Shadow and Bone season 2: All we know so far

Shadow and Bone season 2: All we know so far

Praise the Saints! Shadow and Bone season 2’s release date has finally be announced: March 16, 2023. The countdown to the popular fantasy Netflix series’ return, then, is officially on.

As well as its launch date reveal, one of the best Netflix shows also received an official plot synopsis and some first-look images. You can check all of those out and more below, including the Netflix series’ new and returning cast members, its first teaser trailer, other plot details, and what the future holds for the TV adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s book series. Add

Shadow and Bone season 2 will arrive on Netflix on March 16, 2023. The next entry in the young adult (YA) fantasy show received its official launch date on December 8, with Netflix confirming as much on its various social media channels:

The Twitter thread also contains a number of first-look images for the show’s next outing, which tease more about what we can expect from its story and the journeys of our heroes (and villains). You can read more about these particular points in the cast and plot sections further down this page.

Netflix debuted the first teaser for Shadow and Bone season 2 in September at Tudum 2022.

The 40-second trailer doesn’t reveal too much, but it hints at how the second season will build on the fantasy-based action and drama from its predecessor. We see the Crows joining forces with Jack Wolfe’s Wylan Hendriks, Jessie Mei Li’s Alina Starkov meeting and talking with Patrick Gibson’s Nikolai Lantsov, multiple explosions, chase sequences, and Ben Barnes’ General Kirigan asking someone what they’ll give up to pursue their wildest ambitions. Sounds and looks ominous.

Here’s Shadow and Bone season 2’s confirmed character list so far:

  • Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov 
  • Ben Barnes as General Kirigan/the Darkling 
  • Archie Renaux as Malyen “Mal” Oretsov 
  • Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker 
  • Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa 
  • Kit Young as Jesper Fahey 
  • Danielle Gilligan as Nina Zenik 
  • Calahan Skogman as Matthias Helvar 
  • Sujaya Dasgupta as Zoya Nazyalensky 
  • Julian Kostov as Fedyor
  • Patrick Gibson as Nikolai Lantsov
  • Jack Wolfe as Wylan Hendriks
  • Lewis Tan as Tolya Yul-Battar
  • Anna Leong Brophy as Tamar Kir-Battar
  • Daisy Head as Genya Safin
  • Zoe Wanamaker as Baghra

Shadow and Bone’s protagonists Alina Starkov and Mal Oretsov will return, while the antagonistic General Kirigan – who survived the attack in the Shadow Fold in the season 1 finale – is also back.

Kaz Brekker, Jesper Fahey, and Inej Ghafa are part of the line-up, too. As in the Six of Crows duology, the Dregs’ story (more on this below) will line up with Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar, so we should see that trio link up with the latter duo. This was hinted at in season 1’s final episode, so expect them to join forces like they do in the novels. Danielle Gilligan and Calahan Skogman have been bumped up to series regulars (per TVLine(opens in new tab)), so this storyline seems like a given at this point.

As for characters who have also made the leap from Bardugo’s book series to the screen adaptation, Wylan Hendriks (whose surname has been changed from ‘Van Eck’ for the TV show) is one of four new confirmed cast members.

In the novels, Wylan Van Eck joins the Crows as their demolitions expert for a job inside Fjerdan’s military stronghold known as the Ice Court. Jack Wolfe (Inside No. 9, The Witcher) will portray Wylan in Shadow and Bone season 2.

Another fan favorite character set to appear in season 2 is Nikolai Lantsov, who’ll be portrayed by Patrick Gibson (Tolkien, The Darkest Minds). In the books, Nikolai adopts the pseudonym Sturmhond and leads a pirate armada that aids the war effort for the kingdom of Ravka. Nikolai becomes a key ally of Alina and Mal’s, so his arrival in Netflix’s adaptation will be vital if the show’s next entry follows Siege and Storm’s storyline.

The final two newcomers – for now, at least – are twin siblings Tolya Yul-Battar and Tamar Kir-Battar, who’ll be played by Lewis Tan (Mortal Kombat) and Anna Leong Brophy (Traces) respectively.

In the source material, Tolya is a Grisha Heartrender and a member of Sturmhond’s pirate crew. Meanwhile, Tamar is also a Heartrender, but an ex-member of Sturmhond’s team. The pair also meet up with Zoya in one of Shadow and Bone’s spin-off novels, so expect elements of this book’s story to be incorporated into this season’s plot.

There had been no word on whether Zoe Wanamaker’s Baghra would return. However, an Instagram post from lead actress Jessie Mei Li(opens in new tab), which contains an image of Wanamaker, all but confirms her return. Daisy Head, who played the Queen’s tailor in season 1, has also been upgraded to a series regular for the show’s second installment (per TVLine(opens in new tab)).

Lastly, a Witcher fansite called Redanian Intelligence(opens in new tab) claims five other actors have been added to the season 2 cast:

  • Tommy Rodger (Goodbye Christopher Robin) as Jordie Rietveld, Kaz’s older brother
  • Rhoda Ofori-Attah (Sex Education, Top Boy) as Aditi Hilli, Jesper’s mom
  • Newcomer Alistair Nwachukwu as Adrik Zhaban, Nadia’s brother
  • Newcomer Tumi Fani-Kayode as Miradi, an original character
  • Seamus O’Hara (The Northman) as Halsov, an original character

Spoilers follow for Shadow and Bone season 1 and the book series.

Here’s the season 2 plot synopsis, courtesy of a Netflix press release: “Alina Starkov is on the run. A beacon of hope to some and a suspected traitor to others, she’s determined to bring down the Shadow Fold and save Ravka from ruin. 

