As much as I love the Halo series--and I do love it, a lot--I have always felt that the Master Chief is a fairly bland, uninteresting character. Hell, he's called "the Master Chief." His name is his rank. And yes, Halo fiction aficionados, I know his real name is John-394 or whatever, so maybe The Master Chief in The Books is a deep and multilayered literary presence (not that I plan on finding out), but The Master Chief in The Game is a suit of armor that talks. Occasionally. I bet he and Gordon Freeman are awesome at parties.
Anyway, it seems that Bungie writing director Joe Staten agrees. In an interview with Newsweek's N'Gai Croal, Staten revealed that in the Halo film adaptation--which currently seems to be lingering in development hell--Master Chief was actually going to be a supporting character, not the protagonist.
"In the final version of the script the Master Chief was certainly absolutely critical to the film, but there were other characters around him which carried most of it, that did most of the emotional heavy lifting," explains Staten. "The Master Chief was there in support of their story." He pointed to the Master Chief's body language (and, presumably, his grunts) as likely being unable to sustain a feature's worth of screen time.
"But wait," you might say; "Staten is only emphasizing the inherent differences between storytelling in the film medium and in video games." You may have a bit of a point there, but you have to read between the lines. I know the truth: Halo is awesome, but the Master Chief is lame.