Spoilers for the first season of Shadow and Bone. The best fantasy series are the ones that build entire universes for fans to discover, complete with unique monsters, currencies, and languages. Netflix's highly anticipated fantasy series Shadow and Bone, adapted from Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse books, draws fans into the world of Ravka, a country populated with element-manipulating powers and divided by a region of tangible darkness filled with monsters called the Shadow Fold. The show's first season follows Alina Starkov, a mapmaker who discovers that she has a rare power to summon sunlight, which could destroy the Fold and save countless people. She's quickly ensnared in Ravka's Second Army of people with powers, a.k.a. Grisha, as its commander General Kirigan takes a special interest in her power.
Shadow and Bone has already drawn comparisons to Game of Thrones, and like GoT, it has a wealth of written material to draw from for future seasons. The first season of Shadow and Bone is based off the first book in Bardugo's trilogy of the same name, as well as her Six of Crows duology. If the show is as popular as expected, it's safe to say that Netflix will renew it so that viewers can return to the Grishaverse. That said, it may take a while for a new season to drop. Here's everything we know about a possible second season so far.
Has Shadow and Bone been renewed for a second season?
Though Netflix has yet to officially renew the show, there have been reports that Shadow and Bone has been quietly renewed for another season. The site What's on Netflix reported that their source for the renewal had previously told them about renewal orders for other Netflix shows, including Ozark and Fate: The Winx Saga, before they were officially renewed. According to the source, Netflix will officially announce the renewal within a month of the show's premiere.
But even outside of that report, Shadow and Bone will probably be renewed. The series has been called Netflix's answer to Game of Thrones, and Leigh Bardugo's books have a huge fan base. Plus the show has at least four more Grishaverse books to cover: the second and third books of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology.
“There's a lot for us to cover, of course. It can be far more than three seasons because Leigh's just written so many books and there's a lot of ground for us to cover. I feel like this is going to remain strong and healthy even at four seasons and beyond that, who knows?" showrunner Eric Heisserer told Collider. But he also told TV Line that he "hadn't heard anything yet" about a renewal—which is to be expected at this point, but contradicts previous reports about an early renewal.
In another hint about the show's future, the site We Got This Covered reported that after season one's success, Netflix is planning to continue Shadow and Bone til at least season four, with the potential to expand it even further. According to the site, this info comes from the same source that told We Got This Covered about The Witcher spinoff Blood Origin before it was officially announced. Before the show's premiere, Heisserer told Insider that he had plans for three seasons and sights on season four, but called it "wishful thinking." With these new reports, however, it's possible that we may get an official renewal for multiple seasons, like how Bridgerton was renewed for seasons 3 and 4 before season 2 began filming.
When would season 2 of Shadow and Bone be released?
If and when Shadow and Bone gets renewed, it'll be a long wait for another season. The show's first season was a huge production, filmed in and around Budapest, Hungary, and was logistically complicated even before the global pandemic slowed down most major productions. Also, similar Netflix shows like The Witcher and Umbrella Academy have had gaps of at least 18 months between seasons. Shadow and Bone season 2 would probably see a release date in late 2022 or early 2023.
What would Shadow and Bone season 2 be about?
Spoilers for the end of Shadow and Bone season 1. The show ends with our heroes Alina, Mal, Kaz, Inej, Jesper, and Zoya escaping from the Fold, with the evil General Kirigan presumably left for dead. Later the two groups separate, with Kaz, Inej, and Jesper going to Ketterdam to deal with the enemies who want their heads for failing to capture the Sun Summoner. Alina and Mal sail off to a distant land, where they'll hide from the people hunting them and find allies, and Alina will train her powers until she's strong enough to destroy the Fold. She'll also have to deal with the return of General Kirigan, who didn't die in The Fold and now has power over the darkness and its monsters.
The first season of Shadow and Bone was a faithful adaptation of the book of the same name, so season 2 will likely cover the second book, Siege and Storm. The description from the second book reads: "The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina's magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army. But as the truth of Alina's destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling's deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice–and only she can face the oncoming storm."
Heisserer echoed fans' suspicions in an interview with Insider that the Darkling will be a more powerful foe in season 2, in part due to the Darkling's new allies:
“In the books, these are called Nichevo'ya, which is Ravkan for "nothing" and they will be a level up kind of opponent for Alina, Mal and anybody else who runs into Kirigan, should we be as privileged as to have a second season, because these are things that can walk around in broad daylight. Both of them have a level up going into the second season, but I think Alina knows somewhere in her gut that, even with the stag antler amplifier, she cannot draw enough light to take down the Fold. So we'll have to explore what other options are available for her in the second season.”
