What comes next for Alina and the fight against the Darkling?
Based on two bestselling book series, 'Shadow and Bone' and 'Six of Crows', by author Leigh Bardugo, Netflix’s fantasy series Shadow and Bone became an instant hit when Season 1 premiered on the streaming platform on April 23, 2021. With showrunner Eric Heisserer at the helm, Season 1 had eight episodes, and the show was renewed for eight more in Season 2.
Known as a whole as the Grishaverse, Bardugo’s story takes place in a world based on early 19th century Tsarist Russia, in which around half of the population is Grisha, or people with special abilities to manipulate the elements in various ways, whether to fight, heal, or create. The story centers around a young orphan girl who grows up with only her best friend to depend on. When they both end up in the regular army, her as a mapmaker and him as a tracker, she will do anything to stay with him, even if it means going into the Shadow Fold, a huge expanse of darkness that splits the kingdom in half.
Anyone who goes inside the Shadow Fold risks encountering dangerous, killer creatures, and there appears to be no way to destroy it save a prophesied Grisha known as the Sun Summoner. When the girl finds her best friend in life-threatening danger, an immeasurable power she never even knew she had emerges from her, leading everyone in the kingdom and beyond to believe her to be the savior, destined to destroy the Shadow Fold once and for all.
The season finale of Shadow and Bone left many questions unanswered, setting up some future storylines and hinting at more trouble to come. For fans of the series who are clamoring to find out what’s next, here’s everything we know so far about Shadow and Bone’s upcoming Season 2 on Netflix, including returning cast, new characters, filming dates, and more.
Heisserer shared on his personal Twitter account back in June 2021 that the writing for Season 2 had been completed. Although it was not clear whether or not the show would be renewed, Netflix gave Heisserer and the team the go-ahead to start writing new episodes with the hope that it would happen. Luckily, they were right, and by that time Shadow and Bone was ahead of the game for Season 2.
Other Netflix series with similar production value like The Umbrella Academy and The Witcher have around 18 months or so between seasons, and Shadow & Bone is no different.
Finally, on December 8, 2022, Netflix revealed that Season 2 of Shadow and Bone will release on March 16, 2023.
The whole main cast of Shadow and Bone will return for the second season. This includes Jessie Mei Li (Last Night in Soho) as Alina, the mapmaker-turned-Sun Summoner, Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) as General Kirigan, better known as The Darkling, as well as Archie Renaux (The Greatest Beer Run Ever) as Malyen “Mal” Oretsev, Alina’s best friend and all-around good guy. As for the Crows, they are led by Freddy Carter (Pennyworth) as Kaz Brekker, though his enemies know him by the moniker “Dirtyhands,” Amita Suman (The Sandman) as Inej Ghafa, Kaz’s right-hand woman, also known as “The Wraith” for her spying abilities, and Kit Young (The School for Good and Evil) as Jesper Fahey, Kaz’s best friend and extremely funny sharpshooter. Oh, and don’t worry, Milo the goat will officially be returning for the second round of episodes.
As for characters who will be returning with a bigger presence in Season 2 of Shadow and Bone, there’s Danielle Galligan (The Great) as Nina Zenik, a Grisha Heartrender who falls in love with a Drüskelle, or witch hunter, named Matthias Helvar, played by Calahan Skogman. Skogman will return alongside with three Grishas who work with the Darkling, Sujaya Dasgupta’s (Shantaram) Zoya, Daisy Head’s (Harlots) Genya, and Luke Pasqualino’s (Snowpiercer) David. Also expect to see more of the Darkling’s most loyal Heartrenders, Ivan and Fedyor, played by Simon Sears and Julian Kostov (Leatherface), respectively. Season 2 will also see Galligan, Head, and Skogman be promoted from recurring to series regulars.
New to the cast will be Lewis Tan (Mortal Kombat), Patrick Gibson (The OA), Anna Leong Brophy (Traces), and Jack Wolfe (The Witcher). Continue reading to find out who they'll be playing.
In an early interview with Collider shortly after Season 1’s release, Heisserer commented on the odds of Season 2 covering the famous Ice Court heist of the Crows, before directly announcing that one fan-favorite book character will be joining the crew the second time around:
I would love to talk about what we might get to see from Six of Crows in the second season. 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. We kind of had to yoink our Crows away from that in Season 1 and throw them toward the Fold and beyond for their heist. And I think at least part of next season should be a home game for our team.
Wylan is an expert in demolitions and a key member of the Crows as Kaz expands his empire across Ketterdam and beyond. As the show merges both the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology, fans are likely excited at the possibility of seeing Wylan interact with Alina and other characters who he never crosses paths with in the novels. Wolfe will be playing the role of Wylan.
