The cast and creators of Netflix's Shadow and Bone made their first public appearance together on Friday with a new sneak peek at the series. Author Leigh Bardugo joined the people turning her book into a Netflix original series at the virtual IGN Fan Fest, where fans got to see a trailer and hear them talk about the series. The new fantasy epic appears to be everything fans were hoping for.
Shadow and Bone stars Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Archie Renaux, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman and Kit Young were all in the virtual panel with Bardugo on Friday, along with the series' showrunner and executive producer Eric Heisserer. They kicked off the event with a trailer, followed by a discussion and Q&A. Right off the bat, fans commented that the trailer was "magnificent," and the commentary of the panel was exactly what they wanted to hear.
The panelists emphasized how hard they had worked to make the show accessible for both new fans and existing ones. Shadow and Bone is based on two separate book series set in the same "Grishaverse" fantasy world — the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. Bardugo published these stories between 2012 and 2016, and have gone on to become a worldwide sensation. Now, the stories will be open to a whole new realm of fans via Netflix.
At the same time, old fans will find new nuances in the stories by seeing how they are connected in the TV show. In Bardugo's books, the events of the Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows are more or less separate, but the TV show will bring them together. Heisserer said that they came together pretty seamlessly, saying: "Leigh had already done some of that work for us."
Shadow and Bone is the latest entry in the growing genre of fantasy adaptations in a series format. Following the success of Game of Thrones, many studios and streaming services are looking for fan-favorite books to adapt, including Netflix itself with other shows like The Witcher and Locke and Key. Shadow and Bone is one of the most highly-anticipated stories in that slate, and it boasts some old-school fantasy cred through Barnes, who played Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia movies.
Barnes compared his Shadow and Bone character, General Kirigan to Caspian in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com last year. He said: "I just don't like to think of any of [my roles] as heroes or villains. Like, I saw Caspian as somebody who was finding his way, and sort of trying to claw his way out of this spider's web and figure out where he belongs and what he has to offer the world. I think that he's sort of a reluctant hero — very, very reluctant to do anything about anything which, obviously, you can perceive as maybe a weakness."
"And with Shadow and Bone, again, I don't see [Kirigan] as a villain at all, really," Barnes went on. "I see him as someone who has an agenda — and I think like all the best antagonistic characters, he's just somebody with a very passionate agenda. And someone who really believes in something."
Shadow and Bone Season 1 consists of eight episodes, covering parts of the books Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, both of which are available now in print, digital and audiobook formats. It premieres on Netflix on Friday, April 23.