The bestselling fantasy series Shadow and Bone is coming to Netflix. Based on the Grishaverse series by Leigh Bardugo, the series completed production in Budapest in February. Just before the global pandemic caused television and movie sets alike to shut down. While we still do not have a premiere date for the series, more information was unveiled this week in an interview with Ben Barnes (Westworld, The Punisher) who will play the powerful Darkling.
What Is Shadow and Bone About?
Image via MacMillan
The Shadow and Bone series on Netflix will incorporate storylines from two of Bardugo’s series set in the same world. The series will incorporate both The Grisha trilogy that includes the titular novel and Bardugo’s companion Six of Crows duology. This gives Netflix a total of five books to work with. That is a lot of material to include in one season, so we must assume Netflix plans to continue this series in the future. Below is a synopsis of the series, as reported earlier this year.
In Shadow and Bone, in a world cleaved in two by a massive barrier of perpetual darkness, where unnatural creatures feast on human flesh, a young soldier uncovers a power that might finally unite her country. But as she struggles to hone her power, dangerous forces plot against her. Thugs, thieves, assassins and saints are at war now, and it will take more than magic to survive.
Ben Barnes says that he read all of the books prior to filming the show. According to him: “The reason that books are mixed together is because Shadow and Bone is a little bit more YA feeling, skews a little bit younger, and is more straight up fantasy. It feels a bit like Harry Potter and Anna Karenina, mixed together. But then, Six of Crows is more of a heist things that’s more of a Peaky Blinders and Ocean’s 11 world. So, the tone sits somewhere in the middle, and I think that’s potentially quite exciting.”
What Did We Learn From The Interview With Ben Barnes?
Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons
Ben Barnes will play a character known as The Darkling. This powerful magic user is handsome, charming, and manipulative. His age is unknown, but he definitely has powerful secrets that can shatter the world. He is a bit obsessed with the protagonist Alina, and acts both as love interest and villain.
In an interview with Collider, Barnes describes the Darkling as “probably the most powerful character” he’s ever played: “The general is the commander of an army and he’s also ancient, in terms of age. There’s a power and a steadiness to him, which is different from a lot of the characters that I’ve played. Also, I like to find the opposite. So I look for the childlike qualities in someone who’s ancient or the vulnerabilities in someone who’s powerful.”
The actor also drew from his previous experience playing villains in both Westworld and The Punisher series on Netflix. “In some ways, it feels like the first character in awhile that I feel like I can piece together from different characters that I’ve played. I’m very interested in showing the other sides of people, and I’ve played villains and psychopathic characters where I’ve tried to show their vulnerability and the cracks in the facade.”
The Cast of Shadow and Bone | Image via Netflix
The Shadow and Bone series on Netflix has a showrunner in Eric Heisserer who wrote the 2016 sci-fi film Arrival. Bardugo is also serving as executive producer for series. There is no word on a release date yet, but hopefully Shadow and Bone will be coming soon to alleviate our pandemic boredom.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.