Shadow and Bone: Leigh Bardugo originally thought Netflix adaptation ‘would not work’
Shadow and Bone: Netflix release trailer for new series
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Fantasy author Leigh Bardugo has spoken exclusively to Express.co.uk about her journey to bring the expansive fantasy world of the Grishaverse alive on Netflix. Teaming with series creator and screenwriter Eric Heisserer, the writer has revealed she originally had her doubts with the showrunner’s first pitch for Shadow and Bone.
Author Leigh Bardugo has opened up about the challenging process of bringing her fantasy series the Grishaverse to the small screen.
Rather than a straight adaptation of the first book, the television adaptation also brings in characters and storylines from Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology.
However, introducing Kaz Brekker (played by Freddy Carter) and the rest of the Crows alongside heroine Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Lin) presented a number of issues.
Bardugo told Express.co.uk: “The way I put it was you can Frankenstein the characters, but you can’t Frankenstein the plots.”
“Because they would interact in a way that would blow up all of the story that comes to play in the later books.”
Rather than meshing the plots of the first two books of each respective series together, the first season of Shadow and Bone acts as a prequel of sorts to the events of Six of Crows.
Except this wasn’t originally intended to be the direction of the series, as Bardugo detailed her earlier meetings with Eric Heisserer.
She recalled: “Early on, Eric and I talked about bringing together Six of Crows and Shadow and Bone.”
“Initially Eric wanted to basically do Book One Shadow and Bone and Book One Six of Crows side by side. And I felt very strongly that that could not work.”
Had Heisserer followed through with his first plan, Shadow and Bone’s first season could have easily confused newcomers to the series and disappointed fans of the original books.
Thankfully, the Grishaverse creator was onboard as executive producer to lend her expertise to the ambitious adaptation.
Bardugo and Heisserer’s partnership also remained extremely amicable throughout production, and the author revealed they were quickly able to reach a compromise.
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Although several elements from the Crows duology have made it into the first outing, most of the events of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom will be saved for potential second and third seasons.
Bardugo went on: “I wouldn’t describe that as a fight, I’d describe that as a lively conversation.
“And one where we really came around to seeing how we could do this and write prequel material for these particular characters in the show.”
Diehard fans of the original material will certainly be enthralled by Alina’s epic battle with the Darkling (Ben Barnes) as she begins to harness her rare magical powers.
Newcomers to the franchise will also be glad to know there’s still plenty of Grishaverse content to mine from if Netflix gives the go-ahead for the fantasy epic to continue.
Critical reactions have already tapped the series’ as Netflix’s answer to Game of Thrones and a softer alternative to The Witcher.
With Shadow and Bone well on its way to becoming yet another smash hit for the streaming giant, Bardugo and Heisserer’s risky compromise for the first season has certainly paid off.
Shadow and Bone season 1 is available to stream on Netflix.
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