Freeform's Shadowhunters — one of the network's newer shows — is a loose adaptation of the best-selling The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Based upon the vast Shadow World that Clare created in her novels, Shadowhunters is a soft-reboot for the small screen of the 2013 film adaptation of the novels. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie starred Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower in the main roles, and incidentally didn't do so well — hence the lack of sequel films and the series move to television.
Welcome To The Shadow World: What Exactly Is 'Shadowhunters'?
To be exact, Shadowhunters is a season and a half of fantasy television centered around an 18-year-old art student and newbie to the Shadow World, with no knowledge of its depths or dangers. On her 18th birthday, Clary Fray — the aforementioned art student — discovers that she's no regular human (know as a "mundane"), she is in fact half-Nephilim (angel) and therefore part of an elite breed of warriors known as Shadowhunters.
Tasked with protecting the Shadow World and Downworlders (Vampires, Werewolves, Faeries), Shadowhunters are trained to fight and kill demons with weapons specially forged for this exact purpose. Shadowhunters are often seen primarily in black (they wear white for funerals) and covered in Runes — essentially tattoos — that allow them certain special abilities to aid them in their work. To draw these runes, Shadowhunters use a tool called a stele, and together with their most commonly used weapon — a Seraph Blade — is the main thing every Shadowhunter carries with them.
Season 1 follows her tumultuous venture into this world she is unexpectedly thrown into after her mother goes missing. Season 2 picks up with Clary now significantly more confident in her abilities, having taken fully to life as a Shadowhunter.
The Cast: How Many Wonderfully Diverse Actors Are Behind The Characters From The Book?
Shadowhunters has a wonderfully diverse cast behind the characters from the books, and is in fact one of the most diverse #youngadult adaptations to ever make it to TV. A significant portion of the cast behind the main characters are people of color, as well as many of the supporting cast and background actors. This commitment to showing diversity on screen really sets the standard for other Young Adult adaptations, which are so often filled to bursting with only white actors, and — if you're lucky — one or two token people of color.
1. The Lightwoods: Meet The Badass Family Of Shadowhunters Played Primarily By Latinx Actors!
The Lightwoods are the heads of The New York Institute (the training place and asylum for Shadowhunters) and are an intelligent, highly trained and all-round badass family! They're made up of mother and father Maryse (Nicola Correia-Damude) and Robert Lightwood (Paulino Nunes), and siblings Max (youngest, Jack Fulton), Isabelle (Emeraude Toubia) and Alec (Matthew Daddario). Emeraude and Nicola round out the Latinas of the family, Paulino is Portuguese and Matt is of mostly Italian descent.
2. Meet The Sparkliest Warlock To Ever Warlock: Magnus Bae! Ahem, I Mean Bane.
Magnus Bane is the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and though they'll never mention that High Warlock part in the show, it's an important fact to remember. He is the most badass Warlock of them all, and incidentally is the show's resident out-and-proud bisexual character. Played by Harry Shum Jr, who you may recognize as Mike Chang from #Glee, Magnus is the most well-developed and probably most interesting character on the show. His character goes a long way in helping Alec, and together with Emeraude, Isaiah and Alberto (we'll get to him next) makes up a quarter of the ethnic folks at the forefront of the cast — that is, actors cast in lead roles as main characters, as opposed to being cast as afterthoughts and tokens.
3) Meet Jace Wayland: He Has Four Family Names And Is A Sarcastic Little Sh*t But We Love Him!
Jace Wayland / Morgernstern / Lightwood / Herondale, is one badass Shadowhunter and the adopted son of the Lightwoods. He was taken in by the Lightwood family as a kid, and grew up alongside Izzy, Alec and Max. He's incredibly sarcastic, even more cocky and is ridiculously good at his job. He's BFFs with Alec, and is also his Parabatai (a sacred bond between Shadowhunters bound to fight side-by-side. Think of it like BFFs for life, no backsies!). He's played by the stupendously handsome Dom Sherwood, who you may recognize from his brilliant portrayal of Christian Ozera in the 2014 disaster of a movie, #VampireAcademy.
4) The Friend-Zoned Cutie: Meet Simon Lewis In All His Nerdy Glory!
Adorably nerdy little cupcake, Simon Lewis will likely be one of your favorite characters on the show. He's essentially all of us: friendly, hilarious and incredibly loyal to childhood BFF Clary. He's charming and a gentlemen, but as with most friend-zoned nerds, hasn't quite figured out how to get the girl of his dreams yet. He's played by Latino actor, Alberto Rosende — another departure in race from his book counterpart — and is a part of the core cast of the show.
5) The Primary Antagonist: Meet Valentine! He's Bald, A Little Crazy And Has A Legion Of Followers!
You may immediately recognize Valentine as King Henry from #Reign, and you'd be 100% right. Valentine - the primary antagonist of the show, a man high on power with a crazed idealistic future in mind, is played by the brilliantly talented Alan Van Sprang. Noticeably different from the movie's interpretation of the character, this version is every bit as sinister and cunning as his book counterpart.
Special Mentions - Some Of The Incredibly Talented Supporting Cast And Characters!
The already wonderfully diverse cast is rounded out by its stellar supporting cast, who play a mix of Vampires, Werewolves, Faeries and a Shadowhunter. From the top row left to right we have Alisha Wainwright as Werewolf, Maia Roberts; Kaitlyn Leeb as head of the New York Vampire Clan, Camille Belcourt; and Jade Houssane as Seelie (Faerie), Knight Meliorn.
From the bottom row left to right is Nick Sagar as Victor Aldertree, a Shadowhunter and all-round shady character; David Castro as Raphael Santiago, a Vampire and the right hand man to Camille; and lastly, Joel Labelle as Luke's right hand man, Werewolf Alaric.
Where To Watch 'Shadowhunters' In The US And Internationally
Thankfully, no matter where you are in the world you can be sure to never miss an episode of Shadowhunters. If you're in the States you can binge-watch Seasons 1 through 2A on the Freeform App. Alternatively you can catch it on the Freeform channel on June 5th for the premiere of Season 2B.
For international fans, you can catch Shadowhunters on Netflix, which should have the episodes weekly, less than 24 hours after they air in the States for most countries. Right now you can binge watch Seasons 1 through 2A on Netflix in preparation for a June 6th Season 2B premiere!
Casting News, Updates, Episode Guides, Recaps, Spoilers & Where To Buy The Series
To make sure you never miss a moment, keep your eye on this page for weekly recaps when she show airs, spoilers, casting news and a ton of speculation and theorizing!
- Freeform's 'Shadowhunters' Renewed For Season 3! + 'Beyond' Returning For Season 2!
- 5 Questions We Need Answered In The Mid-Season Premiere Of 'Shadowhunters' Season 2!
- Clary & Jace Aren't Siblings! 'Shadowhunters' Winter Finale's Top 5 Most Shocking Reveals!