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Shadow and Bone showrunner explains why the Darkling’s name was changed

Eric Heisserer revealed the reasoning behind one of the most controversial changes from Leigh Bardugo's books.

The Darkling Shadow and Bone

When it was announced Netflix was set to adapt Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows books, fans of the popular fantasy series were delighted. Then it was revealed one of its main characters would be given a different name, prompting many to question the move on social media.

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Last year, it was confirmed The Darkling, played by Ben Barnes in the upcoming adaptation, would be referred to as General Kirigan. In Leigh Bardugo’s books, he is exclusively addressed as The Darkling and his name is not revealed until the trilogy’s final book.

In a recent interview with RadioTimes.com, showrunner Eric Heisserer and Bardugo herself explained why the change was necessary.

“We just wanted to make sure that people had a name that they could call him outside of the General,” Heisserer said. “This is one of those changes where it works really well on the page, it doesn’t really bother you, but then the moment you get actors in a room and you have [the actors] speaking to Ben Barnes it starts to get weird.”

He added: “Like, is it General Darkling? Mr. Darkling? The? Do we just start with The as his first name? It got weirder and weirder as we went into it.”

Leigh Bardugo offered some help, stating: “You just have to think of him as The Rock, Eric.”

“Right, exactly. Can you smell what The Darkling is summoning?!” Heisserer said.

We’re sure The Rock would do just as good a job at leading Shadow and Bone’s Grisha – the name for the Grishaverse’s equivalent to witches and wizards – though he might struggle with the shadow summoning part of General Kirigan/The Darkling’s job…

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Shadow and Bone will be available to stream on Netflix from Friday 23rd April. Want more show content? Discover where Shadow and Bone was filmed, or find out who stars in the Shadow and Bone cast. For inspiration on what to watch next, check out our TV Guide or our dedicated Sci-Fi & Fantasy hub.