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List of pop culture references in Halo

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AJ - Comparison

Sergeant Apone from Aliens, and Halo's Sergeant Johnson.

This is a list of pop culture references in the Halo series. For a list of references to the Halo series made by other works, see here.

Internet MemesEdit

  • In Halo: Reach, if you have Sergeant Stacker's Firefight voice, play Firefight and equip a Spartan Laser. Sometimes he will say "Imma firin' my laser!", a reference to the "SHOOP DA WHOOP" meme.
  • A Troll Face Easter Egg can be seen on the bulletin board in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.
  • In Halo: Reach, there is an achievement called "Cool File, Bro", which is likely a reference to the "Cool story, bro" meme.


  • With the IWHBYD skull activated, marines will sometimes shout "THIS IS SPARTA," a reference to a line in the movie and a popular internet meme.


Main article: List of references to Aliens in Halo


  • The four mandibles of the Sangheili are similar to those of the Predator.
  • The cloaking device of the Predator is similar to active camouflage.
  • The energy sword, the signature melee weapon of the Sangheili, is the counterpart of the Predator's wrist blades.
  • The opening of Predator could resemble the cutscene from the level, "The Flood" introducing Fire Team Charlie. Both teams are being dropped off into jungle-like terrain by helicopter. In this case, a Pelican.
  • The Elites' honor system in battle resembles the Predator's.
  • Both the Elites and the Predators have worked with humanity to eliminate a greater threat. The Sangheili worked with humanity against the Flood and the Covenant Loyalists, and the Predators worked with humans against the Xenomorphs and the Black Super Predators.
  • The concept art of the short story Headhunters shows a Spartan holding up the head of an Elite similar to when a Predator is seen holding up the head of a dead Xenomorph.

Battlestar GalacticaEdit

  • Marines can be heard saying 'Frak', the trademark expletive of the show.

Lord of the RingsEdit

  • Glamdring (also known as the Sword of Turgon) was the sword carried by Gandalf throughout the war of the ring. Glamdring is elvish for Foe Hammer. Foe Hammer was the nickname of Pelican Transport Echo-419's pilot Carol Rawley.
  • The word "Fëanáro" in the fictional language of Quenya, from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings universe, means "Spirit of Fire". This could be from where the name for the UNSC Spirit of Fire was derived.
  • In the Halo 3 level Halo, when the player hits 343 Guilty Spark with a second Spartan Laser shot, the Monitor has a chance of yelling "My precious!!!".[citation needed]
    • This is a reference to Gollum, a creature "consumed by the power of the Ring", who refers to said Ring as his "precious". Both Gollum and 343 Guilty Spark possess similar backstories. Gollum (or Sméagol, as he was then called) came into possession of the Ring of Power in TA 2463, long (almost 500 years) before the present day events of the books, during which time he was driven mad, similar to how 343 Guilty Spark was appointed care-taker of Installation 04 100,000 years before the events of Halo: CE, and Rampancy drove him to near-insanity during that time. Both lost possession of their respective rings early in their respective stories (Gollum's was stolen by Bilbo Baggins, 343's destroyed by John-117). They each later switched to the protagonists' side, where they helped them reach their objective. Finally, both betrayed the protagonists to save their respective rings (Installation 04B for 343) from destruction, and ultimate were defeated and their rings destroyed.

The Dukes of HazzardEdit

  • With the IWHBYD skull on, Marines or Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck will yell out the horn from the General Lee when you do something insane in the Warthog.
  • Sometimes Gunnery Sergeant Marcus Stacker will say "Drive her like she's got a trunk-full-of-moonshine!" when ordered out of the driver's seat of a Warthog, a reference to the Dukes' family moonshine smuggling business.

Firefly and SerenityEdit

  • Nathan Fillion (Malcom Reynolds), Adam Baldwin (Jayne Cobb), and Alan Tudyk (Hoban 'Wash' Washburn) provided voice acting for Halo 3 and more prominently, Halo 3: ODST. All Firefly references are done by these actors.
  • There are multiple references in Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST in the form of random Marine quotes: "Say 'hi' to Vera!" and "Gee, it'd be nice if we brought some grenades, wouldn't it?!" The former is a reference to Jayne Cobb's favorite weapon from the series, while the latter is a direct quote from Jayne. Both are said by Marines voiced by Adam Baldwin, who played Jayne Cobb in both Firefly and Serenity.
  • Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds, a character in Halo 3, is voiced by Nathan Fillion. Fillion also played a character named Reynolds in Firefly and Serenity. Fillion returns in Halo 3: ODST as Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck, whose character greatly resembles that of Captain Reynolds both characteristically and visually, as Fillion's likeness was used to model Buck.
  • Three of the main characters in Halo 3: ODST are voiced by Firefly actors. Buck by Nathan Fillion, Dutch by Adam Baldwin and Mickey by Alan Tudyk. Their in-game dialogue contains multiple references to Firefly.
  • Mickey in Halo 3: ODST has previously served as a pilot, and serves as an unofficial pilot for the squad during the events of the game. Alan Tudyk's character in Firefly, Hoban "Wash" Washburn, is also a pilot.
  • In multiple accounts, Marines can be heard saying "Gorram" or "Gorramit" in response to various things, and at one point a Marine (possibly one of the aforementioned actors) can be heard saying "Shiny, the Chief is here." Some of this may only be able to be heard with the IWHBYD Skull activated.
  • After a big kill Dutch may say "Dear diary, today I met some aliens and showed them why not to mess with the ODSTs!" This is a reference to a scene in Firefly where Jayne, while digging through Simon's belongings, came across his diary and read part of it, mockingly remarking "Dear diary, today I was pompous and my sister was crazy... Today, we were kidnapped by hill-folk, never to be seen again. It was the best day ever!"
  • In the Halo 5: Guardians level Evacuation, a chapter of the level is titled "Sudden but Inevitable Beytrayal", which starts after Fireteam Osiris eliminates the first wave of enemies. This line is a reference to Hoban "Wash" Washburn's (played by Alan Tudyk) famous line from Firefly's first episode: "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!"


