Only a week away from its premiere, Netflix is continuing to hype Shadow and Bone, another entry into their quickly expanding list of YA fantasy series. The latest promotional pieces include new character photos and a video featurette that goes into detail on how the creatives built a new world for the screen. These materials showcase Shadow and Bone’s elaborate sets, stunning costume design, as well as extensive special effects that are sure to please fans of the book and newcomers alike.
Adapted from Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse trilogy, Shadow and Bone is set in a Russified country called Ravka, a kingdom that is plagued by something called the Shadow Fold. Based on the description in the series and the footage we’ve seen, I’d describe the Shadow Fold as a dark version of the sand storm in Mad Max: Fury Road, but this one is filled with monsters that want to kill and eat you. Lowly soldier and orphan Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) discovers a hidden power that may be the key to destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting Ravka.
In the new featurette, author, executive producer and writer Bardugo gives us an inside look into how they created the Shadow Fold, and also breaks down the geographical locations of Ravka and other nations like the border countries Fjerda and Shu Han. Showrunner Eric Heisserer also joins to offer background on the relationship between Alina and her childhood best friend Mal, played by Archie Renaux. As executive producer Shawn Levy mentions, Shadow and Bone is very character-driven, so the relationship between Alina and Mal is a key factor in the storyline.
We also get a new look at the insanely cool-looking Grisha, an elite army of magicians. There are three orders of the Grisha — the Etherialki, the Materialki and the Corporalki — and the featurette breaks down their abilities as well as showing off their costumes, an important and exciting part of the book. The new photos give us a better look at the other cast and characters, including Ben Barnes as the Darkling and Amita Suman as the Wraith. We also get one of our first looks at Genya, Alina’s friend who gives her a lesson on the Grisha and royalty when she sets off on her new destiny.
Netflix’s aggressive promotional campaign has certainly paid off, as I cannot wait for the new series. The reason behind the success of the Grishaverse book trilogy is certainly Bardugo’s worldbuilding, and it seems as though the creatives were able to bring that same world of wonder and magic to the small screen. Fans of the books may notice certain artistic licenses that have already been taken, but it seems like for the better as they continue to expand Bardugo’s world (such as changing Alina’s backstory to make her half Shu).
Shadow and Bone premieres on Netflix on April 23. Check out the new photos, featurette and synopsis below:
Based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone finds us in a war-torn world where lowly soldier and orphan Alina Starkov has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free. With the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha. But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be one and the same and that nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive. Shadow and Bone is a Netflix production from 21 Laps Entertainment, starring Jessie Mei Li (Alina Starkov), Archie Renaux (Malyen Oretsev), Freddy Carter (Kaz Brekker), Amita Suman (Inej), Kit Young (Jesper Fahey), and Ben Barnes (General Kirigan).