Another character who is going to appear in Season 2 of Shadow and Bone is the infamous privateer, otherwise known as a pirate, named Sturmhond. He plays a very important role in the book series as both a friend and ally to Alina and Mal as they continue their battle against the Darkling, and he is introduced in the second book, Siege and Storm.
During an interview with Collider, Bardugo specifically mentioned Wylan, Sturmhond, and the privateer’s two trusted crew members, Tolya and Tamar, as who she hopes to see in Season 2. As Bardugo is also an executive producer on the series, she’s bound to have some direct influence on what Season 2 covers in terms of storylines, so it seems like a good assumption that they will all join the series in new episodes. Gibson will play Sturmhund will Tan will play Tolya and Brophy will play Tamar.
Filming for Season 2 began in January 2022 before wrapping on June 6, 2022.
At the end of Shadow and Bone Season 1, Kaz, Inej, and Jesper are arriving back in Ketterdam, with Nina following them off to try to free Matthias from the prison she accidentally puts him in. They leave Alina and Mal behind as the two continue their travels, going into hiding somewhere where the Darkling (hopefully) can’t find them. This all lines up well with the end of Bardugo’s first book, Shadow and Bone, and fans can expect Season 2 to follow the events of the second book, Siege and Storm, pretty closely, at least for Alina, Mal, and the Darkling’s stories.
At the beginning of Siege and Storm, Alina and Mal board a merchant ship that’s crossing the True Sea, a body of water about the same size as all of Ravka or larger, in order to start a new, safe life in Novyi Zem, a country across the way. Fun fact, Novyi Zem is the country where Jesper was born and grew up before traveling to Ketterdam. The trip across the True Sea takes at least a couple of weeks to get there, and by the time the plot catches up with Alina and Mal, they’ve already been living in a small town on the coast of Novyi Zem for two weeks.
With this in mind, there could easily be a small time jump of a month or more for Shadow and Bone going in Season 2. In fact, it would be more surprising if there isn’t, as Kaz and the Crows could use some time to settle in. It would also allow the show to connect Nina and possibly Wylan with the Crows off-screen so that Season 2 doesn’t have to waste too much time introducing them and building up the relationships before something big and exciting can happen (say, like rescuing Matthias?).
In Siege and Storm, Alina and Mal try to live a normal life in Novyi Zem together, but Alina must hide who she is and can’t use her sun summoning powers, which becomes extremely stifling. Meanwhile, the Darkling emerges from the Shadow Fold more powerful than ever. He continues tracking Alina and Mal, still intending to take control of Alina’s powers, and eventually, he finds them in Novyi Zem, capturing the two and bringing them aboard a ship captained by a suave privateer named Sturmhond. The Darkling’s next goal? Find the second amplifier, a mythical sea serpent. Alina and Mal try to fight against the Darkling and do anything they can to keep him from gaining any more power.
When Bardugo was asked by Collider if Season 2 of Shadow and Bone will jump right in to Siege and Storm, the author hinted at the possibility that more than just one book could be covered in a season:
I would prefer not to get too deeply into specifics. But I will say this, which is that there are currently seven novels in the Grishaverse, not counting the short stories. And I don't believe it takes seven seasons to get through that story, because we've created this alternate timeline. But I'm not the showrunner, so we'll see what Eric [Heisserer] has in mind.
If this is also what Heisserer intends to do, then Season 2 would cover at least Siege and Storm, and possibly a bit of Ruin and Rising, the third book in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Although this doesn’t really clear up when the story of Six of Crows and the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, would take place in the Shadow and Bone TV series, it definitely gives fans hope that the Six of Crows plot might be covered sooner rather than later.
Overall, the Crows’ story in Season 2 is a little hard to pin down. For fans of the show who haven’t read the books, you might not know that Season 1 of Shadow and Bone features a whole new story for Kaz and the others. It’s basically a prequel to Six of Crows, the first in the Crows-centered duology by Bardugo, which technically takes place after the events of the Shadow and Bone trilogy.
The plot of Six of Crows isn’t directly tied to Alina’s story in any fixed way, so it’s very possible that Shadow and Bone Season 2 could cover the Crows’ rescue mission and heist of the Ice Court in Fjerda, Matthias’s home country. At the same time, Heisserer might want to save that major story arc for a later season, as there are plans for more, if Netflix will allow it. Heisserer mentioned in his interview with Collider that at least part of Season 2’s story for the Crows will likely take place in Ketterdam, but there’s no further detail yet about what kind of trouble the group will be getting into.
A sneak peek was released for Shadow & Bone Season 2 on September 24, 2022, as part of Netflix's TUDUM event.
A day later another sneak peek was released showing off the new costumes.
Devon Forward is an entertainment writer with bylines at Collider, Looper, Screen Rant, Young Hollywood, and more. Based in New York City, she loves iced coffee, libraries, Guillermo del Toro movies, 90s cartoons, and Florence Pugh.