After the destruction of New Phoenix, and the death of Cortana, Master Chief must carry on.
Epilogue is the final cutscene for Halo 4. It shows how John is saved after the end of the mission Midnight and how he is moving on after the death of Cortana. The Ur-Didact is also heard giving a speech.
Cut the debris field left of the Mantle's Approach, gradually coming into focus. Next cut to John, floating above Earth, not moving at all. A searchlight shines on John's body, who looks up slowly to see an approaching Pelican.
- Pelican Pilot (COM): "Infinity Actual? Pelican Nine Sixer. We found him."
Establishing shot of the Infinity. Cut to John standing at a window, looking down at Earth below. Thomas Lasky comes from behind.
- Lasky: "Mind if I join you?"
- John-117: (turns to see him) "Of course not, Sir.
- Lasky: "At ease, Chief. It feels kind of odd for you to call me Sir."
The two face out towards Earth.
- Lasky: "Beautiful, isn't she? I don't get to see her often enough. I grew up on New Harmony. Attended Corbulo Military Academy. Never saw Earth in person until I was an adult, but… I still think of her as home."
John says nothing. Lasky breaks their silence.
- Lasky: "You don't talk much, do you? (John does not respond.) Chief, I won't pretend to know how you feel. I've lost people I care about, but… never anything like you're going through."
- John-117: "Our duty, as soldiers, is to protect humanity. Whatever the cost."
- Lasky: "You say that like soldiers and humanity are two different things. Soldiers aren't machines. We're just people."
John turns to look at him, then turns back. He does not respond.
- Lasky: "I'll let you have the deck to yourself."
Lasky walks away. John looks to see him go.
- John-117: "She said that to me once. …about being a machine."
John continues to watch Earth's surface. Cut to black. Credits roll.
Open on the city of New Phoenix. The sound of a Pelican can be heard in the distance.
Cut to within the deserted city. Smoke rises from piles of ashes on the streets and there are many abandoned cars.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "In this hour of victory, we taste only defeat. I ask why?"
Two Pelicans fly over the street.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "We are Forerunners, guardians of all that exists. The roots of the galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil."
The Pelicans land. Several Marines exit troop bay. They secure the area, but slow down to realize the city is empty. One of them examines a pile of ash on the ground with his instruments. He looks up and away in the horizon; the entire city population is dead.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "Our strength is a luminous sun towards which all intelligence blossoms. And the impervious shelter beneath which it has prospered."
Cut to John-117, slowly walking down a hallway in Infinity. Fade to black.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "I stand before you. Accused of the sin of ensuring Forerunner ascendancy. Of attempting to save us from this fate where we are forced to… recede…"
Fade to the SPARTAN-IV armory in Infinity. Numerous personnel and SPARTAN-IVs are seen below.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "Humanity stands as the greatest threat in the galaxy."
Cut to SPARTAN-IVs being armored by machines.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "Refusing to eradicate them is a fool's gambit."
Sarah Palmer and another S-IV, who is running on a treadmill, turn to see John. The running Spartan almost trips in the process.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "We squander eons in the darkness, while they seize our triumphs for their own."
Palmer walks forward to approach John. Cut to John, walking right past her. His size dwarfs hers.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "The Mantle of Responsibility, for all things, belongs to Forerunners alone!"
John walks to one of the machines, prepared to take off his armor for the first time in years. Personnel and S-IVs in the area gather around his station and watch. He steps in it while technicians around him prepare its devices.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "Think of my acts as you will."
The technicians free the bolts to his arm plates, allowing them to fall off.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "But do not doubt the reality."
The machine frees John's chest plate, also allowing it to fall. The chest plate hits the floor with a large thud.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "The reclamation… has already begun."
John's helmet begins to de-bolt as machines begin to lift it off.
- Ur-Didact (voiceover): "And we are hopeless to stop it."
John's helmet is lifted off. On any difficulty below Legendary, beneath the helmet there is only black. On Legendary, however, John's adult face is revealed for the first time. All that can be seen is his brow, cheekbones, and bridge of his nose, while his eyes are shadowed. Cut to black.
- If the game is completed on Legendary, instead of cutting to black when John-117's helmet is removed, John's eyes can be seen for a moment, covered in shadow from the lighting above.
- The Legendary ending plays if the campaign has been completed on Legendary, no matter what the difficulty selected is. But if completed on any other difficulty, besides Legendary, then John's face wouldn't be revealed.
- This is the first proper look at John's face seen in a Halo game.