shadow and bone featurette

Based on a series of books by Leigh BardugoShadow and Bone is the type of big, epic fantasy series that requires a lot of world-building. Is Netflix up to the task? The new Netflix series hails from showrunner and writer Eric Heisserer (ArrivalBird Box) and is set in a war-torn world full of magic and monsters. A new Shadow and Bone featurette breaks down all the complicated world-building on display here, and goes behind-the-scenes of the series to showcase how they pulled all of this off.

Shadow and Bone Featurette 

At the start of this featurette, Leigh Bardugo, who wrote the Grisha trilogy that inspired the series and serves as an executive producer, says Shadow and Bone is set in a world inspired by Tsarist Russia of the early 1800s, and the country has been torn in two by a “swath of darkness” called the Shadow Fold. Borders are constantly shifting in this world due to the ongoing war. In the midst of all this there’s the main character – Alina, who has “just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free.” But of course, a solution won’t be so simple (there are future seasons to think about, after all).

Having not read any of Bardugo’s books, I can’t comment much on Shadow and Bone from an informed perspective. What I can say is that what I’m seeing here – lots of scenes of big bursts of CGI light, aged maps, lots of talk of special powers, and so on, all seems mighty familiar, and Shadow and Bone will need to take strides to stand out from the rest of many, many other fantasy novel series adaptions we’ve seen. I do like that they’re leaning into the Tsarist Russia influence in terms of costuming, though – that’s a nice touch.

Shadow and Bone “finds us in a war-torn world where lowly soldier and orphan Alina Starkov has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free. With the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha. But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be one and the same and that nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive.”

The series stars Jessie Mei Li (Alina Starkov), Archie Renaux (Malyen Oretsev), Freddy Carter (Kaz Brekker), Amita Suman (Inej), Kit Young (Jesper Fahey), Ben Barnes (General Kirigan), Sujaya Dasgupta (Zoya Nazyalensky), Danielle Galligan (Nina Zenik), Daisy Head (Genya Safin), Simon Sears (Ivan), Calahan Skogman (Matthias Helvar), Zoë Wanamaker (Baghra), Kevin Eldon (The Apparat), Julian Kostov (Fedyor), Luke Pasqualino (David), Jasmine Blackborow (Marie), Gabrielle Brooks (Nadia).

Look for Shadow and Bone on Netflix starting on April 23, 2021.

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