While you might not know Jen Taylor, you definitely know Jen Taylor's voice. On top of voicing Cortana on Halo for a casual 20-plus years, Taylor has also been the voice of Princess Peach, Toad, and Toadette—so, yeah, when Peach giddily celebrates after taking you out with a blue shell in Mario Kart, it's Taylor.
"It’s a different beast, right? It’s the same character-slightly tweaked; very similar, slightly different," Taylor said of playing Cortana in this series. "For me, I’m doing motion capture with actors who are doing a live performance, so it’s slightly different—a modality within a modality. I have a lot more technical things that I have to worry about than everybody else does, so it’s fun; it’s another different step for me which I’m really enjoying doing."
In the same way that Taylor has spent over 20 years playing Cortana, she has also gotten to know the character in a way that no one else possibly could. And with that knowledge comes a massive insight into what Cortana both would and wouldn't actually do in the series.
"I definitely had some moments where I said, 'Can we try it this way?' and 'Can I maybe say this instead?' and Steve was very receptive to that," Taylor said. "I definitely feel like I’ve been able to have some input for sure. I mean, not with the plot, but with smaller things, absolutely."
In one of her largest roles to date, Yerin Ha is taking on the starring role of Kwan Ha—a daring rebel who finds herself working alongside Master Chief (Pablo Schreiber) as a new addition to the Halo universe. Given that fans have been waiting years for a series like this, Ha was a newcomer in two senses: in joining this massive franchise and for Kwan herself in the.
In watching the series, Ha's character always feels within reach (pun absolutely intended)—it's easy to tell that Ha's entire heart is in the performance as she blends innate humanity and emotion with a devoted rebel spirit in Kwan. While there were definitely high expectations from fans for the show to succeed, Ha powered past that and focused on the importance of being in the present.
"You know what’s funny, I actually tried to not think about that too much. I did my part in doing the research and reading everything I could about Halo and the universe with my respect and homage to that," Ha said. "There was a point where I kind of had to let it go and focus on Kwan, this new character—what her purpose is, what she’s trying to say, why she’s there in the story, why she’s there with Master Chief—and kind of really focused on that."