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Shadow and Bone season 2 release date, cast, plot and everything we know

Shadow and Bone season 2
(Image credit: David Appleby/Netflix)

Shadow and Bone season 2 feels like it's all but guaranteed given it's massive popularity. The recently released Netflix series is a hit, having lived in the U.S. and U.K. top-10 lists for its first two weeks. This is likely due to support from the YA novel’s audience following it to television. We wouldn’t be shocked to learn that new audiences are joining in the fun of fawning over Ben Barnes’ brooding performance as The Darkling (yes, it feels wrong, but that’s half the fun).

So, fans of the Small Science and those new to the Grishaverse, we're breaking down everything to know about the (likely) Shadow and Bone season 2. So, not just when we may learn more, but when we could expect the next batch of episodes and who to expect this time around (and new characters who could show up). Plus, since this is an adaptation, we've got plenty of ideas for where Alina will go next. 

If you just happened upon Shadow and Bone without having read the source material, the series adapts Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels. And since there are ten books in total, we've got plenty of reason to think Shadow and Bone season 2 will happen. 

Shadow and Bone season 2 release date

We expect Shadow and Bone season 2 to come out in about 1.5 or more years, but Netflix hasn't officially greenlit the additional episodes. We've instead opted to look at the ample amount of evidence that suggests Netflix will — and then reverse-engineer to figure out the show's return. That starts with a report from What's on Netflix, which notes that Shadow and Bone season 2 has been approved internally at Netflix. 

This is no surprise, given that it's spent a lot of time in the top-10 most watched shows on Netflix lists in the United States and the United Kingdom. And since Stranger Things season 4 looks like one of the last iterations of the series, you know Netflix is looking to build a new batch of winners to keep people subscribed.

Netflix reportedly looks at the first four weeks of a show's run to gauge whether or not it is interested in a new season, so expect news about Shadow and Bone season 2 in late May, about a month or so after the series' April 23 debut. If Shadow and Bone season 2 is greenlit around that time, we would bet on an early 2023 (possibly late 2022) release date, as effects-heavy shows such as this require a bit more time in the oven.

And Shadow and Bone show-runner Eric Heisserer has revealed that he does plan for more seasons. In an interview with Collider he noted, "It can be far more than three seasons," referencing a previous interview when he claimed his plan was for a trilogy of seasons. Heisserer elaborated, crediting a possibly long run to how "Leigh's just written so many books and there's a lot of ground for us to cover. I feel like this is going to remain strong and healthy even at four seasons and beyond that, who knows? But I feel very nervous talking about that. I feel like I'm the baseball player pointing at the rafters and I have no idea."

Shadow and Bone season 2 cast

Shadow and Bone's major characters are all expected to be back for more. That starts, of course, with Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov, who the series basically revolves around. Archie Renaux is also due to return as Malyen "Mal" Oretsov.

Ben Barnes, as brooding General Kirigan, is also expected for Shadow and Bone season 2, after he exited the Shadow Fold in the conclusion of season 1. That episode gave fans a better glimpse into Kirigan's Darkling powers, as he created the Nichevo’ya — a new set of Fold creatures. Making things more complicated for Shadow and Bone season 2, the Nichevo’ya can operate in broad daylight (unlike the Volcra). 

Inej, Jesper and Kaz, characters from the Six of Crows duology incorporated a little ealier than they were in the books, are also likely back. That means we can expect Freddy Carter (as Kaz), Amita Suman (as Inej) and Kit Young (as Jesper). 

Danielle Gilligan (as Nina) and Calahan Skogman (as Matthias) will also return, and spend a lot of time with Inej, Jesper and Kaz. More on that below. Sujaya Dasgupta is also expected back in the role of Zoya.

  • Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov
  • Archie Renaux as Malyen "Mal" Oretsev
  • Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker
  • Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa
  • Kit Young as Jesper Fahey
  • Ben Barnes as General Kirigan / The Darkling
  • Sujaya Dasgupta as Zoya
  • Danielle Galligan as Nina Zenik
  • Calahan Skogman as Matthias

Shadow and Bone season 2 plot

While Shadow and Bone has already demonstrated a flair for diverting from the books' pathways — incorporating the Six of Crows duology so early — we have a good idea what to expect from Shadow and Bone season 2.

The main crux of the story will show Alina and Mal's separate paths to the Dregs, as they work to keep the former out of Kirigan's hands. Now that Kirigan's got his day-walking Nichevo’ya, though, that may not be so easy. 

Ben Barnes told Collider that he thinks Shadow and Bone season 2 will "steer off from the course of the books... I think the character becomes a bit more representative in Alina’s mind of what the darkness is and a bit symbolic and I wanted to keep him as a human being." Of course, he's an actor in Heisserer's show, and admitted that this is just how he wants the series to go. Either way, Shadow and Bone season 2 will likely explore what it's like for Kirigan to be on his own.

Other new characters we may meet include Wylan Van Eck, who joined the Dregs in the book. Heisserer told Collider that there will be "one hundred percent more Wylan," practically guaranteeing it. 

Nikolai Lantsov aka Sturnhound, who leads a pirate armada, is also a likely heavy favorite to be added in Shadow and Bone season 2. Nikolai plays a key role in the books, as an ally to Alina and Mal, so it's practically a given.