  • When picking up a Spartan Laser, Dutch will occasionally shout "Don't nobody cross my stream!". This is a reference to the proton beams, which would theoretically annihilate the entire universe if crossed with one another.
  • In Halo: Reach, Army Troopers will occasionally shout "Ghost is busted!" when the player destroys a Ghost.

Green DayEdit


Iron ManEdit

  • The JFO helmet in Halo: Reach is almost certainly a reference to the popular Marvel comics character Iron Man, as the faceplate bears close resemblance to his helmet.

John KeatsEdit

  • While held in the clutches of the Gravemind, Cortana criticizes her captor's poetry, saying he is no Keats.[2]

Lord of the FliesEdit

  • Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel written by William Golding in 1954. It discusses how culture created by man fails and how man shall always turn to barbarism, using parallels of a group of school-boys stuck on a deserted island who unsuccessfully try to govern themselves and consequently have disastrous results, leading to many acts of horrible barbarism and deaths. Senior Chief Petty Officer Franklin Mendez and Kurt-051 had both read the book some time before beginning the training of the first generation of SPARTAN-III soldiers in 2531. Mendez had feared that the results of training hundreds of child soldiers would be similarly disastrous, but Kurt disagreed, believing he would provide the leadership to make the SPARTAN-IIIs successful.[3]

Man in the Iron MaskEdit

  • The Man in the Iron Mask is a novel written by Alexander Dumas in 1850. Catherine Halsey has read the novel. Remembering the terror she had felt as the noble prisoner had been encased in a metal shell, Halsey wondered how John-117 coped with the constant enclosure of his suit.[4]


  • The video game series "Metroid" has many similarities to Halo. They both revolve around a character in armor who rarely speaks. The enemy is a collection of hostile alien species who wish to release artifacts from a dead race. The title also lends the name to artifacts that could potentially end all life in the universe. At the end of both first games, there is a countdown sequence where the protagonist must escape before the area detonates.


  • In the fourteenth of the Mayday Texts, the Operator says "If they're all dead and I alone am left to tell the tale", which bears similarity to "And I only am escaped alone to tell thee" from Job 1:17, included in the epilogue of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, in the similar context of the main character having just survived a shipwreck.

Prince of PersiaEdit

  • In the Axon shipwrecked, Kamal Zaman says "People think time is a river that flows in one direction, but time is an ocean." This is a reference to "Some say time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction, but I have seen the face of time and I can tell you they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm." said by the Prince in Prince of Persia. Both characters are voiced by Yuri Lowenthal.

Queen (Band)Edit

  • Rarely in Halo: Combat Evolved, or while having the IWHBYD skull on in Halo 3, some Grunts will say "We are the champions," which is the name of a song by Queen. This only happens a few times in gameplay.

Run Silent, Run DeepEdit

  • The nineteenth of the Mayday Texts includes the quote "got to run silent. got to run deep", which alludes to Edward L. Beach's Run Silent, Run Deep, a WWII submarine story based on Moby-Dick.

William ShakespeareEdit

  • Alas, Poor Yorick references a line from Hamlet.
  • The third Mayday Text says, "Those are pearls that were her eyes: / Nothing of her that doth fade / But doth suffer a sea-change / Into something rich and strange". This is nearly a direct quote from William Shakespeare's The Tempest, but with "her" substituted for "his".
  • She goes on to say "Eight legs (I feel them walking on me) and how many voices-three? Five? Eight? - I am become a most delicate monster indeed.", another reference to The Tempest. The original quote is "Four legs and two voices: a most delicate monster!"
  • Directly after, she makes another reference to The Tempest with "What a brave new world-sand and darkness, sand and loneliness, sand and emptiness, sand and the spider-what a brave new world, which hath such monsters in it." The original quote is "O brave new world / That has such people in't."
  • In the fifth Mayday Text, she makes one more The Tempest reference with "All lost! To prayers, to prayers! All lost!" and "What, must our mouths be cold?" from the first scene of the play, during a shipwreck.
  • The description for Oddball in Halo: Reach says, "It's like Hamlet, but with guns"

Starship TroopersEdit

  • The Orbital Drop Shock Troopers' method of combat insertion onto a planet via pods launched by an orbiting spaceship is inspired by the novel Starship Troopers.
  • The Bullfrogs are likely also inspired by Starship Troopers, as the soldiers in the novel made extensive use of jetpacks as well.
  • Paul wrote a news report that mentioned Starship Troopers 3. He mentioned that the "special effects back then were so awful, at least when it’s Shakespeare or Shatner there’s a story to follow."

