There's a lot of evidence that Shadow and Bone Season 3 will be released, but signs point that it will boil down to Netflix's decision.
Created by Eric Heisserer, Shadow and Bone is a live-action fantasy series from Netflix based on books by author Leigh Bardugo. The story is set in the Grishaverse, and it revolves around a young soldier named Alina Starkov who uses her magic to unite the world against dangerous forces.
Shadow and Bone debuted with an eight-episode first season on Netflix on April 23, 2021. In June 2021, the streamer renewed the series for a second season, released on March 16, 2023.
Shadow and Bone Season 3: Will It Ever Release?
Shadow and Bone has yet to be renewed for a third season by Netflix. Many fans were expecting the official announcement during last June's TUDUM event, but the confirmation didn't happen, and the show wasn't even mentioned.
Moreover, the ongoing writer's strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) may have also derailed plans for the show's renewal. Despite that, the success of the first two seasons of Shadow and Bone has led many to believe that Season 3 will happen.
In fact, Shadow and Bone showrunner Eric Heisserer told Collider in March 2021 that he pitched a "three-season plan" to Netflix, indicating that the story has yet to be finished:
“It was a three-year plan that I laid out, or [a] three-season plan. It came about in a really interesting way because it all came from a New Year's resolution that I had three years ago, which was to do more pleasure reading. I just wasn't doing enough of it, and there's something about when you're reading for work, you always have that part of your brain on, like, 'Ooh can this be adapted or…' And I'm like, I just want to have fun."
In a separate interview with Collider following Season 2's premiere in March 2023, lead star Jessie Mei Li, who plays Alina Starkov in the series, teased the possibility of a third season. She noted that "everybody in the show wants to go again" and that "there are definitely plans in the works:"
"Everybody in the show wants to go again. There’s so much passion for it. The cast has all said that we have to go again. I love them all so much. It’s the best school trip away with your best mates. Of course, I wanna do it again. There are definitely plans in the works and there have definitely been discussions about where our characters might go, but with the nature of streamers, it’s down to how many people watch the show and what the response is like."
In May 2023, Shadow and Bone casting director Sophie Holland spoke with Deadline to offer her thoughts about the show's continuation:
“It seems to have a huge fan base. It’s a fresh, up-and-coming cast and the story is very faithful to the books, which is refreshing. It’s all about that first month’s performance on Netflix, I guess, so we’ll find out soon if it’s being recommissioned. It’s a tricky time, as you noted, so we’ll see.”
If Season 3 does end up happening, then the cast and crew would need time for filming and post-production. However, all of these will not happen unless the WGA strike has been resolved.
If production resumes sometime in 2024, then Shadow and Bone Season 3 could potentially premiere on Netflix in 2025, possibly in April or March.
Shadow and Bone Season 3 Cast Speculation: Who Would Return?
Shadow and Bone's core cast is expected to return if Season 3 happens.
Here's a list of who could come back when the show returns:
- Jessie Mei Li - Alina Starkov
- Amita Suman - Inej Ghafa
- Archie Renaux - Mal Oretsev
- Freddy Carter - Kaz Brekker
- Kit Young - Jesper Fahey
- Danielle Galligan - Nina Zenik
- Luke Pasqualino - David Kostyk
- Zoë Wanamaker - Baghra
- Patrick Gibson - Nikolai Lantsov
- Jack Wolfe - Wylan Hendriks
- Lewis Tan - Tolya
- Anna Leong Brophy - Tamar
What Could Happen in Shadow and Bone Season 3?
During Shadow and Bone's Season 2 finale, Ben Barnes' character, The Darkling, was ultimately defeated. Despite the villain's death, there are still many stories to tell in Season 3.
Although Alina and Mal received a happy ending in Season 2, the looming arrival of a new threat could force the pair back into action. Moreover, Season 3 could also explore Alina's new powers and how dark magic could affect her moving forward.
The aftermath of the deaths of The Darkling and David could be tackled in the early parts of Season 3 as well.
Is Shadow and Bone's Spinoff, Six of Crows, Still Happening?
In March 2023, Shadow and Bone showrunner Eric Heisserer, via Entertainment Weekly (EW), confirmed that he's been quietly at work developing a Six of Crows spin-off based on the main events of author Leigh Bardugo's novel.
EW's sources noted then that the show is in the very early stages, with Heisserer confirming that the fate of the spin-off would depend on how well Shadow and Bone Season 2's performed on Netflix.
Heisserer also confirmed that the events of the spin-off would take place during Shadow and Bone's Season 2 finale.
At this point, it remains to be seen if Six of Crows is still happening under the Netflix banner. If it does, then an official announcement alongside Season 3 could be the best possible scenario for the franchise.
The first two seasons of Shadow and Bone are streaming on Netflix.