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
Here are few, hastily typed reasons why I’m hella excited. Spoilers from the books ahead!
Ben Barnes is the Darkling and nothing has ever been better
This was me reading the announcement:
BEN BARNES. BEN. EFFING. BARNES. IS. THE DARKLING. Technically the character’s name is General Kirigan, but both Ben and author Leigh Bardugo have essentially confirmed that it’s him. This is the kind of perfect book adaptation casting that fans salivate for. LOOK AT HIS STUNNING DIABOLICAL FACE.
My love affair with Ben Barnes started in 2008 with his role as the baby-faced but (blessedly) aged up Prince Caspian. 20 year old Janna fell hard for that angelic Narnian, with his luxurious hair and that quasi-Spanish accent. Since those days he’s had regular roles in shows like Westworld and The Punisher, which have provided him with lots of experience playing sleazy douche bags. He can absolutely pull off the cruel, complex, but somehow still alluring Darkling. In reality, Ben is absurdly adorable.
— Ben Barnes (@benbarnes) December 25, 2018
Plus, everyone else in that cast looks barely old enough to legally buy alcohol, so having a man from my own decade to crush on keeps the creepy cougar feelings at bay.
Alina and the Darkling can still be endgame
Full disclosure: I didn’t finish the Grisha trilogy. Once I found out that Alina ends up with Mal I sent the last book back to the library. The Darkling is absolutely a really terrible person, but I’m bored reading about vanilla relationships between vanilla characters. But a power hungry, manipulative, complex villain who has a weakness for a girl who could be his equal, even his ruin? That’s the kind of dark, messy relationship dynamics I’m interested in exploring. People are going to vehemently disagree (loudly, on twitter) with me and the other women who feel the same, and that’s fine. We’re all into different stuff. But the moral policing of other people’s fictional relationship preferences is so, so tiring. But that’s a much longer rant for another day.
At the very least, don’t let Alina end up with Mal. Or give the Darkling another love interest. Just have Ben Barnes make out with SOMEONE.
That beautiful, diverse cast (minus a few faces)
Kaz! Inej! Alina! Jesper!
Mal. Look at those stunning, young, young, amazing looking young actors. Sorry, I have to keep reminding myself that I really aged these characters up in my head while reading the books. Seriously though, I’m super excited by this colorful cast of unknowns, and I can’t wait to see them bring the characters to life. Jessie Mei Li as Alina is giving me chills and I am already a little in awe of her. This TV Guide article says that other established characters like Nina, Zoya, Genya and Ivan have also been cast, so hopefully we’ll get images of them soon. But sorry guys, no Nikolai yet-Leigh Bardugo said on Twitter that he won’t be appearing in Season 1.
There’s no premiere date, but soon after the casting announcement, Ben Barnes tweeted a video from day one on set. I can’t even wait!
— Ben Barnes (@benbarnes) October 2, 2019