The dawn of Halo 4 is approaching by the day, with Master Chief set to take on the mantle of ‘Reclaimer,’ and unravel even more of the Forerunner relationship with humanity. But before Requiem came the Chief’s first encounter with Thomas Lasky, Commander of the UNSC Infinity, years ago in both men’s youth. That’s where Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn welcomes us into the mythology, and shows how a handful of cadets might end up shaping the fate of the galaxy before all is said and done.

The newest preview introduces viewers to the roster of Hastati Squad, possessing most of the major series cast members. The squad may only be a small sample of the students at Corbula Academy, but within their slim ranks there’s enough dissent and hostility to make for some engaging story lines.

The last Forward Unto Dawn previews gave a brief look at the type of training and personal relationships that series director Stewart Hendler (H+, Sorority Row) and company are eager to explore against the backdrop of a morally ambiguous war. Since the web series was announced, we’ve had a chance to slowly familiarize ourselves with the cast of young cadets that find themselves thrown from the classroom and into the fray.

Now it seems those characters will have ample opportunity to discuss one another’s politics, philosophies and personal resolve, let alone which side of the war they side with. As they are all members of Hastati Squad, expect training simulations to get a bit more than heated.

Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn Squad Trailer

The production set photos showed a wide variety of scenes and interactions without context, but with each new look into the story and cast of Forward Unto Dawn, they’re starting to make sense. With Thomas Lasky (Tom Green) wishing only that the UNSC’s war against colonial insurrectionists be “solved,” not won, and Walter Vickers (Iain Belcher) wanting to put them in their place, some heated words and more are inevitable.

Of course, the moments that fans are looking forward to is when the Master Chief arrives, and who can blame them. But with him comes the Covenant, meaning the issues that once split humanity between haves and have-nots quickly become moot. Having an external threat intent on eradicating every human being, regardless of their political viewpoints on war makes it easier to set differences aside in the name of, you know, existing.

But the conflicting values and motivations don’t just disappear, put on hold until hostilities cease. The ‘Squad’ preview shows that regardless of the uniforms worn by the cadets at Corbula Academy, they are each driven by different ideals (if any) and loyal to entirely different concepts. Not bad for a web series that some expected to be little more than live-action Grunt-slaughtering.

Halo 4 Forward Unto Dawn Hastati Squad

We’ll have to wait and see how the series gets running when its first episode releases on October 5, but for now, the time that the writing duo of Todd and Aaron Helbing (Mortal Kombat Legacy) have put into making a group of teenagers as varied and individual as the real thing looks to be well spent. And with expectations as high as those of Halo fans, executive producers Josh Feldman and Lydia Antonini may be turned to for future projects.

Should the series be well-received, that is. The cast seems more than capable, so hopefully Forward Unto Dawn is just the beginning of 343 Industries‘ ventures into filmmaking.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn will be released via Halo Waypoint and Machinima starting October 5, leading up to the launch of Halo 4 on November 6, 2012.

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