Top Stories

'Shadow & Bone' Author, Showrunner & Star Open Up About Why Alina's Race Was Changed From The Books

'Shadow & Bone' Author, Showrunner & Star Open Up About Why Alina's Race Was Changed From The Books

Shadow and Bone fans are well aware that the race of main character Alina Starkov was changed from the books for the new Netflix series, and the showrunner Eric Heisserer and author Leigh Bardugo are revealing why.

In the book, Alina is described as a fair skinned woman, and was teased as a kid for being “pale and sour, like a glass of milk that’s turned.”

For the series, Alina was updated to be half Shu, with Jessie Mei Li cast in the part.

Click inside to see the reason why Alina’s race was changed…

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Leigh explained that she had written the book as “very white.”

“I’m very proud of ‘Shadow and Bone’, but I’m also conscious of its shortcomings,” Leigh says. “I wrote this very white, very straight ‘chosen one’ story that was rooted in echoes of what I had grown up reading in terms of fantasy, but certainly didn’t reflect the world around me or the world that I live in.”

Leigh, who serves as an executive producer on the show, adds that “we knew we wanted to make some changes there, and it made a lot of sense for us to write Alina as half Shu.”

Jessie Mei Li as Alina in Shadow and Bone

Eric then brought in writer Christina Strain, who is half Korean, and became the go-to for Alina’s race.

“The question at the heart of Alina is, Where do I belong?” he says. “For me to be able to represent that on the screen more easily, it felt like the right choice.”

Jessie also had her own interpretation of the character.

“In the books, she’s an outsider. She doesn’t really believe that she’s important, and she has this drive to prove herself. And she’s quite patriotic,” she explains. “I feel like what happened with translating that to the screen and then adding this layer of her history and background, it gave new meaning to all of these things that were already there.”

Shadow and Bone, also starring Ben Barnes and Freddy Carter, is streaming now on Netflix.

Find out what Ben shared about his own casting story…

Just Jared on Facebook
alina race change shadow bone reason 01
alina race change shadow bone reason 02
alina race change shadow bone reason 03
alina race change shadow bone reason 04
alina race change shadow bone reason 05
alina race change shadow bone reason 06
alina race change shadow bone reason 07
alina race change shadow bone reason 08
alina race change shadow bone reason 09
alina race change shadow bone reason 10

Photos: Netflix
Posted to: Jessie Mei Li, Netflix, Shadow and Bone

JJ Links Around The Web

Photo of Private: JJ Links Around The Web
Getty Images