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‘Shadow and Bone’ Season 2: Will the Darkling Return?

Ben Barnes in Shadow and Bone

This post contains spoilers for Shadow and Bone Season 1.

Season 1 of Shadow and Bone, based on the YA fantasy series by Leigh Bardugo, ended on a thrilling cliffhanger. Alina, under Kirigan’s control, is forced to help him quell the rebellion in West Ravka, but she frees herself by cutting the piece of the white stag’s antler out of his hand. After Mal and Kirigan are thrown off the ship, Kirigan is attacked by a volcra and seemingly torn to pieces, allowing Alina and the others to flee to safety. As Alina, Mal, Kaz, Inej, and Jasper board a ship headed for Ketterdam, Alina remarks that she’s safe to explore her powers now that the Darkling is dead. But is he really? Will the Shadow and Bone Darkling, AKA Kirigan, return in season 2?

If you watched all the way to the end of the season 1 finale, you no doubt saw that, contrary to what Alina thinks, Kirigan is very much still alive. The very last scene shows him crawling out of the Fold, no worse for wear after his tussle with the volcra. As he walks away, Kirigan looks behind him and says, “Follow.” Numerous volcra leave the Fold to shuffle after him.

On Valentine’s Day 2023, Netflix released a promo showing the Darkling’s return.

In the promo, the Darkling emerges from the Fold, his face covered in scratches. “I have returned,” he says, “and I’ve made some new friends.”

Now that Kirigin is back, what can we expect in the next chapter of Shadow and Bone?

The Darkling in the YA Trilogy

The original Shadow and Bone is the first book in a trilogy, followed by Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising. At the beginning of Siege and Storm, Alina and Mal are living in Novyi Zem, keeping a low profile, far from Ravka. It’s not long before the Darkling catches up with them, though. It turns out he’s been tracking them and has managed to find them even on the other side of the True Sea. The Darkling remains Alina’s nemesis throughout the entire trilogy, forcing her to push herself farther than she ever thought she could go (in order to defeat him).

Of course, the Netflix series has changed some major details from the books—incorporating characters from the Six of Crows duology, making Alina half Shu—but the overall story arc seems more or less intact so far. It’s safe to say that the Darkling will stick around until the very end of the series.

So don’t fret, Ben Barnes fans! General Kirigan isn’t done with us yet. In fact, he’s just getting started.

Shadow and Bone season 2 comes out on March 16, 2023.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and covers film, television, and books for The Mary Sue. When she's not making yarn on her spinning wheel, she consumes massive amounts of Marvel media, folk horror, science fiction, fantasy, and nature writing. You can check out more of her writing at, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.