‘Shadow and Bone’ Canceled at Netflix; Won’t Return for Season 3

The show is one of the biggest casualties from the Hollywood strikes.

Kasey Moore What's on Netflix Avatar
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shadow and bone canceled at netflix

Picture: Netflix

After a two-year hiatus, Shadow and Bone season 2 returned to Netflix in early 2023, and after months of waiting, it’s finally been confirmed that Shadow and Bone won’t return for a third season.

Based on the Grishaverse books by Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone is Netflix’s big-budget fantasy show helmed by Eric Heisserer and starring Jessie Mei Li, Archie Renaux, Freddy Carter, and Ben Barnes. Season 1 landed on Netflix in April 2021, with season 2 released almost two years later in March 2023.


Has Shadow and Bone been renewed for a season 3?

Official Renewal Status: Canceled
Our Renewal Prediction: Likely Cancelation (Last updated: April 4th, 2023)

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In November 2023, just as Hollywood got moving again following months of strikes from both writers and actors, Deadline confirmed that Shadow & Bone wouldn’t be returning for any additional episodes.

The cancelation of Shadow and Bone will come down to the numbers, given it didn’t earn itself an early renewal upfront. As we’ve covered before, Netflix shows have to meet several internal metrics used at Netflix, with one of the most important metrics, we’re told, being the completion rate.

The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes also played a major role in the show’s future. Writers on the show would be prohibited from returning to work on the show until the strike has been resolved, which, as it stands, remains unclear. On top of the fact that the show would likely be two years away (which we’ve seen damages a show’s viewership repeatedly), it made the future look bleak.

shadow and bone season 2 march 2023

Picture: Netflix

What have Netflix and people tied to the show said about a renewal before its cancelation?

Sophie Holland, the casting director on the series, told Deadline in late-May 2023 (notably over two months after the season 2 premiere):

“…as for Shadow And Bone, we’re 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.”

Before the cancelation, the last update came in mid-June 2023 with an LA Times post about how fandoms are trying to game the system to renew their shows. Toward the end of the article, it states:

“Netflix said it hasn’t made a decision on “Shadow and Bone” Season 3 yet. As with many shows across the entertainment industry, programming conversations are on hold due to the writers’ strike, a company spokesperson said.”

It’s worth noting that the social media accounts for the show have gone silent for over three months at the time of updating. The last official Twitter post came on May 5th, 2023. Netflix’s TUDUM website notably hasn’t posted any Shadow and Bone content since March.


How well did Shadow and Bone Season 2 perform on Netflix?

So, how well did Shadow and Bone season 2 perform on Netflix? We’ve tracked the show’s progress using several sources, including Netflix.

Netflix Top 10 Hourly Numbers

Let’s begin with Netflix itself, which releases hourly data for its top 40 shows and movies every Tuesday.

It featured in the Netflix top 10s for five weeks, picking up 160.79 million hours watched. Here’s how those hours break down from week to week:

Week Period Hours Viewed(M) Rank Week in Top 10
March 12th, 2023 to March 19th, 2023 50,400,000 2 1
March 19th, 2023 to March 26th, 2023 55,030,000 (+9%) 2 2
March 26th, 2023 to April 2nd, 2023 27,000,000 (-51%) 3 3
April 2nd, 2023 to April 9th, 2023 16,740,000 (-38%) 6 4
April 9th, 2023 to April 16th, 2023 11,620,000 (-31%) 9 5

Sadly, we’re unable to compare viewing hours of season 2 with season 1 because these weren’t released and are a relatively new thing Netflix has introduced. Instead, we only learned that 55 million people watched season 1 in the first 28 days.

Its opening weekend could be illustrative of the problem, we’ve compared the show’s second season purely to other genre shows in their first week; we can see Shadow and Bone is set between two groups of shows thus far, meaning, in our opinion, it’s currently skirting the line.

Title Week 1 – Hours in Top 10s Status
The Sandman 69,480,000 Renewed
Vikings: Valhalla S2 55,350,000 Renewed
Shadow And Bone S2 50,400,000 Unknown
Raising Dion S2 49,090,000 Canceled
Fate: The Winx Saga 48,960,000 Canceled
Warrior Nun S2 26,220,000 Canceled

How does the CVE (complete viewing equivalent – divide the number of hours vs. the show’s runtime) look? It tells the same story, with the show struggling to get more CVE than Sweet Tooth season 2 after its first 14 days:

shadow and bone season 2 cve viewership

In week 2, our top 10 report looked at the evolution of the series and compare it to several other YA fantasy shows that also weren’t renewed:

shadow and bone vs other canceled netflix originals

Shadow and Bone S2 vs. Fate: The Winx Saga vs. Warrior Nun vs. Raising Dion S2


Completion data for Shadow and Bone season 2

Thanks to exclusive data from PlumResearch, we’ve got an idea as to how many people started and went onto finish the show (at least from their broad US panel of viewers).

Their data states:

  • After seven days, 36.3% of people who had started the second season had finished
  • After 28 days, 52.2% of people who had started the second season had finished
  • After 90 days, 56.8% of people who had started the second season finished.

More completion data from them released in July allows us to compare with other shows.

