Netflix announced the official cast for its eight-episode series adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows novels, which take place in the “Grishaverse.”
Westworld and The Punisher star Ben Barnes is headlining the cast. Also on board as series regulars are Jessie Mei Li (Last Night in Soho), Freddy Carter (Pennyworth), Archie Renaux (Voyager), Amita Suman (Doctor Who) and Kit Young (Endeavour).
So delighted to finally(!!) share the cast of Season 1 of the @netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone with you: @JessieMeiLi @archierenaux @benbarnes @amitasuman_ @kittheyounger @freddycarter1 I am so thrilled to begin this adventure with this incredible cast. #NMNF #shadowandbone pic.twitter.com/X5Z9ivM0eq— Leigh Bardugo (@LBardugo) October 2, 2019
Bardugo’s “Grishaverse,” which is comprised of five novels, has been compared to the OG fantasy epic, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, for its scale and ambition.
And with Game of Thrones having finished its run on HBO earlier this year, every network and streaming outlet has been racing to find a fantasy property to fill its big, monoculture shoes.
Shadow and Bone is set in Ravka, an alternate-universe version of the Russian empire in its twilight years. The country is cut off from the ocean by the Unsea, a dark and mysterious land inhabited by monsters. On an expedition across the Unsea, teen orphan Alina Starkov displays a Grisha talent — a magical ability, such as calling fire or stopping hearts. Alina can summon light.
Much like Game of Thrones, Shadow and Bone features the supernatural, deadly monstrous creatures (like White Walkers), and coming-of-age heroes (like the Stark kids). There’s also plenty of political strife and scheming (think Cersei Lannister), with the Grisha often at odds with regular humans.
Barnes will play General Kirigan aka the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha, with Li as Alina. Renaux is set as Malyen, Alina’s best friend.
Carter and Suman are playing gang members in the criminal underworld, while Young is a gambler and sharpshooter named Jesper Fahey.
Bardugo has given her thumbs up to the cast.
“I was so wary going into this process because these characters have lived in my head for so long,” she said in a statement. “Turns out I had nothing to fear. Watching these actors begin to inhabit these roles has been pure magic.”
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