Netflix has released first-look images for Shadow and Bone, a new eight-episode fantasy series premiering on April 23.
The new photos, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, offer an early glimpse at some of the characters in the series, including Kaz “Dirtyhands” Brekker, portrayed by Freddy Carter, who leads a gang known as the Dregs. Kaz is pictured alongside Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), a dangerous spy operating on behalf of the ragtag crew, and Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), a sharpshooter who keeps one hand on his gun.
In another shot, Inej, also known as The Wraith, is shown delicately gripping onto one of her many knives, which are all named after saints, whilst a further picture captures a warm embrace between Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), the series’ central protagonist, and her childhood best friend, Malyen Oretsev (Archie Renaux), a gifted tracker and military man whose “world unravels after a brutal ambush.”
Ben Barnes is pictured as General Kirigan, aka The Darkling, the power-hungry leader of the Second Army, “the kingdom’s magical military elite of Grisha soldiers.” Elsewhere, lethal Heartrender Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan) and witch hunter Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman) appear to have formed an alliance, though Grishaverse author Leigh Bardugo warns that they’re “on a bit of a collision course.”
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Based on Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone will explore a war-torn world where Alina unleashes an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free. However, with the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina finds herself torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha.
Ultimately, Alina struggles to hone her power, as she discovers 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 in this world that has been cleaved in two by a massive barrier of perpetual darkness.
The Netflix series will combine the stories of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology, both of which exist in the same universe, but take place across different timelines, meaning that fans of the two fantasy book series’ will be able to witness the two stories come together to form a new cohesive narrative, with “certain characters meeting certain other characters” from the two timelines.
“Shadow and Bone takes place in a very different kind of fantasy world,” Bardugo explained. “Think Imperial Russia, not Medieval England, repeating rifles instead of broadswords. It’s a story about the people who have been told how much they don’t matter proving how much they do. And it’s been incredible to see that story take shape on such an epic scale, the battles, the magic, but also the relationships between the characters.”
Speaking about the first-look images for the forthcoming Netflix adaptation, Bardugo added: “These photos give just a tiny hint at what’s in store—a mapmaker with an extraordinary gift, the people who want to use her, the tracker who will do anything to protect her, and the team of thugs and thieves who are about to cause some very big trouble for everyone involved.”
“These photos offer a glimpse into the expansive, textured world Leigh created in her books,” showrunner Eric Heisserer continued. “We worked tirelessly to craft a lived-in feel for fictional lands like Ketterdam and Ravka, with invented languages, uniforms, currency, and artistic choices from set design to costuming. You’re immersed in the Grishaverse when you read, and it’s our hope that both new and existing fans have that same feeling when they watch the show.”
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Shadow and Bone will debut on Netflix on April 23. The series follows in the footsteps of the streamer’s wildly popular adaptation of The Witcher books, with The Witcher Season 2 also expected to premiere later this year. If you can’t wait any longer, then you might want to read the first page of a script from the upcoming season or take a look at what we might be able to expect from the storylines this time.