Title CR 7D (%) CR 28D (%) CR 90D (%)
Ginny & Georgia S2 47.90% 69.60% 73.70%
Manifest S4 46.90% 68.90% 73.10%
Firefly Lane S2 44.60% 65.50% 70%
Outer Banks S3 44.70% 62.40% 66%
The Night Agent S1 42.30% 56.60% 59.60%
Love is Blind S4 61.70% 44.70% 52.70%
That ’90s Show S1 39.10% 47.40% 49%
The Recruit S1 30.20% 45.40% 48.40%
Unstable S1 32% 40.60% 42.70%

Raw Top 10 Data from FlixPatrol

One positive sign for the show is its ability to stick around in the top 10s for a sustained period of time.

According to FlixPatrol, the show was still the fourth biggest around the globe as of April 4th, 2023, and showed particular strength in countries like Australia, the Nordics, and Central to East Europe.

At the very least, we’d be looking for Shadow and Bone to stay in the top 10s until a month has passed since season 2 debuted.

shadow and bone flixpatrol top 10s


External Data Demand for Shadow and Bone

TelevisionStats.com uses metrics from around the web, including Wikipedia traffic, IMDb traffic, Twitter, Reddit, and Torrents, to judge the most “in-demand” shows at any given time. Shadow and Bone look to have performed well in this department:

 

televisionstats data for shadow and bone

TelevisionStats.com for Shadow and Bone

How about critical consensus?

On that front, things look decent. Season 2 on RottenTomatoes scored well with critics (just like season 1), with an 84% rating compared to the 89% for season 1.

IMDb scores for the individual episodes in season 2 ranged from 7.6 to 8.6.

shadow and bone reviews

Picture: RottenTomatoes


Nielsen Top 10 Data for Shadow and Bone Season 2

Moving onto Nielsen’s top 10 data (also tracked via our top 10 search tool), we can see how the show has evolved from season 1 to season 2. Their data tracks connected device viewership, specifically in the United States.

As seen below, the show had good viewership in week one and week two but notably didn’t grow between those two weeks and, worse yet, saw around a 50% drop in week 3:

nielsen top 10 data for shadow and bone

Nielsen top 10 data for Shadow and Bone


What We Expected from Shadow and Bone Season 3

There’s a lot of stories left to be told in Shadow and Bone season 3, even though much of the leading book trilogy has now been adapted (somewhat controversially, it has to be said), with season 2 covering much of the events of Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising.

The finale of season 2 shows us the Darkling’s death but notably diverges from the books by splitting the pair up and introducing a new darkness into Alina’s world.

The show’s creators have teased that any new season would consist of a mix of new original material while also weaving in some of the King of Scars duology novels.

Netflix Life detailed some of the biggest burning questions for season 3, including:

  • Is Alina now a Shadow Summoner?
  • What’s happening to Nikolai at the end of Shadow and Bone season 2?
  • What is the drug “jurda parem” the Crows are trying to stop?
shadow and bone season 3 what to expect

Shadow and Bone. (L to R) Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov, Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev in episode 201 of Shadow and Bone. Cr. Dávid Lukács/Netflix © 2023


Will there be a Shadow and Bone Spinoff?

Since season 1 debuted, there’s been constant rumors of a Six of Crows spin-off.

Eric Heisserer confirmed these plans to Entertainment Weekly on March 16th, telling the access outlet the spin-off would “be its own little season of fun that our characters would get to be a part of,” but added that it depends largely on the numbers for season 2.

“There’s a lot of work that’s gone into the planning of this. The hope is then we get to act on that planning,” Heisserer told EW. “But of course, it’s about how well season 2 numbers do. And if so, then Daegan and I will continue to carry the mantle of both shows, which is also helpful because we have a lot of mouths to feed” — in terms of giving screen time to all the actors.”

Numerous production listing websites and outlets have confirmed that Six of Crows is in “active development,”

Netflix told us that while a Six of Crows series has been in development, it isn’t near a greenlit stage as of early 2023.

In November 2023, alongside the cancelation of season 3, Leigh Bardugo confirmed that the Six of Crows spin-off had also been scrapped.


Shadow and Bone: Enter the Fold Had a Quiet Release at Geeked Week

shadow and bone enter the fold game releases on netflix

In 2022, Netflix announced it would release a mobile companion game for Shadow and Bone slated for release in 2023, which quietly launched at Geeked Week 2023.

Here’s what you can expect from the title per the game’s developer, Chimera Entertainment:

“Shadow and Bone: Destinies is a single-player role-playing game for Netflix’s gaming service on mobile devices, based on the IP of the same name. Players choose a variety of heroes to journey across the world of the Grishaverse in a story-driven quest to fulfill their destinies. Along the way, they will have to manage scarce resources, uncover clues about their destiny, and interact in a wide variety of events, such as using Grisha magic, stealth, negotiation, and combat. The game could also be described as a modern “choose your own adventure” game, with a healthy dose of RPG and episodic storytelling.”


Did you want to see the return of Shadow and Bone for a season 3 and a spin-off? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by

Founder of What's on Netflix, Kasey has been tracking the comings and goings of the Netflix library for over a decade. Covering everything from new movies, series and games from around the world, Kasey is in charge of covering breaking news, covering all the new additions now available on Netflix and what's coming next.

 Poster Rating: TV-14
Language: English
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Cast: Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Archie Renaux
Season Additions:
  • - Season 2 was added to Netflix on March 16th, 2023
  • - Season 1 was added to Netflix on April 23rd, 2021
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