring as well?

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    This question is in a good state now; let's not edit the spoiler markup specifically anymore please. – Invader Skoodge Oct 31 '15 at 1:25

At the end of Halo 5, the UNSC Infinity begins doing random jumps in order to escape Cortana. This parallels the beginning of Halo 1, where the Pillar of Autumn performs a random jump in order to escape covenant on Reach.

In Halo 1, the random jump leads the Pillar to discover the first Halo Ring. It's very likely that the parallel between Halo 1 and Halo 5 of "random jumps" to escape a threat has led the Infinity to discover a new Halo ring in the same way that the Autumn did.

In any case, the point of the legendary ending is that there are more Halo installations than were previously realized.

  • Hmm, never realized the complete parallel between this and Halo 1's beginning, sounds really plausible, I like it :) – childe Oct 28 '15 at 4:45
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    Except that the random jump in Halo 1 wasn't random - Cortana was told to make a random jump (as part of the Cole Protocol), but instead of a truly random jump she chose coordinates she/Halsey had deciphered from a Forerunner artefact on Reach - which lead to the first Halo ring – rjohnston Nov 1 '15 at 14:19
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    Wrong. Cortana's random jump (as mentioned above) wasn't random. She chose those co-ordinates. Also its a well established fact that there were due to be 12 Halos. The war cut things short and only 7 were created. This can be seen as early as Halo 3 in the Arks control room. – lorless Feb 11 '16 at 16:11

It's pretty simple if you ask me. If you remember the story the consoles tell in halo 4, they show that the universe was once populated with both humans, forerunners, and other species the same. Only the humans were somewhat locked in battle with the forerunners against the flood. Humans had developed technology similar to what they have no in the halo universe. But the forerunners had to cleanse the universe of the flood in order to be able to save it. So they collected the DNA of ever species and put them in the same ships we see the master chief on at the end of halo 2. And once the halos were activated they wiped out everything including thenforerunners. Hence why in halo 4 the Knights actually had human remnants in them from a human civilization from before. So the ships dropped the DNA on their respective planets and civilizations evolved all over again. At the end when you see the new halo ring you here cortana humming the same thing the monitor from the first halo hums when floating around. And of course Laskys scene does parallel the first halo. From what I gather with everything cortana said and how she talks. And the fact that she said she would wake the chief in 10,000 years, can only mean cortana is now recreating exactly what happened the first time around only this time instead of the flood being the problem trying to consume the universe she believes humanity is. And it looks like she plans to cleanse the universe of all humanity and start fresh. I also have a small theory which I'm sure is extremely not true but does make you wander...... maybe the monitor from the first halo actually gained control of cortana, and that's why she's humming the same song when you see the halo ring at the end. But most likely its just paralleling the first halo.


The Halo Rings with known locations prior to Halo 5 are Installation 00 (the Ark), Installation 03 (where the Composer is found in Halo 4), Installation 04 (Halo 1 & a replacement in Halo 3 that is also destroyed), Installation 05 (Halo 2 aka Delta Halo), and Installation 07 (quarantined by UNSC and Sanghelios forces in Hunters in the Dark) There are still three Halo Rings with unknown locations, any one of these could be the one Cortana took over.

She is connected to the Domain and has current access to human intelligence systems, so finding a forerunner facility isn't hard. Also, now that the Domain is active she can freely move between systems throughout the galaxy. She is not limited to one physical location at one time anymore.

  • Good point! That explains how she was still able to speak to Lasky on the Infinity even while the ship was on route to another planet via slipspace – childe Oct 28 '15 at 17:46

To understand the ending Halo 5 Guardians requires including not only the stories and characters from previous games, but also Greg Bear's Forerunner Saga trilogy. Halo: Primordium ends with a revived 343 Guilty Spark having come to the conclusion that the Librarian is still alive in 2557, so it takes over the USNC Rubicon, puts the crew to sleep, and disappears with the ship. This leads me to one simple conclusion, but also a second more speculative answer:

1) the humming we hear is indeed 343 Guilty Spark, he has found a Halo installation (possibly where the Librarian is hidden) and he is happily settling in and reactivating it. A teaser for Halo 6, or a future Halo 5.X update, extra campaign.

2) my more speculative answer is that we are witnessing Cortana arriving at the ring, but the humming is a huge clue that the projection we have been watching is either not Cortan; but 343 masquerading as Cortana; or in some fashion similar to the Gravemind mind games, 343 has succeeded in corrupting Cortana. A wild idea, but consider what monitors are: very advanced AIs. 343 always thought he was smarter and more responsible than humans. Cortana's proposal that all AIs join her to protect and police the galaxy by assuming the Mantle is identical to 343's mission on installation 04, just blown up to galaxy level.


All of the rings can be activated as well as fired, from the arc.

I believe the better question is: "Why is Cortana whistling the same tune that 343 Guilty Spark was? "

  • That's the halo theme. – Rapitor Oct 29 '15 at 14:44

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