Everything We Learned About Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, From Ben Barnes’ Collider Interview

Netflix’s forthcoming Shadow and Bone series was one of the few TV shows lucky enough to finish filming before coronavirus hit, having wrapped after a 6-month shoot at the end of February. Since then, however, news about the Leigh Bardugo adaptation has been pretty scant—that is, until now. On Monday, Collider published a phone interview with Ben Barnes, aka the Darkling himself, where he shared plenty of details about the series, from how they’ll handle mixing Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows to his portrayal of the character. Here’s everything we learned!

  • Barnes read most of the Grishaverse series prior to filming.
  • The series was shot in Budapest, which Barnes described as “czar punk, like steampunk but with a Russian element to it.”
  • The series will not only mix together “five different books,” but also “characters from different timelines.” Previously, the show was revealed to be a “50/50” split between the Grisha Trilogy (Shadow and BoneSiege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising) and the Six of Crows Duology (Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.
  • Barnes explained the reasoning behind mixing the books together: “The reason that books are mixed together is because Shadow and Bone is a little bit more YA feeling, skews a little bit younger, and is more straight up fantasy. It feels a bit like Harry Potter and Anna Karenina, mixed together. But then, Six of Crows is more of a heist things that’s more of a Peaky Blinders and Ocean’s 11 world. So, the tone sits somewhere in the middle, and I think that’s potentially quite exciting.”
  • Barnes described the Darkling as “probably the most powerful character” he’s ever played: “The general is the commander of an army and he’s also ancient, in terms of age. There’s a power and a steadiness to him, which is different from a lot of the characters that I’ve played. Also, I like to find the opposite, so I look for the childlike qualities in someone who’s ancient or the vulnerabilities in someone who’s powerful.”
  • Barnes substituted lines from the books ” a couple times” during the shoot when lines in the script weren’t working.

Check out the full interview for more about the show, as well as the actor’s thoughts on his new series Gold Digger. 

As for other details, Bardugo (who is serving as executive producer) has been slowly sharing bits and pieces to eagle-eyed followers on her Twitter. In December, she revealed that Pekka Rollins and Tante Heleen will be in season 1, but that Wylan and Nikolai will not. Then in February, she revealed that Ravkan will be an actual language used in the show, created by David J. Peterson, whose credits include the Dothraki dialect in HBO’s Game of Thrones and the Elder Speech in Netflix’s The Witcher. She also shared a one-of-a-kind Ravkan edition of Shadow and Bone that she said will appear in one of her favorite moments in the show:

Showrunner Eric Heisserer has also shared photos of various gambling paraphernalia from the Crow Club set, as well as Ravkan currency used in the series:

There’s no word yet on a release date. In the meantime, you can find the announced cast and crew members here and here.

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