Jan. 27 was already an exciting morning for variety news as Halsey revealed her pregnancy on social media and sneak peeks to the next “Wandavision” episode were aired. At the exact same time, Leigh Bardguo, author of popular young adult fantasy series “Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows,” as well as the talented actors taking part in the television show posted pictures of the new character posters and first-look images from the set.
If you haven’t heard, Netflix first announced that it would begin adapting these two incredibly popular series into a television show back in January 2019, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, and fans have been actively anticipating it ever since. Casting began April 2019, and in October 2019, a promotional picture of the cast was posted, sending fans into a frenzy. It was the first time we were able to see our Alina Starkov, our Kaz Brekker and our Darkling.
Before we discuss what we know about the show and what we have seen so far, let’s begin by discussing the plot, for those who may not know. In 2012, Bardugo released the first book of her “Shadow and Bone” series, a story where, as summarized by Goodreads, soldier and orphan Alina Starkov discovers a power she holds which may save her country from looming enemies. Ravka, Alina’s home, is a nation clutched in the hands of war, with the first army and second army defending it, the first army consisting of non-Grisha soldiers and the second army made up of Grisha soldiers. The Grisha are those with very special powers, which will hopefully be enough to win against the darkness overwhelming the kingdom.
In 2015, Bardugo opened another story within this magical world with the “Six of Crows” duology. Taking place after the events of “Shadow and Bone,” “Six of Crows” follows the Dregs, a gang in Ketterdam, Kerch, a nation south of Ravka. Led by infamous criminal Kaz Brekker, he puts together a team to pull off the biggest scheme yet: stealing from the Ice Cout. It seems like everything that could possibly go wrong does, but there seems to be nothing that Kaz can’t scheme his way out of.
Now that we’re all caught up, let’s go back to the promotional poster. For the first time since the reveal that the show was going to be created, fans were finally able to lay eyes upon the six main characters. Alina Starkov, Malyen “Mal” Oretsev and The Darkling of “Shadow and Bone” as well as Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa and Jesper Fahey of “Six of Crows” were cast with actors that seemed absolutely perfect for the roles. So many fans have commented across platforms that Freddy Carter was exactly how they envisioned Kaz Brekker in their minds or that Ben Barnes as The Darkling was the best casting for the actor yet. What I appreciate is that the actors aren’t absolutely wildly popular, actors that seem to be cast in everything Hollywood creates nowadays (you know the type). Besides our main six, we also have actors for beloved characters Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar, as well as Genya Safin and Zoya Nazyalensky.
With this one picture, six actors standing on a staircase, so many theories and so much excitement for the show came from fans as they anxiously awaited the next piece of news. At the end of 2019, filming started and wrapped up just shy of lockdown beginning in 2020. Though the majority of filming was done, much post-production was delayed because of COVID-19, but that didn’t stop the show from carrying on. In October 2020, Bardugo and screenwriter Eric Heisserer virtually attended a Comic Con panel where they shared a piece from the show’s score while sharing many details and, in December 2020, Netflix uploaded the teaser trailer on YouTube.
This teaser trailer is quite a teaser, only a few seconds long and showing a beautiful, majestic stag in the woods with a crow flying around overhead. It is a teaser that evokes much mystery and beauty, leaving fans only wanting more, wondering what could be coming with this show as the calendar flipped to 2021.
Well, Bardugo has started off 2021 strong, her and her actors posting their character posters online. The character posters follow the trend with the six main characters, and they are absolutely stunning! The details in the costume design are exquisite, from the pattern stitched on Kaz’s gloves to the clasps of The Darkling’s coat and the knives that Inej carries. The shirts are stunningly patterned, not simply one color, but a mixture of shades that compliment the atmosphere of the show exquisitely. The characters could’ve adorned plain white shirts or black shirts beneath their detailed jackets, but the shirts are just as thorough in their textures and prints as the accessories.
If you kept looking, though, not only were character posters revealed, but also first-look images from the sets of a variety of episodes. For the “Shadow and Bone” characters, we see an exciting head-on shot of Alina, clearly from the pilot episode, as well as a sweet picture of her embracing her friend Mal. We even get a still that seems to be Mal in battle and another of The Darkling watching something — or someone — in a dark room. For “Six of Crows,” we have an incredible shot of the original gang together, Kaz, Inej and Jesper standing side by side, besides a separate picture of Inej clutching one of her knives, seated as she watches something closely. Finally, we have a still of Nina and Matthias in the snow, which we can only assume is from the end of the season as Matthias is only rumored to appear by the end. Much can be theorized from these seven photos, and they prove just how stunning this show is going to be when it airs.
So what do we technically know about this show outside of promotions? Well, Netflix will be airing it on April 23, and it will have a total of eight episodes, whose titles can already be read on the Wikipedia page. The entire show was filmed in Budapest, Hungary, which leads fans to think that all eight episodes will be featured in Ravka, saving Ketterdam for hopefully a second season down the road.
There is also a little bit known about the plot, which is awfully exciting. As we stated earlier, the events of “Six of Crows” takes place long after “Shadow and Bone,” so Bardugo and the writers took it upon themselves to craft fans an entirely new story. To have the characters intertwine with one another, they have announced that it will be very different from the books, but in the best way. As Bardugo has said herself, it will be like “a high budget fanfiction.” To incorporate the crows, the writers took the stories of “Shadow and Bone” with the characters of “Six of Crows” to create a prequel story for the crows to live through. While I’m sure some fans were disappointed that the events of the books wouldn’t be taking place on screen, I am actually quite excited to see our crows take on a new heist. Since the duology was only focused on one main plot, it will be interesting and cool to see how these characters interact with a different goal in mind.
With so much unveiled regarding visuals, we can be sure that “Shadow and Bone” will be beautiful and intriguing, a magical tale mixed with darkness and schemes that no one will want to miss out on once it hits Netflix on April 23. Just remember, for those avid fans of the book, no matter what happens in these eight episodes, no mourners, no funerals.