Netflix is wrong to cancel Shadow and Bone and its Six of Crows spin-off

The series is based on Leigh Bardugo's bestselling Grishaverse novels

Shadow and Bone has been cancelled and its planned Six of Crows spin-off has been scrapped by Netflix (Netflix).
Shadow and Bone has been cancelled and its planned Six of Crows spin-off has been scrapped by Netflix (Netflix).

Shadow and Bone has been cancelled by Netflix after two seasons, and the show's long-planned Six of Crows spin-off has been scrapped, bringing a sudden and abrupt end to the beloved franchise.

Based on Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse novels, Shadow and Bone released its second season earlier this year which set the stage not only for the show's third season but also the spin-off that fans were most excited to see.

Read more: Shadow and Bone creator Leigh Bardugo breaks silence on show cancellation (Digital Spy, 2-min read)

The streamer is wrong to have made this decision, here's why.

Why Shadow and Bone was cancelled (and why it's too soon)

Shadow and Bone follows Alina Starkov, a Grisha of immense power who leads the fight against villain General Kirigan, aka The Darkling (Netflix)
Shadow and Bone follows Alina Starkov, a Grisha of immense power who leads the fight against villain General Kirigan, aka The Darkling (Netflix)

Shadow and Bone season 1 and 2 adapted Bardugo's trilogy of the same name, it focuses on Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), a young woman who discovers she is a Grisha (someone who can manipulate matter, in her case light) and helps lead the fight against villain General Kirigan, aka The Darkling (Ben Barnes).

Along the way, Alina is joined by characters like the Crows — Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter), Inej Ghafa (Amita Suman), Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), Wylan Hendricks (Jack Wolfe), Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan), and to a lesser extent Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman) — and prince Nikolai Lantsov (Patrick Gibson) in protecting Ravka from the Darkling's machinations.

Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
Shadow and Bone season 2 ended with Ben Barnes' villain vanquished but with his influence still prevalent, as Alina discovered new, dark abilities (Netflix)

According to Deadline, Shadow and Bone was cancelled in reaction to a change in priorities as a result of the writer's and actor's strikes, with costly shows like the fantasy juggernaut said not to have made enough of a return to warrant continuing.

Netflix's Top 10 website shows that season 2 of Shadow and Bone remained in the global top 10 for five weeks and was in the top 10 in 86 countries. With competition from You season 4 and The Night Agent, though, the show peaked at the number 2 spot on the global chart during this time.

Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
The show perfectly set up season 3 to adapt Leigh Bardugo's King of Scars duology, which centred on Nikolai Lantsov (left, played by Patrick Gibson) (Netflix).

The problem with cancelling the show now though is that it's simply too soon. Shadow and Bone's second season ends on a dramatic note on multiple fronts, though the Darkling is vanquished his influence remains as Alina discovers she has access to new, dark powers through a connection they shared. There was also the emergence of a dangerous drug that makes Grisha deadly adversaries.

It set the stage for the third season to adapt Bardugo's King of Scars duology, which acts as a sequel to both the Shadow and Bone trilogy and Six of Crows duology, and is centred on fan favourite Nikolai who only just made his debut in the show's second season.

Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
The season 2 finale also revealed the emergence of a new drug that can enhance Grisha and make them deadly, an important plot point for the Six of Crows spin-off (Netflix)

Narratively speaking the story in King of Scars and Rule of Wolves could have been condensed into a third and final season, if Netflix had chosen, and it would have given fans a satisfying conclusion to the franchise because that is where the Grishaverse books have ended (so far, anyway).

While the Shadow and Bone trilogy was the beginning of the Grishaverse, Bardugo truly hit her stride when writing the Six of Crows duology and continued to build on this momentum with the King of Scars books. Bringing an intense and fascinating story to life within the world she had created, and writing what is universally agreed as her best work with Six of Crows.

By choosing not to adapt these four books, Netflix loses out on the quality source material that could have marked the peak of the franchise.

The Six of Crows spin-off is what fans have been waiting for

Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
Fans of Leigh Bardugo's novels are mostly in agreement that the Six of Crows duology is her best, and were keen to see it be adapted into a spin-off (Netflix)

Bardugo's Grishaverse has an avidly loyal fanbase, all of whom have been waiting patiently to see her Six of Crows duology finally get adapted for the screen because, as mentioned, fans are mostly in agreement that the author's best work within the franchise is the Six of Crows duology.

The characters are so beloved that they were brought in from the get go in the Shadow and Bone adaptation because the writers understood that even if they weren't actually in the original trilogy they are the characters that fans most wanted to see.

Six of Crows immediately became a trending topic following the release of the first season, and continued to do so when the second season came out — with many fans making the spin-off a trending subject as well in order to show their desire for it to be made.

Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
Season 2 set the stage for the spin-off, which would have seen the Crows break out Matthias Helvar (Calahan Skogman, pictured) from Hellgate prison and embark on a heist (Netflix)

Seasons 1 and 2 provided a glorious introduction to the characters, using as much of the narrative threads from Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom to build out their respective backstories whilst still leaving the main storyline —a heist to capture the scientist who created the aforementioned enhancement drug— for a prospective spin-off.

What is also worth mentioning is that no adaptation has had as perfect casting as Shadow and Bone, the Crows especially felt like they had stepped straight off the page and onto the screen.

Everything was ready for the spin-off: Kaz had told the crew of the emergence of the drug Jurda Parem and the job they had been hired to do, while Matthias' imprisonment gave the Crows the impetus they needed to break him out of prison for the heist. Sure, Suman's Inej had gone off on her own adventure but this simply would have added to the drama of the spin-off.

All Netflix had to do was jump, and they have wasted a perfectly good opportunity by deciding not to go through with the spin-off when the avid fanbase is there and waiting.

Can fans give the series a new lease of life?

Shadow and Bone (Netflix)
Shadow and Bone could well be brought back by fans if backlash is strong enough, as other shows have been brought back from cancellation before (Netflix)

There is a history of cancelled shows being brought back from cancellation in the past, Lucifer for example was cancelled by Fox only to be picked up by Netflix shortly thereafter. Prime Video similarly picked up The Expanse after it was cancelled by Syfy.

Warrior Nun was cancelled by Netflix after its second season, but thanks to consistent calls for the franchise to return it was able to find a new lease of life with a trilogy of films. This, too, is possible for Shadow and Bone and the Six of Crows spin-off in theory.

Fans have since launched a petition on to call for the show to return, with it garnering over 120,000 signatures in the space of just a few days. The petition has come to the attention of the show's cast and Bardugo, who have shared it with their social media followers as well.

Whether this petition will help bring the show and its spin-off back is anyone's guess, but given the loyalty of the Grishaverse fanbase, and the rich source material that is still to be tapped, it can only help for fans to try and have their voices heard because it would be a waste for the show not to be saved.

Shadow and Bone seasons one and two are available to watch on Netflix.