'Shadow & Bone' Stars Explain Why the LGBTQ+ Romance Works and Why It's Important

Shadow and Bone Season 2 delves into one of the franchise's most beloved romances, and it was plotted out with the utmost care. In a press event ahead of the season premiere, the cast talked about the making of Season 2 including all the fan-favorite relationships. Fair warning: there are spoilers for Shadow and Bone Season 2 ahead!

At long last, Season 2 of Netflix's Shadow and Bone introduces Wylan – a beloved character from Six of Crows missing from the first season of the adaptation. Wylan is played by Jack Wolfe, an English actor who identifies as queer and has a lot to say about what LGBTQ+ representation meant to him growing up. In portraying Wylan's romance with Jesper (Kit Young), Wolfe wanted to be sure that viewers could see themselves in the characters and create something authentic that young viewers might not have seen before in mainstream media.

"It just really matters to me that there gets to be a character like Wylan, a character like Jesper who get to engage in what is just a really playful, loving relationship amid complete chaos," Wolfe explained in a press junket last week. "I think in the fantasy genre, you don't often get to see queer characters who also get to be dangerous and badass – and also fall in love... In a world where their sexuality isn't a part of their journey, but their relationship is."

"I think I was just so lucky to be working with someone like Kit, who was so open, so warm, so receptive, and I just loved watching him work and learning and then being a part of that," Wolfe went on. Later in the event, he confirmed that the writers and producers were just as collaborative, and just as interested in portraying something authentic and meaningful in this relationship.

"I had a really kind moment with one of the producers who asked me what I would've liked to have seen on screen when I was a young queer kid – in fantasy, and in terms of the [Wylan/Jesper] relationship," he said. "Things like holding hands or things like walking – you know, our scene would end a certain way and they'd say 'what would that have meant to you?' Or 'would it have meant more if it was less more...?' It was really touching."

There is a lot packed into Shadow and Bone Season 2, but Wylan and Jesper's romance was one of the most anticipated elements of the story and fans will not be disappointed. The new season is streaming now on Netflix. Leigh Bardugo's books are available now in print, digital and audiobook formats.