Lewis Tan as Toyla in season 2 of Shadow and Bone

INTERVIEW: Lewis Tan Unpacks Fighting as a Twin in ‘Shadow and Bone’

Shadow and Bone has come back to fans of the Grishaverse and season 2 is another great look into the world that Leigh Bardugo’s work. And season 2 is bringing in a lot of new characters for fans to fall in love with. One of those characters is Tolya Yul-Bataar. Played by Lewis Tan, he’s a character who is working with Alina and Mal but we have a lot of learning to do about his character. Still, it’s Lewis Tan so you know that he’s going to bring an awesome performance to the show.

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Tan plays Tolya in season 2 of Shadow and Bone and while it is Lewis Tan being the badass we know him to be from his past work, we also get to see him shine in a new way. We were lucky enough to talk with Tan at the round table for the season 2 premiere of Shadow and Bone. So I asked what was different about the fighting style of Shadow and Bone versus something like his work in Mortal Combat.

“The approach is similar in the sense that you’re trying to perform and do the physical acts within the truthful emotion of the character,” Tan said. “That’s always my approach to how I like to do it. But each one is different. And then in this one, I’m playing a twin. I have a twin, when I’m with my twin, we fight together. We can almost read each other’s thoughts, read each other’s body language. We move almost as one. So when we’re fighting, the Volcra for instance, it just has this kind of working off of each other tone. And I think that that was something that I hadn’t done before, which was really unique and really fun experience for me. So yeah, I enjoyed that quite a lot.”

Tolya’s twin named Tamar Kir-Bataar is played beautifully by Anna Leong Brophy and you can really see how the two worked together to bring that bond to life and it’s an amazing addition to season 2 of Shadow and Bone!

(Featured image: Dávid Lukács/Netflix)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.