Shadow and Bone has been canceled after two seasons on Netflix. Deadline reported the news and Leigh Bardugo, who wrote the bestselling book series that the Netflix original series is based on, confirmed that Shadow and Bone season 3 and the Six of Crows spinoff had been scrapped.
Unfortunately, this is the confirmation fans have been dreading for months. As recently as Nov. 8, the fate of Shadow and Bone seemed to be up in the air. Shadow and Bone writer Christina Strain posted on X (formerly Twitter) that they’re “still waiting on Netflix” to decide whether the series will get renewed or not. She lamented the fact she has nothing new to share, but had encouraged fans to continue making their voices heard as she believed the fans rallying around the show have been making an impact.
Additionally, author Leigh Bardugo, creator of the Shadow and Bone universe, shared an Instagram post with a screenshot of Strain’s statement to her Instagram Stories, further confirming what the writer said. Bardugo also added some black heart emoji, probably as a way to show some love to the fans who have been trying to get the show renewed for months now. So, it seems that this decision was shared with the creative team rather recently.
Many were hopeful Netflix would have something to say at the TUDUM event this past June, but sadly, that didn’t happen. It appears the writers’ and actors’ strike delay seemed to play into the cancellation, according to Deadline, but the overall issue seemed to be the viewership numbers, which were likely lower than the first season and some of the lowest of the year for Netflix shows that already had been renewed.
Earlier this year, Sophie Holland, the Shadow and Bone casting director, told Deadline in May 2023 that they are “really hoping for a third season.”
"“It seems to have a huge fan base. It’s a fresh, up-and-coming cast and the story is very faithful to the books, which is refreshing. It’s all about that first month’s performance on Netflix, I guess, so we’ll find out soon if it’s being recommissioned. It’s a tricky time, as you noted, so we’ll see.”"
About a month later, the LA Times wrote an interesting article about how fans have tried to “game” the system to inflate viewership numbers and increase the odds of their favorite shows getting renewed.
Shadow and Bone fans were highlighted in the piece, and the final paragraph of the article states that “Netflix said it hasn’t made a decision on ‘Shadow and Bone’ Season 3 yet.” It sounded like the author might have reached out to the streamer for comment, meaning that as of June, the show, at least, wasn’t canceled yet.
Shadow and Bone season 2 viewership numbers
According to Netflix, fans watched roughly 160 million hours of Shadow and Bone season 2 in its first four weeks after release (Update: A previous version of this story inaccurately represented the number of hours watched in Shadow and Bone‘s first four weeks). That’s not a bad number by any means, but it’s not nearly as high as some of the major Netflix hits we’ve seen lately.
Fans watched roughly 150 million hours of Outer Banks season 3 in its first week. Fans watched almost 170 million hours of The Night Agent in its first week. Ginny and Georgia season 3 pulled more than 160 million hours in its first week. Unfortunately, that number likely puts Shadow and Bone season 3 in jeopardy of being canceled.
Overall, the lower viewership numbers are still higher than we’ve seen for many Netflix shows that have gotten canceled. If there are high numbers of people watching the full season of Shadow and Bone season 2 and actually finishing the season, that’s also a big indicator to Netflix that people are enjoying the season even if that overall number is a bit lower than the bigger hits.
Six of Crows also canceled
As we learned after season 2 premiered, there were already plans in place for a Shadow and Bone spinoff based on Six of Crows, which is the fourth book of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse, but it focuses on Kaz, Jesper, Inej, Wylan, Nina, and Matthias. In the book, the “six of crows” take their talents to Fjerda for a major heist at the Ice Court, one of the most well-defended places in the country and probably the world.
Although Netflix and the Deadline report did not include Six of Crows, Bardugo confirmed that Six of Crows is also off the table and not happening at Netflix.
FanSided Entertainment Staff contributed to this report.