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Shadow and Bone season 2: everything we know

Jessie Mei Li and Ben Barnes as Alina Starkov and General Kirigan in Shadow and Bone season 1
(Image credit: Netflix)

Shadow and Bone season 2 seems like a long way away at this point. The show's first season aired back in April, so it might be a while before we see the Grishaverse return to our screens.

Netflix's adaptation of Leigh Bardugo's book series has gone down well with fans – it went down a treat with us, too – so it's unsurprising that we're getting a follow-up series at some point in the future.

While we wait for more concrete news on when Shadow and Bone season 2 is set to launch, what do we know about its next instalment? Recently, executive producer Shawn Levy (Stranger Things, Free Guy) provided an update on how season 2's development was progressing. You'll need to read on to find out more though.

Below, we'll also tell you everything we know about the show's second season so far – but beware spoilers for Shadow and Bone season 1, and possible future plot details, based on what we know of the novels, too.

Release date: A follow-up season wasn't confirmed until after the show aired, so we'll be waiting a long time for Shadow and Bone season 2. Late 2022 is our earliest prediction for when it'll drop, but Netflix hasn't said anything official either way. 

Story: We're expecting Shadow and Bone season 2 to adapt two concurrently running stories from Bardugo's books Siege and Storm and Six of Crows. Scroll down for much more on that.

Cast: We expect Jessica Mei Li and Ben Barnes to lead the returning actors in Shadow and Bone season 2, but an official cast list won't be revealed until we're closer to the time.

Shadow and Bone season 2 release date

Shadow and Bone season 2 release date: 2022? 

The Crows – Jesper, Inej and Kaz – as seen in Shadow and Bone season 1

(Image credit: Netflix/David Appleby)

There’s no official release date for season 2 just yet.

However, during Netflix Geeked Week – the streamer's first-ever Comic Con-esque virtual event – the cast of Shadow and Bone revealed that a second season was forthcoming. Check out the official announcement below: 

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In a thread on his personal Twitter account, showrunner Eric Heisserer also revealed that he had written a lot of (if not all) of the next entry's scripts already.

Heisserer seemingly finished penning season 2 around April time (before a second season was picked up by Netflix). If those pages don't require further treatments, filming may begin sooner than we previously thought, which may mean Shadow and Bone returns to our screens sometime in 2022.

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That appears more likely, too, given Bardugo's latest Instagram post. The author told her followers that she'd be taking a social media break over the next few months to work on, among other things, Shadow and Bone season 2.

Hopefully, much of pre-production will be sorted before the year is out so that principal photography can begin in earnest.

Since Heisserer and Bardugo embarked on their social media exiles, there's been little in the way of updates on season 2. That is, until executive producer Shawn Levy told Collider that the show would be "heading into production shortly" after Heisserer and Bardugo had finished penning the scripts.

Hopefully, it won't be long before Netflix confirms that the cameras are rolling on season 2. If that's soon, we might get Shadow and Bone's second season earlier than we anticipated.

Shadow and Bone season 2 cast

Shadow and Bone season 2 cast: which characters are returning? 

Alina Starkov and General Kirigan during Shadow and Bone season 1

(Image credit: Netflix/David Appleby)

Again, there’s no confirmation on this front, but all of season 1’s major players should return:

  • Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov 
  • Ben Barnes as General Kirigan/the Darkling 
  • Archie Renaux as Malyen “Mal” Oretsov 
  • Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker 
  • Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa 
  • Kit Young as Jesper Fahey 
  • Danielle Gilligan as Nina Zenik 
  • Calahan Skogman as Matthias Helvar 
  • Zoe Wanamaker as Baghra 
  • Sujaya Dasgupta as Zoya Nazyalensky 

As Shadow and Bone’s principal protagonists, Alina and Mal are certain to return, while Kirigan – who is still alive after he exited the Shadow Fold in the season finale – will also be back.

Kaz, Jesper and Inej, too, should be part of the season 2 line up. As in the Six of Crows duology, the Dregs’ story (more on this below) will line up with Nina and Matthias’, so we should see that trio link up with the latter duo. This was hinted at in season 1’s final episode, so expect them to join forces as they do in the novels.

As for which characters could make the leap from Bardugo’s book series to the live-action TV series, Heisserer revealed (per Collider) that there will be “one hundred percent more Wylan” in season 2. In the novels, Wylan Van Eck joins the Dregs as their demolitions expert for a job inside Fjerdan’s military stronghold known as the Ice Court.

