Shadow and Bone, based on Leigh Bardugo's gorgeous Grishaverse series, took Netflix by storm when the first season premiered in 2021. The story, set in the fictional Russian-inspired nation of Ravka, imagines a world in which magic is not only real, but those who can wield it are drafted into a secretive army.
It is an opportune moment to become familiar with the characters and actors in the acclaimed fantasy series, as the second season of the show is about to be released on Netflix. The narrative revolves around two orphaned youngsters who are caught up in the political maneuvers of the magical upper class when one of them is discovered to possess mysterious and unique abilities. Here is a guide to help you refresh your memory of the people and roles in the story.
#1. Archie Renaux is Mal Oretsev
Alina's closest companion is her childhood friend Mal, who was raised alongside her in a Ravkan orphanage and joined the First Army in their teens. Mal has a natural ability for tracking, which he has utilized to assist Alina. They are now in a relationship and Mal will do whatever it takes to protect her. Renaux is renowned for his role as Mal, and can also be seen in movies such as Morbius, Voyagers, and Catherine Called Birdy.
#2. Ben Barnes is General Kirigan-The Darkling
Ben Barnes has been a part of many fantasy classics, such as The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Stardust, but his role as the nefarious Darkling might be his most memorable one. General Kirigan, leader of the Second Army, crafted a "safe" refuge for Grisha who were willing to cooperate with the royalty of Ravka to protect the country. However, he is actually an ancient villain known as the Black Heretic who produced the shadow realm known as the Fold and can control the creatures within it. He attempted to use and control Alina and her capabilities, yet ended up creating a formidable opponent instead.
#3. Jessie Mei Li is Alina Starkov-The Sun Summoner
Jessie Mei Li, who was seen in Edgar Wright's One Night in Soho, portrays Alina Starkov, the half-Shu cartographer at the center of Shadow and Bone. Alina was formerly a Ravkan army grunt, but her Grisha powers that allow her to control sunlight made her a legendary figure. After the surprising finale of Season 1, she is now on the run in an attempt to outwit the powerful dark magic user who was her tutor.
#4. Zoe Wanamaker is Baghra
Zoe Wanamaker, renowned British actor and star of Harry Potter and Gormenghast, will be portraying General Kirigan's mother and combat specialist Baghra. Although her identity was kept unknown in the first season, viewers are now aware of her connection to the Darkling. After aiding Alina in escaping his son, her destiny is still uncertain. However, Wanamaker's return suggests that Baghra will have a role in Season 2.
#5. Amita Suman is Inej Ghafa
Nicknamed the Wraith, Inej is Kaz's secret weapon. With her near supernatural stealth and gymnastic circus skills, Inej acts as the eyes and ears of the Crows and her close confidante Kaz. She's also one of the most formidable fighters in the Barrel but her past there is dicey. She enters S2, wanted by the Barrel's most dangerous criminal. Suman is just as impressive as the character she plays with roles in The Sandman, Doctor Who, and The Outpost.
#6. Kit Young is Jesper Fahey
One of the breakout characters from last season — and the subject of many fancams — was Young's talented sharpshooter. Charming, suave, and a crack shot, Jesper's wit is almost as quick as his bullets. A key member of the Crows, he's their bodyguard, comedian, and staple romantic. Young is a bundle of loveliness in the role that made his name, but if you're wondering why he looks familiar he's featured in films like The School For Good and Evil and The Origin.
#7. Danielle Galligan is Nina Zenik
Source: USA Today
As book readers know — and the end of Season 1 hinted — Nina's heartrending skills will put her on the path of some of the show's core characters as Season 2 begins. The cheery and decidedly badass Grisha is a fan favorite for a reason, she takes no quarter and never steps down. Her love for Matthias, the witch hunter who once hated her, is stronger than the terrible mistakes she's made. But whether they'll be reunited is yet to be seen.
#8. Freddy Carter is Kaz Brekker
Kaz is the leader of Shadow and Bone's beloved found family of thieves and scoundrels known as the Crows. He's angry, bitter, and deeply traumatized. His entire life has been lived in the city of Ketterdam, where he's had to fight for survival at every turn. Known as the Bastard of the Barrel, Kaz is coming into Season 2 with a vendetta to carry out and a loyal team of skillful criminal friends at his side, though he would never call them the latter to their faces. Carter's other notable appearances include Wonder Woman and Pennyworth!
#9. Anna Leong Brophy is Tamar Kir-Battar
Joining Tolya is his aforementioned — and even more badass — sister Tamar. Always wielding her twin axes, Tamar is never far from her brother or Alina's side. She's loyal, funny, and a force of nature. While Tolya will likely make Brophy a household name, the actor has been in a bunch of TV shows including Ragdoll, Traces, The Billion Dollar Code, and more. You might also recognize her dulcet tones from her voice acting in Horizon Forbidden West.
#10. Calahan Skogman is Matthias Helvar
Nina's lover and former witch hunter, Matthias, is headed to one of the most brutal prisons in the world of Shadow and Bone. In Season 1 we saw him come to learn that he'd been brainwashed against Grisha by his strict religious upbringing and it was Nina's love that changed that. Those fond feelings are long gone now, though, as he blames her for his arrest. Like Galligan, Shadow and Bone Season 1 was his TV debut and he'll be taking on an even bigger role in Season 2.
#11. Patrick Gibson is Nikolai Lantsov
Another highly-anticipated new addition is the pirate and privateer known as Sturmhond. But as the casting announcement — and official name as used above — reveals, there's another side to the character . His secret identity is a great reveal in the book so we won't tell you too much here, but just know that Nikolai will be stirring things up for Alina, Mal, and the nation of Ravka. Gibson has a pretty stacked resume counting titles like OA, The Spanish Princess, and Tolkien among his credits.
#12. Jack Wolfe is Wylan Hendriks
Netflix fantasy enthusiast may recognize Jack Wolfe from his role in The Witcher, and he will be portraying Wylan in Shadow and Bone. Wylan, who is a young aristocrat in the books, assists the Crows with their schemes and has a special relationship with Jesper. He is proficient in explosives and demolitions.
#13. Luke Pasqualino is David
David, a Grisha with the ability to control solids at a molecular level, is a major character in the series, having been introduced in Season 1 with his creation of Alina's stag collar. His relationship with Genya will be further explored in Season 2. British actor Pasqualino, who has appeared in shows such as Skins, Snowpiercer, and The Borgias, portrays him
#14. Sujaya Dasgupta is Zoya Nazyalensky
Two characters, David and Zoya, who were initially minor yet have larger roles to play in the franchise, will be further explored in Season 2. Zoya, who was originally presented as a cruel Grisha, has a hidden depth that viewers will have the pleasure of discovering. She has previously been seen in Ghosts, I May Destroy You, Guilt, and Shantaram. Additionally, Dasgupta's portrayal of the regal Grisha will also be seen in the new season.
#15. Lewis Tan is Tolya Yul-Battar
Source: ABC News
Lewis Tan, known for his roles in Mortal Kombat and Wu Assassins, will appear as Tolya in Season 2. Tolya is a formidable fighter with a soft side; he is a lover of poetry and philosophy, and his bond with his sister is strong. Additionally, he has a special connection to the Sun Summoner. Along with Tolya, viewers will also meet his crew, including his twin sister Tamar.
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