'Shadow and Bone' Author Gave 'Full Blessing' for Changes From Books in Netflix Adaptation

Shadow and Bone Season 2 is a unique adaptation as it diverges greatly from the books it is based on, yet its author is heavily involved in the creation of the show. During a press event ahead of the season premiere, the Shadow and Bone cast spoke highly of author Leigh Bardugo and her work to make the show as great as possible. They said that Bardugo was very open to collaboration, even if it sometimes changed the material from her books.

Actor Patrick Gibson joins the main cast of Shadow and Bone this season, and when asked by PopCulture.com he confirmed that Bardugo was on set in Europe throughout the filming process. He recalled meeting her on the day that one climactic scene was filmed and sharing her excitement at seeing the book brought to life, saying: "It's just so incredible to see. You know, we're all such big fans of her work and then to see her see the world come to life is kind of like a magical moment for everyone."

Meanwhile, actors Lewis Tan and Anna Leong Brophy are playing the twins Tamar Kir-Bataar and Tolya Yul-Bataar, and they said that Bardugo was helpful in their exercises to further develop and embody their characters. Brophy recalled sitting down with Tan and Gibson and "unraveling" their characters' history together since it was left a bit ambiguous in the books. Tan said: "Yeah, that's right! I remember that now – where we met, how we met... [It] truthfully kind of helps you create that bond much faster."

Speaking Bardugo's response to this kind of private exposition development, Brophy said: "She really believes in the casting, believes in us, believes in the show. So, it felt very freeing actually to have her blessing to sort of go and run with it and see what happens. You know, she wasn't precious about the characters."

"I agree, just getting her seal of approval was like enough to give you the confidence to kind of run with it and make it your own," added Tan. "Shout out to Leigh who just – we all love her. We're all fans. She's amazing."

The other stars seemed to hold a similar perspective on changes in the adaptation as well – especially as this season will add material from more books than Season 1. Star Jessie Mei Li who plays Alina Starkov said: "I think Alina's character is just quite different in the screenplay versus the books, and so much of that comes from our writers."

On the other hand, star Ben Barnes said he selected a few lines of dialogue from the books that he was not willing to part with. Referring to his sinister character The Darkling, he said: "The fact that he was going to be sort of made mortal and humanized, but also have this kind of like toxic quality to him and abusiveness to him was going to be what was highlighted on the show, which I thought was interesting. And then in terms of Leigh, I had my list of 10 lines that he says in the books, which I found sort of more poetic, iconic kind of lines that I had highlighted when I was reading them that I just wanted to sandwich into the scenes somewhere. So I was just like, going through my little checklist."

The cast is as eager about Shadow and Bone Season 2 as the fans, which is a tall order judging by the chatter on social media. The new season premieres on Thursday, March 16 on Netflix. Bardugo's books are available now in print, digital and audiobook formats.