‘Shadow and Bone’: Ben Barnes Initially Turned Down the Role of General Kirigan

Netflix‘s latest series, Shadow and Bone, has the world abuzz. The series has elements of fantasy, drama and science fiction, and with an iconic heroine at the center, what more could you want?

From the beautiful set designs to the costuming and the mystery, there are so many details about the series that we’ve only just begun to unpack. However, the show almost didn’t pan out how fans see it now. Actor Ben Barnes, who places the stoic General Kirigan on the series, initially turned down the role.

Ben Barns as The Darkling/ General Kirigan in 'Shadow and Bone
Ben Barns as The Darkling/ General Kirigan in ‘Shadow and Bone’ | David Appleby/ NETFLIX

What is Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ about?

Based on Leigh Bardugo’s beloved book series, Netflix’s Shadow and Bone follows Alina Starkov – an orphan turned map-maker who finds herself thrust into the spotlight after uncovering some untapped magical powers.

Shadow and Bone finds us in a war-torn world where lowly soldier and orphan Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free,” the official Netflix synopsis reads. It continues,

With the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha. But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be one and the same and that nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive.

In addition to Li, Ben Barnes, Amita Suman, Freddy Carter, Archie Renaux, and Kit Young also star on the show.

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Ben Barnes initially turned down the role of General Kirigan on ‘Shadow and Bone’

Shadow and Bone is filmed in Budapest and the Hungarian countryside, a world away from many of the actors’ homes. As a result, Barnes initially had no interest in joining the series.

“It’s difficult to uproot your life and go to Eastern Europe or wherever it might be in the world that isn’t your home for half the year, and you don’t know if you’re going to do more series,” Barnes told Metro.”So I said, ‘I don’t think this is something I want to be involved in’.”

In the end, Barnes was convinced to join the show after reading Bardugo’s first book and having a meeting with the showrunner, Eric Heisserer.

“He sort of talked me through the series and the themes that he wanted to highlight… So I felt like I was involved in this world already. I immediately became quite invested,” Barnes explained.

Will there be a Season 2 of ‘Shadow and Bone’?

Though the show is already getting a ton of buzz, Netflix has not yet renewed it for a second season. However, based on the reception and the wealth of material, we’d say that renewal is on the horizon.

“We really hope this is a show that people fall in love with because I know that I did making them,” Young told Cosmopolitan U.K. “It’s a beautiful world to escape into… [we’re] keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that people respond well to it.”