Shadow and Bone’s New York Comic Con Panel Was a Full-On Lovefest

Shadow and Bone’s New York Comic Con Panel Was a Full-On Lovefest

Covering New York Comic Con is not a sprint, but a marathon. And every now and then you get to take a break and really enjoy a panel. Within the crash of cosplay, incredible artists, and a barrage of news, the Shadow and Bone panel with author Leigh Bardugo and Netflix series stars Amita Suman (Inej Ghafa), Freddy Carter (Kaz Brekker), Kit Young (Jesper Fahey), and Ben Barnes (General Kirigan/the Darkling) was a breath of fresh air.

This was the panel where it truly seemed that the cast was having a great time hanging out together and talking with Bardugo about the series. When Bardugo entered to magnificent fanfare, she said it was like “walking into a wrestling match.” Let it be known that Barnes’ first words of the panel were “I’ll wrestle.” The man continued to flirt with everyone the entire time, and it was, quite frankly, delightful.

The panel focused a lot on how Bardugo viewed the adaptation and the kind of work that went into it. Netflix’s Shadow and Bone is a mash-up of two of her series within the Grishaverse; her original Shadow and Bone series (a YA trilogy that, while definitely enjoyable, is relatively standard fare for a YA series) and her Six of Crows duology (a pair of books that became my entire personality for nearly eight months, they were that good). When asked what she thought of putting the two properties together, she said that she had the option of making one adaptation (Shadow and Bone) and then possibly making a second adaptation later, or “I could just smash the two vehicles together and see what happens.”

The cast seemed to bond really well on set. Bardugo mentioned that during one of her first visits to the set she was in a tent next to the green room, and she could hear the actors doing a singalong next door. “I believe it was ‘Zero to Hero’,” Young clarified. “From Hercules?” The cast, it must be noted, refused to perform for the audience. Fair enough, that was clearly a private and special moment.

Speaking of private moments, during the fan Q&A one audience member asked about a video that Barnes has alluded to that includes Carter in his Kaz costume (which includes black leather gloves) eating a banana. “First off, it was a picture,” said Barnes, “and second, I’ve made it clear to Freddy — Mr. Carter, as he prefers I call him — ” Young jumped in, “that’s what his lawyers have told you.”

“Mr. Carter knows that I will only release that photo if and when he gives me permission,” Barnes said. When asked for a response, Carter said “that was an intimate and private moment between friends. Next question.” Barnes immediately retorted, “now seems like a good time to mention I was naked when I took the photo.”

I know this is a lot more words typed than needed to convey that this panel was a delightful mess of cast interactions, but I need the readership to understand that when I say Freddy Carter turned a deep red, I mean it was visible from the back of the largest room in NYCC. It was one of the best moments of the panel, which clearly went exactly how Carter planned and was not embarrassing whatsoever.

Another moment worth relating is when Barnes and Suman recreated one of their few on-screen interactions on stage. “So here we are, episode eight,” Barnes said, standing on one side of the stage. “We all remember this moment where Inej throws a certain weapon, of which she has many, into the Darkling’s heart area. It was not a real knife, so we mimed this bit… but every single time for some unknown reason, and nobody asked her to do this,” Barnes explained, absolutely playing the audience like a wind up toy, “Every single time that Amita threw this particular weapon this would come out of her mouth… and action.”

Across the stage, Amita Suman, the queen of my entire heart, yells “Knife!” and mimes throwing a knife at Barnes. The crowd goes wild. They do it a second time. Then Barnes explained it became a bit of an inside joke and they would just yell “knife!” at each other during production. Another great interaction happened when a man came up to the microphone and asked Bardugo how she felt about fans who had come to her work through the television show. Bardugo was gracious, of course, and said that the whole point of the show was to bring in new fans. There was a threat of “Knife!” from Suman, but “the more the merrier,” Young said later. “That said,” Bardugo stared right at the fan, “go buy my books.”

Shadow and Bone’s second season will hit Netflix in 2023.

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