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How Netflix’s Shadow And Bone Will Combine Two Book Series For The TV Show

Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov and Ben Barns as General Krigan on Shadow and Bone (2021)

Netflix’s newest fantasy series, Shadow and Bone, premieres next month, and it’s another series that literature fans will want to watch. The show is based on the book of the same name, which is part of the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. However, when the series was picked up, Netflix announced the show would include the book’s sequel, Six of Crows. Now, showrunner Eric Heisserer has explained exactly how that will work.

While Netflix has cast the major characters from both books, the events of Six of Crows in the novel take place two years after the final book in the Shadow of Bone trilogy, Ruin and Rising. Eric Heisserer told TV Guide this approach was employed to avoid messing with anything in Leigh Bardugo’s timeline. Heisserer explained:

It required building some story -- a prequel worth of story for some characters -- so that we don't break anything in Leigh Bardugo's timeline. It's interesting the way that Six of Crows is built in that you do get into backstories that are outside the current timeline. And so we touch on some of that for a few the characters and for others it's brand new.

Even though Six of Crows is mostly separate from Shadow and Bone while still being part of the same universe, Eric Heisserer mentioned that with the show, the Six of Crows characters fit into Shadow and Bone as its own prequel. The showrunner further explained:

The way they've done this show is they've made the Six of Crows characters fit in with the Shadow and Bone story with their own kind of prequel. But it's really clever how they've done it because you could almost read Shadow and Bone again and kind of nothing's changed even with the way that they've added in the characters. It's almost like you could think, 'Oh, but they were there at that time! Like maybe they were just behind that wall?' So it's really interesting the way they've managed to sort of sneak them in.

One can probably imagine that balancing all of this wasn't easy for Eric Heisserer and his collaborators. Nevertheless, it sounds like they managed to really make it all work and tell a cohesive story.

There have been attempts in the past to bring the spellbinding fantasy-adventure novel to life, including a planned film adaptation (from a Harry Potter producer), which was scrapped. However, it seems Netflix was the better option anyway. With the series including two of Leigh Bardugo’s novels, book lovers everywhere will finally be able to travel to fantasy and experience the Grisha trilogy that will be coming to life very soon. It’ll be refreshing to see characters from two beloved novels interacting with each other. Shadow and Bone premieres on April 23 on on Netflix.

Megan Behnke

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.