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Shadow and Bone season 2: release date, plot, cast and what we know so far

Shadow and Bone
(Image credit: Netflix)

Shadow and Bone has been another fantasy TV show success for Netflix. The streamer’s adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels is currently sitting at number two in the US and UK’s top 10 lists, even though it's been out for nearly two weeks, which is unsurprising as we thought it made a great impression

That popularity, coupled with the sheer amount of remaining source material, means there’s more story to tell in Shadow and Bone - so much so that a second season feels inevitable. Netflix hasn’t officially renewed the series yet but it wouldn’t surprise us if the streaming giant does. 

In fact, there are reports that a second season will be greenlit (more on this later). There's even suggestions that Netflix wants at least four more seasons of its latest fantasy hit but, again, you'll have to read on to find out more.

With that in mind, below we're going to go through everything we know about a potential Shadow and Bone season 2 so far. Here, we take a look at its potential release date, plot threads, new and returning cast members and more.

It should be said, spoilers for Shadow and Bone season 1 and Bardugo’s novels follow. Turn back now if you haven’t watched the TV show in its entirety, or you don’t want potential plot points from the books spoiled. 

Shadow and Bone season 2 release date: 2022? 

Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix/David Appleby)

Right now, there’s no official release date for season 2. As we mentioned, Netflix is yet to greenlight a second season, but Bardugo and series showrunner Eric Heisserer are very keen to return to the live-action adaptation of the Grishaverse.

Ahead of season 1’s release, we asked the duo about whether they’d heard from Netflix about the possibility of season 2. Heisserer humorously told us that we should “call Netflix and tell them to let us make it [season 2]”, while Bardugo added: “We don’t know how this will go. We haven’t planned [for it] and it’s really up to viewers and Netflix to see if we can execute [a second season].”

According to What's on Netflix, though, the streamer is preparing to sanction a second season. What's on Netflix is usually pretty reliable with its reports, and has been right with renewals for the likes of Ozark and The Umbrella Academy in the past. This report, then, can be viewed as a strong indication that a follow-up to Shadow and Bone is on the way.

In a separate interview with Collider, Heisserer also revealed that he had been “thinking about this [season 2] for many years”, but hadn’t heard from Netflix regarding another season.

“I have exhaustive plans and would love to activate them,” he said. “If you were to see my home office right now, I do look like one of those crazy people with the murder board where there's just a bunch of maps and charts and string connecting things. The creative team and I are ready to roll if we hear that we get to come back.”

Heisserer’s vision for Shadow and Bone may include more than three seasons, too. While Bardugo’s first novels - Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising - make up the Grisha trilogy, there are plenty of other stories that can be incorporated into future seasons. In total, the Grishaverse contains a trilogy, two duologies, eight short stories and two companion novels, so “there's a lot of ground for us to cover,” as Heisserer tells Collider.

While Shadow and Bone season 2 depends on Netflix, hopefully Heisserer, Bardugo and everyone else would be ready to begin production on season 2 as soon as it’s greenlit. If it goes ahead, a release date would likely follow in late 2022 or early 2023, given the effects-heavy nature of the show.

The prospect of a second season is looking more likely if you take We Got This Covered's (WGTC) latest report into consideration. According to the website's sources, which WGTC claims told them about The Witcher: Blood Origin spin-off series before it was announced, Shadow and Bone could run for five seasons.

Of course, we're still waiting for confirmation on season 2 right now, so you might want to take WGTC's article with a large pinch of salt for now.

Shadow and Bone season 2 cast: which characters are returning? 

Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix/David Appleby)

Again, there’s no confirmation on this front, but all of season 1’s major players would likely be back for a second instalment: 

  • 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 
  • Zoe Wanamaker as Baghra 
  • Sujaya Dasgupta as Zoya Nazyalensky 

As Shadow and Bone’s principal protagonists, Alina and Mal are certain to return, while Kirigan - who we know is still alive after he exited the Shadow Fold in the season finale - will also be back.

Kaz, Jesper and Inej, too, will return. As in the Six of Crows duology, the Dregs’ story (more on this below) will line up with Nina and Matthias’, 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 as they do in the novels.

As for which characters could make the leap from Bardugo’s book series to the live-action TV series, Heisserer revealed (per Collider) that there will be “one hundred percent more Wylan” in season 2 if it’s made. In the novels, Wylan Van Eck joins the Dregs as their demolitions expert for a job inside Fjerdan’s military stronghold known as the Ice Court.

Another character who could appear in season 2 is Nikolai Lantsov. In the books, Nikolai adopts the pseudonym Sturnhound 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 TV show predominantly follows Siege and Storm’s storyline in season 2. Heisserer teased Nikolai’s potential involvement in season 2 during a chat with Inverse, so expect him to be a new cast member if Netflix goes ahead with a second instalment. 

Shadow and Bone season 2 trailer: is there one? 

Shadow and Bone Netflix

(Image credit: DAVID APPLEBY/NETFLIX)

Nope, and there won’t be for some time - assuming a second season gets announced. Once we receive one, though, we’ll update this page.

Shadow and Bone season 2 plot: what will it be? 

Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix)

If season 2 is greenlit, it’ll follow two concurrent stories from Siege and Storm and Six of Crows. With Alina and Mal going their separate ways to the Dregs following season 1’s finale, season 2 should continue their journey to new lands to keep Alina out of Kirigan’s reach.

As season 1’s finale showed, Kirigan has tapped 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 and will prove to be difficult adversaries for Alina and Mal to overcome.

Ben Barnes, who portrays Kirigan/the Darkling in Netflix’s TV show, has expressed his 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. Naturally, it’s unclear if Heisserer and the series’ other producers would want to do so, but it would be an intriguing twist on the source material if they did. It would give established fans some new content again, like season 1 did, but it’ll be a while before we know of concrete plot details.

The Dregs, meanwhile, are likely to team up with Nina in a bid to free Matthias, with the duo - and potentially Wylan - being key to Kaz’s plan to rescue Bo Yul-Bayur, an inventor of a drug that Grisha find addictive, from 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.

Another arc that could be adapted from another Grishaverse duology - King of Scars - is Zoya’s. A supporting character in the Grisha trilogy, Zoya’s character is given a more prominent role in Bardugo’s second duology and elements of the story from these books may be incorporated into the TV show, as Bardugo teased in an interview with 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, or add in parts of her story from the King of Scars book.

Shadow and Bone season 2: does it deserve another outing?

Shadow and Bone

(Image credit: Netflix)

Simply put, yes. While it doesn't have a following as big as other major fantasy series, such as The Witcher, Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, the Grishaverse still has a sizable and passionate audience.

Its fanbase is only set to grow, too, as Netflix's adaptation introduces this world to new audiences. As we mentioned, it's already drawing in viewers on both sides of the Atlantic and, if its viewing figures end up being high enough, Netflix will likely release data to show how much of a success it's been.

There are plenty of directions that Netflix's adaptation of the Grishaverse can go as well. Like the streamer's live-action Witcher series, Shadow and Bone could potentially lead to spin-offs that delve into the wider universe and use Bardugo's source material as a base for this. 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 - a potential second season.

It would be a shame to see Shadow and Bone season 1 be the only entry in this series. There's lots more for established fans and newcomers to see, so we're hopeful that it won't be long before Shadow and Bone season 2 becomes a reality.