“But General Kirigan has returned to finish what he started. Backed by a terrifying new army of seemingly indestructible shadow monsters and fearsome new Grisha recruits, Kirigan is more dangerous than ever. To stand a fighting chance against him, Alina and Mal rally their own powerful new allies and begin a continent-spanning journey to find two mythical creatures that will amplify her powers. 

“Back in Ketterdam, the Crows must forge new alliances as they contend with old rivals and even older grudges that threaten not only their place in the Barrel, but their very lives. When a chance at a deadly heist comes their way, the Crows will once again find themselves on a collision course with the legendary Sun Summoner. 

“Based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone returns for a second season of new friendships, new romance, bigger battles, epic adventures – and a shocking family secret that could shatter everything.”

Shadow and Bone season 2 should follow stories from three novels – Siege and Storm, Six of Crows, and King of Scars. That’s based on those returning cast members, new additions to the show’s line-up, and what the season 1 finale set up.

With Alina and Mal going their separate ways to the Dregs following season 1’s finale, the second season will continue their journey to new lands to keep Alina out of Kirigan’s reach. That means they’re sure to bump into Nikolai at some point, but we’ll discuss him in a bit.

As season 1’s final entry revealed, Kirigan has tapped further into his Darkling powers and created new Fold creatures known as Nichevo’ya. Unlike the Volcra that inhabit the Fold, these monsters can move in broad daylight. Expect them to be difficult adversaries for Alina and Mal to overcome.

Ben Barnes, who portrays Kirigan/the Darkling in Netflix’s TV show, has expressed interest in seeing season 2 “steer off” from the story in the books (per Collider) in a similar vein to how season 1 incorporated the Dregs into Alina’s arc. It’s unclear if Shadow and Bone season 2 will do so, but it would be an intriguing twist on the source material if it did. It would give established fans some new content to enjoy, although some may not agree with the show’s potential divergence from the novels if it does.

In another Collider interview, Barnes elaborated on what we’ll see from General Kirigan’s season 2 character arc, saying: “What I was championing was finding the humanity. He’s quite emblematic of something dark and evil in the books, after the first one, so my mission was to make sure that he’s a real person, suffering the things he’s suffering and committing the sins that he’s committing.

“There are the real world ramifications of those things, and the relationships, how they’re made and how they’re broken, whether they can be salvaged, what new connections he can forge to help him along his journey, whilst also representing and not shying away from the fact that this is the villain. Which parts of what he does are comprehensible? Which parts can you not condone?”

Meanwhile, The Dregs could team up with Nina in a bid to free Matthias, before the quintet and Wylan join forces to rescue someone known as Bo Yul-Bayur. The Shu chemist and Fabrikator is the inventor of a drug that Grisha find addictive but, in Siege and Storm, he’s being held captive at Fjerda’s Ice Court. Shadow and Bone season 1 has already utilized the Ice Court’s ‘impossible heist’ angle for the Dregs’ initial mission to try and capture Alina, though, so it’s possible that Bo’s rescue may be altered for the TV series.

Based on season 2’s rumored supporting characters, we might see flashbacks to Kaz’s and Jesper’s childhoods. It’s that or we’ll get a glimpse into their familial lifestyle with the arrival of Jordie and Aditi.

Another adapted story from a Grishaverse novel – King of Scars – could follow Zoya. A supporting character in the Grisha trilogy, Zoya’s character is given a more prominent role in Bardugo’s second duology, so elements from these books may be incorporated into the TV show, which Bardugo previously teased to Entertainment Weekly.

In the season 1 finale, Zoya was seen heading to Novokribrisk – the city that Kirigan destroys with the Fold – to search for her family. Should she find that they’ve perished, Zoya could team up with the Dregs again, as she does in the Six of Crows’ Crooked Kingdom novel. Alternatively, given that Tamar and Tolya cross paths with Zoya in King of Scars, and their inclusion in Shadow and Bone season 2, we may see a team up between this trio.

The addition of Nikolai Lantsov will see his arc from Siege and Storm form a key component of season 2. In the novels, Lantsov – the former king of Ravka, who masquerades as a pirate leader known as Sturmhond – is hired by the Darkling to transport him through the True Sea in order to track down a mythical dragon known as the Rusalye. Lantsov, though, eventually teams up with Alina and Mal, and fights alongside the duo to stop the Darkling from exacting his master plan. Expect Lantsov’s origin story and some of his Siege and Storm character arc to be used in the TV show.

Additionally, we’ll be visiting a new, fan favorite location in Shadow and Bone season 2: Hellgate, a Kerch prison located on the small island of Terrenjel outside of Ketterdam. Fans should be able to put two and two together to work out why it will be. But, to help you figure it out, actors Danielle Gilligan and Calahan Skogman have described Hellgate as a place where you “can’t unsee” things. Make of that what you will.

Finally, we know how many episodes there’ll be. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Shadow and Bone will return with another eight-episode run – good news for those of us who enjoyed what was on offer last time around.

That’ll depend on whether fans tune into Shadow and Bone season 2. While it doesn’t have a following as big as other major fantasy franchises, the Grishaverse still has a sizable and passionate audience. Its fanbase is likely to have grown, too, with Netflix’s adaptation introduces the series to new audiences.

There are numerous directions that Netflix’s adaptation of the Grishaverse can go in as well. Like the streamer’s growing Witcher-Verse, Shadow and Bone could potentially lead to spin-offs that delve into the wider universe and be based on Bardugo’s sizable source material. Whether it’s expanding on a pre-existing short story or creating entirely new content, Netflix can go in all manner of directions in and around Shadow and Bone season 2. 

If it continues to be a success, future seasons and spin-offs may be put into production by Netflix, too. The streaming giant has shown it’ll put faith in projects that deliver huge viewing figures, so Shadow and Bone’s future may be bright if its second season draws in a large audience again.

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