Star TrekEdit

  • The ideology and logic of the Flood as described by the Gravemind in the Terminals is remarkably similar to the goal of the Borg. Both desire to 'perfect' every species they encounter.
  • In the Second Battle of Harvest, the presence of 40 UNSC ships-of-the-line against one overwhelmingly powerful enemy ship strikes a remarkable resemblance to the Star Trek-Universe's Battle of Wolf 359. At Wolf-359 the Federation's (or Humanity's) numerically superior fleet of 40 starships took on a single Borg Cube. The results, however, were completely opposite to those of the Halo Universe. The Federation lost 39 of its 40 vessels, and the Borg Cube left the battle without so much as a scratch on its hull and moved on towards Earth.[5]
  • Captain Picard later attempted to distract and lure the Borg Cube away from Earth by maneuvering the USS 1701-D. Similarly, the UNSC Pillar of Autumn made a blind jump in an attempt to lure the Covenant away from Reach and their possible discovery of Earth.
  • The Forerunners left behind various structures scattered over many planets and systems, many of which are inaccessible or defended by automated systems such as Sentinels. An ancient civilization known as the Iconians left an archeological marvel across their home planet, but left an advanced automated defense network across the entire planet that destroyed any incoming vessels.
  • Captain Kirk and his crew encounter an advanced humanoid race that, while technologically superior to mankind, prefers the incorporation of classical designs that bear a striking resemblance to Ancient Grecian and Roman architecture. The humanoids also elected to dress in togas and other articles used in Ancient Rome. It would appear that the Forerunners had similar preferences, as evidenced by Sanctuary and the various structures seen in the levels Delta Halo and Regret.
  • Forerunners bear many similarities to the Preservers.
  • Separatist Phantoms are dressed in a medium green color scheme that the Romulan Fleet also adorns upon its ships.
  • Spock is a cat seen in Halo Wars that may take its name from Mr. Spock from the Original Series.
  • Data Pads look much like the Padds of Star Trek.
  • One of the potential names for customized Loadouts in Halo: Reach is "Redshirt," in reference to the oft-killed extras of Star Trek.

Star WarsEdit

  • The Wraith slightly resembles the Armored Assault Tank (AAT) from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
  • The scene in Halo: Combat Evolved where the Halo is shown and when the camera pans out to show the Pillar of Autumn looks a lot like the opening scene of each Star Wars Episode.
  • The Halo 2 Scarab has a similar design to the Star Wars AT-AT walker and also serves similar purposes as uber units.
  • Sometimes, with the IWHBYD skull activated, a Marine can be heard saying "They remind me of Wookiees from Star Wars." They say this after they kill a Brute.
  • Truth's personality in Halo 3 maybe based upon Emperor Palpatine, who used a political shakeup to legalize an extermination of the Jedi Order (humanity/the Sangheili) and transformed the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire (Truth eventually became the autocrat of the Covenant Empire which he had schemed for years since he took office).
  • The Elephant bears a resemblance to the Jawa Sandcrawlers.
  • Buck's line "look at the size of that thing!" in regards to the assault carrier is a quote from Wedge Antilles, commenting on the size of the Death Star. This also occurs when High Charity and its fleet appear above the temple where the Master Chief kills the Prophet of Regret in Halo 2. It is said by a marine.
  • With IWHBYD active on the level New Alexandria, one of the gunners on the Falcon the player pilots says "It's like shooting swamp-rats back home". This is a reference to Luke Skywalker saying he used to bullseye Womp rats back home.
  • The Halo: Reach achievement An Elegant Weapon... is a reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi's description of the lightsaber in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. He says, "It is an elegant weapon from a more civilized age." Also in reach, Cortana says the same quote when picking up a Spartan laser on occasion.
  • Installation 04B is similar in concept to the 2nd Death Star from Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi.


  • The Halo 3 multiplayer level The Pit was referred to as "Cyberdyne" during its production. The name references Cyberdyne Systems of the Terminator series.

Treasure of the Sierra MadreEdit

  • In Halo Wars, Marines will occasionally shout "We don't need no stinking Spartans!", a reference to famous misquote "We don't need no stinking badges!" In reality, the line is a combination of "We don't need no badges" and "I ain't got to show you no stinking badges!"

Wilhelm ScreamEdit

Ring WorldEdit

  • The concept of a halo ring bears a striking resemblance to Larry Niven's Ring World. Even the concept of engineers and so forth


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