(Warning: This post contains spoilers through the Season 1 finale of Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone.”)
“Shadow and Bone” ends its eight-episode first season with a finale that sees Alina Starkov (played by Jessie Mei Li) reach her full Sun Summoner potential when she breaks free of General Kirigan, a.k.a. The Darkling (Ben Barnes), managing to harness the power of the stag amplifier that he has had fused to her body and throw him to his (seeming) death in the depths of the Shadow Fold.
Of course, for those who have been paying attention throughout the rest of Season 1 of Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone,” which launched Friday, things are rarely so cut and dry, and in the closing moments of the finale, we see the Darkling escape the Shadow Fold not just alive, but towing an army of horrifying new shadow monsters.
Though “Shadow and Bone,” which is based on Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, has yet to be renewed for a second season at Netflix, showrunner Eric Heisserer says Alina and co. are in for a rude awakening, if and when they return: “I think everybody thinks [the Darkling] is dead. So you’ve got a big surprise in store for a lot of people.“
One of those surprises is his new army of scary monsters. Heisserer broke down what those creatures are — read more about that here.
Meantime, let’s double back to the uplifting finale moment when Alina not only takes back her power from the Darkling, but amplifies it through the stag antlers that have been forcibly attached to her own bones. This is an element of the book readers will remember. But the appearance of this particular accessory of Alina’s is different than it was described in the book for a couple of reasons.
“At the end, she does absorb the antlers in a way and then recede into her collarbone,” Heisserer said. “They are still there, but they are now essentially subdermal. However, for a while you see them sometimes sticking out of her collarbone in a way that looks like it’s at least uncomfortable. And a lot of that was really driven by costuming, by the understanding that if you were to use something from in the book, it was a collar, like a chocker, that was put around Alina’s neck.”
Heisserer says early designs of the antler collar were “proving to be difficult for both costuming and for the safety [of star Li],” so producers had “a long discussion about how we can make this work and feel that it might be even more rooted into the mythology of an ‘amplifier’ enhancing the power level of the Grisha.”
“And here you have types of Grisha who can heartrend, and Durasts, who can manipulate bone, so we felt it was a small leap that the amplification process is a bit more invasive, like you see, and you do fuse with the bone of the creature that you’ve slain.”
The end of “Shadow and Bone” Season 1 sees Alina, having absorbed those antlers, head off on the run with her beloved Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux) to escape those who would like to capture the Sun Summoner. But where they go from here is unknown to even Heisserer until he gets the green light for Season 2.
“I would love to entertain all those delicious thoughts, but I need to have the privilege of being able to return. So right now, I am essentially in the Crow Club and I put all my chips on Season 1, hoping that people engage with it in the way that we hope they do.”
“Shadow and Bone” Season 1 is streaming now on Netflix.