Another character who could appear in season 2 is Nikolai Lantsov. 

In the books, Nikolai adopts the pseudonym Sturnhound and leads a pirate armada that aids the war effort for the kingdom of Ravka. Nikolai becomes a key ally of Alina and Mal’s, so his arrival in Netflix’s adaptation will be vital if the TV show predominantly follows Siege and Storm’s storyline in season 2. 

Heisserer teased Nikolai’s potential involvement in season 2 during a chat with Inverse, so he may be a new cast member when the next entry's casting announcements are revealed.

Shadow and Bone season 2 trailer

Shadow and Bone season 2 trailer: is there one? 

Archie Renaux as Mal Oretsov in Shadow and Bone season 1

(Image credit: DAVID APPLEBY/NETFLIX)

No, and there won’t be for some time. If principal photography begins relatively soon, we could get a teaser early in 2022. Until that time, though, there won't be any footage to pour over.

Shadow and Bone season 2 story

Shadow and Bone season 2 plot: what will it be? 

Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) and Mal Oretsov (Archie Renaux) share a tender moment in Shadow and Bone season 1

(Image credit: Netflix)

Season 2 should follow two concurrent stories from Siege and Storm and Six of Crows. With Alina and Mal going their separate ways to the Dregs following season 1’s finale, season 2 should continue their journey to new lands to keep Alina out of Kirigan’s reach.

As season 1’s finale showed, Kirigan has tapped into his Darkling powers and created new Fold creatures known as Nichevo’ya. Unlike the Volcra that inhabit the Fold, these monsters can move in broad daylight and will prove to be difficult adversaries for Alina and Mal to overcome.

Ben Barnes, who portrays Kirigan/the Darkling in Netflix’s TV show, has expressed interest in seeing season 2 “steer off” from the story in the books (per Collider) in a similar vein to how season 1 incorporated the Dregs into Alina’s arc. 

It’s unclear if Heisserer and the series’ other producers will do so, but it would be an intriguing twist on the source material if they did. It would give established fans some new content again, like season 1 did, but we'll have to wait and see if this request is granted.

The Dregs, meanwhile, are likely to team up with Nina in a bid to free Matthias, with the duo – and potentially Wylan – being key to Kaz’s plan to rescue Bo Yul-Bayur, an inventor of a drug that Grisha find addictive, from Fjerda’s Ice Court. Shadow and Bone season 1 has already utilized the Ice Court’s ‘impossible heist’ angle for the Dregs’ initial mission to try and capture Alina, though, so it’s possible that Bo’s rescue may be altered for the TV series.

Another arc that could be adapted from another Grishaverse duology – King of Scars – is Zoya’s. A supporting character in the Grisha trilogy, Zoya’s character is given a more prominent role in Bardugo’s second duology and elements of the story from these books may be incorporated into the TV show, as Bardugo teased in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

In the season 1 finale, Zoya was seen heading to Novokribrisk – the city that Kirigan destroys with the Fold – to search for her family. Should she find that they’ve perished, Zoya could team up with the Dregs again, as she does in the Six of Crows’ Crooked Kingdom novel, or add in parts of her story from the King of Scars book.

One thing we do know is how many episodes there will be in season 2. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Shadow and Bone will return with another eight-episode run.

It's unclear if this will only focus on Alina and Mal's journey, though, or if the Dregs and Zoya will also feature in some capacity (as we speculated above). We'll receive confirmation on this front closer to release or when a trailer arrives.

Shadow and Bone season 2: does it deserve another outing?

Members of General Kirigan's Grisha army as seen in Shadow and Bone season 1

(Image credit: Netflix)

Yes. While it doesn't have a following as big as other major fantasy series, such as The Witcher, Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, the Grishaverse still has a sizable and passionate audience. Its fanbase is only set to grow, too, as Netflix's adaptation introduces this world to new audiences.

There are plenty of directions that Netflix's adaptation of the Grishaverse can go as well. Like the streamer's live-action Witcher series, Shadow and Bone could potentially lead to spin-offs that delve into the wider universe and use Bardugo's source material as a base for this. Whether it's expanding on a pre-existing short story or creating entirely new content, Netflix can go in all manner of directions in and around season 2.

Tom Power

As TechRadar's entertainment reporter, Tom can be found covering all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. 


Away from work, Tom can found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, and petting every dog he comes across in the outside world.