Shadow & Bone is based off of the Leigh Bardugo novel of the same name, set in her Grisha universe. In the Netflix version of the popular fantasy works, Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) is separated from her childhood best friend Mal Oretsev (Archie Renaux) after her striking superpowers are discovered. She’s then taken into the custody of the mysterious General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), who helps her learn more about her natural abilities and tap into her true power after whisking her away on a pirate ship to the famed Little Palace in Ravka's capital.
Even though the Grisha (magical beings gifted with the ability to manipulate Earth’s elements at will) aren’t necessarily uncommon in this world, Alina has something particularly special. Unbeknownst to her, she’s a Grisha of the legendary sorts, the kind with the ability to call forth the power of the sun itself. And that kind of extraordinary skill set will definitely come in handy in the final battle between light and darkness.
If you’re already familiar with Shadow & Bone, the trailer’s dark and sprawling universe is perfectly canon, but newbies might be awed by its many layers. Netflix is simply building on Bardugo’s work, taking the rich characters and vast setting that she created in the trilogy and the many stories that followed within the Grishaverse. It won't play out exactly like the books — a certain Darkling isn't even explicitly mentioned in the trailer — but given Netflix's history of turning out massively successful titles based off of books (The Witcher, Bridgerton, The Queen's Gambit), you can feel confident that the streamer will do this story justice.
The Grishaverse is very complicated, composed of many different full-length books and a number of short stories, but Netflix is to bring it all together in a fresh and nostalgic way.