The following contains spoilers for Shadow and Bone season 1, as well as minor spoilers for The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows book series.
Season 1 of Shadow and Bone dropped on Netflix last week, and it has consistently been the most viewed show on Netflix since then. Clearly, the show has been a success so far, and while there hasn't been an official announcement of a renewal for season 2, things are looking pretty good for Shadow and Bone moving forward.
This initial season of Shadow and Bone follows Alina Starkov on her journey of honing her Grisha powers and trying to save Ravka from the Shadow Fold, as well as a group of criminals who have been tasked with kidnapping her. The show does a great job at weaving the separate storylines from The Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows together in a way that gives enough screen time to both aspects of the story. It's also fun for book fans to see characters like Kaz, Inej, and Jesper get to interact with Alina, Mal, and the Darkling, when that's something that never would have been able to happen if the show had followed the books exactly. At the end of the season, the main cast of characters is on their way to Ketterdam, and it begs the question: where is the show going to go from here?
The first season essentially adapted the events of the first book in the series, with a few small differences (and the addition of the Crows, including Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar). It's likely that season 2 will take a similar approach and tell the story of book two, Siege and Storm. The plot will probably follow Alina in her continued quest to fight the dark forces the Darkling (in the show referred to as General Kirigan) has set against Ravka, as she grows in her power.
There are some major characters that finally come into play in season 2, including Nikolai Lantsov - one of the princes of Ravka and a fan-favorite character - and the Bataar twins, Tolya and Tamar (a pair of twins from Shu Han who are Heartrenders as well as skilled warriors). The introduction of these characters, who are integral to Alina's story, will round out the main cast of The Grisha Trilogy, and will add an interesting dynamic to the mix.
Nikolai is an interesting character full of charm and wit, but who still feels the burden of the position he's in, and will be endlessly fun to watch on screen. Tolya and Tamar will likely have some great action sequences, but their story also might have some added depth now that the show has decided to make Alina half Shu, and has really leaned into the idea that Shu people in Ravka face a lot of discrimination.
At the end of season 1, we see the Darkling exit the Fold, still alive and followed by terrifying shadow creatures. These creatures are called nichevo'ya, and feature heavily in the latter half of the series, becoming significant obstacles for Alina and anyone else who opposes the Darkling. The Darkling created them using merzost, which translates to "abomination" in Ravkan, and is the kind of power that even Grisha are opposed to using because of the price one must pay when it's used. The nichevo'ya will become major players, and a major plot point, going forward in the show, especially into season 2, and might add a light horror element to the visuals.
The plan for where Alina's side of the story will go from here seems pretty clear, as the writers have a pretty clear outline of where her story goes next if they follow the novels. However, the future of the Six of Crows characters (Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, and Matthias) is a little more up in the air. In the books, the events of Six of Crows are supposed to take place years after the events of The Grisha Trilogy, so it's unclear whether or not they'll stick to that timeline or just make that storyline happen at the same time as Alina's.
Season 2 will likely find these two storylines more separate than the first season, now that all of the characters have been established. While Alina finds ways to fight the Darkling, the Crows will likely be having their own adventures back on their home turf of Ketterdam. It seems unlikely that the big set-piece of Six of Crows, the Ice Court heist, will be happening in season 2, as it feels like the characters still have some developing to do before they get to their point that their characters are at when that book starts. Kaz still has to get a little more ruthless, and Inej has to fully become the Wraith and become a little more comfortable with killing.
For the Crows, the next season will probably spend time setting up the position of the group as a force in Ketterdam, and will establish Kaz Brekker as one of the most feared people in the city. They will also need to find a way to weave Nina and Matthias's storyline in with the Crows and set up the future of these characters working together. At the end of season 1, they mention that they'll need a Heartrender, which is a clear indication that Nina will be joining the Crows in the next season.
There's also a possibility that season 2 will introduce the final missing piece of the Crows crew, Wylan Van Eck, who is another character that fans have been clamoring for. In the books, he's introduced just before the Crows set out on their heist, so there's still a possibility he won't be brought in until later, but it wouldn't be surprising if the show found a way to introduce him earlier.
It's unclear when the Ice Court heist will happen for the Crows; it could be in season 3, but it would be difficult to pull off if it was happening concurrently with the culmination of Alina's storyline, and would just pull attention away from her. In general, the show is going to have a tricky balancing act to handle of managing both Alina and the Crows' storyline without one of them (likely the Crows) being more interesting and engaging than the other.
It almost might be better to wait until season 4, if the show is lucky enough and popular enough to get that many season and let the Crows' heist be the main focus of the season, rather than being a side plot in Alina Starkov's story. No matter how they decide to split up the stories, it's clear that this series has a lot of potential, and if the second season is anything like the first, it should be a wild success.
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