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Netflix released the latest Shadow and Bone trailer this Tuesday and I want to tell you that fans have questions. Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling novels of the same name will be adapted by 21 Laps Entertainment and will be available on Netflix on April 23, 2021.

This Russian-inspired fantasy trilogy has received praise for its unique world building since the first book was published in 2012. The trilogy follows Alina, an orphan in Ravka’s non-magical first army. When monsters attack her ship in the Fold of Shadows, she discovers her powers. Alina is recruited as a sun conjurer for the Grisha, a magical force. Training is difficult, but it is even more difficult to move into politics, being Ravka’s most powerful weapon.

While Bardugo’s first trilogy went down well with fans, much of her cult following came with the first book in the spin-off duo Six of Crows, which was published in 2015. In Ketterdam, the child prodigy Kaz Brekker recruits the Crows. The six unlikely specialists attempt a robbery that offers the payday of their lives and possibly determines the fate of the world. To capitalize on the common universe, the Netflix adaptation uses source material from both series in the Grishaverse.

1. What do we know about the company that makes the show?

Many know 21 Laps Entertainment for its work on Stranger Things. The award-winning series brings together families with an ’80s genre film aesthetic. However, the company also produced the film adaptation of The Darkest Minds, the first book in Alexandra Bracken’s dystopian YA trilogy. Unfortunately, the film’s lackluster performance at the box office didn’t inspire a sequel. While the company has the potential for greatness, we’ll have to wait and see how Shadow and Bone plays out on screen. Judging by the trailer, money was spent on everything from special effects to costumes to actors. I have high expectations for the final product, but it looks like 21 Laps Entertainment will beat them.

2. How will the Six of Crows plot coincide with Shadow and Bone?

The novel Six of Crows appears after the events of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. While the characters from Shadow and Bone appear in Crooked Kingdom and King of Scars, their initial storylines are separate. In the trailer, Kaz says to Inej: “She is real,” which could refer to Alina, the sun conjurer. We know there is a price of a million jugs and someone wants Alina. Later, Alina and Inej both fight in the shadow fold. Perhaps we look forward to seeing Alina play a major role in Crows’ latest scheme. The crows may be on their way to conquer the sun conjuror for a price of a million jugs.

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3. How will the plot change with Alina’s half Shu heritage (Asian)?

This month showrunners Eric Heisserer and Leigh Bardugo shared their thoughts on changing Alina’s legacy. Heisserer decided to make the change to bring more variety to the show and modify Alina’s character arc. Bardugo agreed, noting, “This is something the show can do better than me.” Alina’s character will deal with prejudice and in her role as one of the most important grishas in the country.

Apart from this adjustment, the change counteracts a major problem in the film industry. Studies have shown that Asian actors make up only 1% of all leading roles in Hollywood. Asian actors just aren’t in enough movies. Then many of the roles available are more stereotypical than people. This change improves the character’s backstory while also creating a space for an Asian actress in a leading fantasy role. Jessie Mei Li is a formidable actress whose stage work is exemplary in All About Eve, and I’m delighted to have her running the franchise as Alina.

4. What can we expect from the love triangle Darkling (General Kirigan), Malyen and Alina?

In the Shadow and Bone trilogy, Alina and Malyen have a love affair between friends and lovers, while the Darkling has more of a rich bad boy appeal. The two relationships balance the tension between Alina’s past and future, while leaving enough room for some shocking revelations. The trailer shows both relationships. Malyen (Archie Renaux) protects Alina from the people who want her. The Darkling, referred to as General Kirigan (Ben Barnes) on the show, urges her to take her place as the Kingdom’s Sun Summoner. Although the adaptation changes the Darkling’s name to General Kirigan, making him easier to address, he is still drawn to Alina’s power. I think we can expect the love triangle to evolve over the seasons.

5. How prominent will the tragic backstories of the crows be in the season?

In Six of Crows, readers love the Crows for their strength, talent, and tragic backstories. While the crows are known today as a crime lord, spy, sniper, explosives expert, heart trender, and ex-soldier, their backstories ultimately motivate their involvement in the robbery. We briefly see Inej in aerial silk and Jesper in an amusement arcade in the caravan. However, we haven’t seen any signs that the series will delve further into the backstories of the Crows. The show didn’t cast any child actors for the characters, so flashbacks are unlikely. Although there is still hope that we can hear a warm conversation about their past experiences. I don’t doubt a backstory will be released at some point, but will it be this season? We have to wait and see.

6. Will the costumes meet your Russian Game of Thrones requirements?

It looks like Shadow and Bone struck the right balance between fashion history and fantasy in the costumes. Weather-appropriate clothing makes the characters look ready to fight. The costume design of the crows is in line with the novels and includes Kaz’s signature stick. The kefta (robes worn by the Second Army) also tell us a lot about the conspiracy when they match the books. The Darkling appears in his black kefta with the second army members in red and blue behind him. Alina wears her blue kefta with golden sun flames during her training. Later in the trailer, she appears in the black and gold kefta that the Darkling gives her in the novels. The additional uniforms communicate the backgrounds and functions of the various groups in society. I believe the costumes will meet your Russian Game of Thrones requirements and I look forward to the Grisha cosplay in the future.

7. What about future seasons of Shadow and Bone?

Currently, the showrunner has a 3 season plan for Shadow and Bone. Viewers should expect a tightly planned show with an end goal planned from the start. We could get one season per Shadow and Bone book that has Six of Crows content mixed up throughout. Shadow and Bone could also switch seasons to focus on the original raids in the Six of Crows duology. Whichever way they choose, viewers can rest assured that after the first season is over, more content will be on the way. I can’t wait to see what happens.