Heisserer added: "The creative team and I are ready to roll if we hear that we get to come back." He also revealed that the team would introduce a new character, Wylan: "I can tease this much: That there will be a hundred percent more Wylan. We'd like to introduce him for sure. And we would like to spend at least a little bit more time in Ketterdam." He added to TV Line: "“It would be good to see if Wylan and Kaz already had a relationship and then maybe Weiland is responsible for something in Season 1.”
As for Mal and Alina? "There were definitely moments where a kiss felt warranted...I believe there is there is a lot of kissing in their future, should we ever get the opportunity," he told TV Line.
Could there be a Six of Crows spinoff?
The show Shadow and Bone doesn't just cover the trilogy of Leigh Bardugo books by the same name. It also looped in Bardugo's Six of Crows duology, which follows a group of underground criminals from the same universe called the Dregs. The popular Six of Crows characters Kaz Brekker, Inej Khafa, Jesper Fahey, Nina Zenik, and Matthias Helvar are prominent characters in the Netflix show, and have a storyline that showrunner Heisserer described as "Ocean's Eleven meets Game of Thrones."
The announcement that the show would cover Six of Crows surprised some fans, since the duology takes place two years after the end of the Shadow and Bone trilogy. To include the characters, Bardugo and showrunner Heisserer wrote new prequel stories for Kaz, Inej, and Jesper and to fit them into the Shadow and Bone storyline. "Eric and our writers’ room and our directors have built something entirely new that still somehow stays true to the characters and to the heart of the stories," Bardugo said in a Den of Geek interview.
With the first season of Shadow and Bone serving as an introduction to the Six of Crows characters, fans have been wondering if there's a possibility for the Dregs to get their own show. As of now, it looks like the events from the books may be included in later seasons of Shadow and Bone rather than having their own show. In interviews, Heiserrer has emphasized his approach of giving the Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows crews an equal importance in the show. He told Collider, "I love both for different reasons, and they live in the same world. I think if you just do one you're getting a smaller slice of your audience. I'm essentially making a show where people are gonna be like, 'I don't like this character, but I love these two.' And I'm all right with that."
Still, he also told TV Line: " I think this flagship show could last for four seasons. And then we could figure out if there’s a new space to live in with any of these people, or any part of the world that we want to spend more time with.”
What have the cast and crew said about season 2?
During season one promotions, the cast and crew expressed excitement for future seasons and what's in store for their characters. Bardugo told ELLE that her wish was for all seven Grishaverse books to be adapted. "I want to see the whole story, and I know that’s crazy. I know it’s unlikely. And I don’t think it would take seven seasons to get us through seven books. I would love to see the whole story unspool. I think that would be something special," she said.
Archie Renaux, who plays Mal, told Esquire that he's excited to see where Mal lands in Season 2, as he and Alina explore the world outside Ravka. "I'm really excited for the possibility of our characters exploring new lands in this world, different countries and being around different cultures,” he says. “Hopefully we will get to see that," he said.
Jessie Mei Li, who plays Alina, talked to ELLE about specific scenes from the book that they're looking forward to filming, including the upcoming clashes between Alina and the Darkling after they both build their own armies. They said, "Because Kirigan’s got his shadow soldiers, and then obviously Alina gets her own army, I’d love to see how that manifests and how that affects her."
Li also referenced the future storyline where Alina uses merzost, or the power of creation. In the books, the magical act requires the sacrifice of something essential from the person attempting it, and it drains vitality from that person. It's also likely to produce unexpected and devastating results; the Darkling's use of merzost created the Fold.
"Obviously we’ve seen the effects of merzost in the show on Kirigan and his black veins and everything. And Alina’s hair is meant to turn white. I’d be interested to see how gruesome that is. Maybe it will take much more of a darker tone—that’d be quite cool to explore. In my head when I read the books, I imagined Alina’s hair to turn gray, actually—not in a beautiful, flowing way, like in an ill way. I’d be really interested to see how that would turn out," Li said.
In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Amita Suman, who plays Inej, said that one scene she would love to see in a future season is the first meeting between Inej and the Dregs' leader Kaz. "I remember, when reading that, it was such an exciting thing. There was just such a foreshadowing of their relationship, of, 'I can help you.' From a fan’s point of view, I would love that scene to be there," she said.
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