Freeform's Shadowhunters has been a huge hit with fans of the Young Adult book series, 'The Mortal Instruments' by Cassandra Clare. Whilst we adored Season 1, there were a few things that could've been improved, and with all-new Executive Producers and Directors for Season 2, it's inevitable that change is coming.
Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer took over control of Shadowhunters for Season 2, and in a series of interviews have revealed in detail just how they plan to make the second Season bigger, better and darker than ever. First up, it's all well and good having a super cool cast and effects, but it means nothing if the writing isn't up to scratch. That's where the all-new character driven Season 2 comes in!
1. Character Driven Storylines.
Season 1 really focused on establishing the basis of the Shadow World: How it works, how it operates and who's in charge. So whilst the characters we know and love from the books made the jump from page to screen, we saw more of the plot than we did their personalities and backstories. For Season 2 however, the focus will be on our beloved characters. With the Shadow World offically at War, there's obviously some dense plotlines coming our way, but we do have to remember that there are people in the midst of this, with feelings, emotions and opinions. Speaking exclusively to Empire earlier this year, the new executive producers had this to say.
The show was a little bit more plot-driven as opposed to being character-driven. We felt like the characters could have more depth. In season one, we felt like things moved along very, very quickly. What appealed to us in the great books that Cassie Clare created were these very interesting characters. It would slow down and you'd have these great moments where you'd get to know them and their back stories.
The latest promo for Season 2 (above) shows just that. Whilst the initial promos for the first Season focused on the aesthetics of the Shadow World, almost all promos for Season 2 have been extremely character-driven. They have taken great care in showing the inner turmoil of the core cast in a world at war, as well as the differences in how they tackle certain situations.
2. Detailed Focus On The Core Cast & Characters
Season 1 introduced us to a wealth of characters including our main seven. Characters like Lydia, Meliorn and Raphael were a welcome addition to the Season, but we saw a hell of a lot of side characters, sometimes at the expense of seeing the core characters. Season 2 plans to change that, with the focus shifting to the core cast, and what's in store for their characters. That means more Clace, Malec and Sizzy as well as fan-fave Luke, who doesn't get nearly enough recognition or attention.
"Jace, in the books, is really funny and really has a great, wry sense of humor. You didn't really see that as much in Season one. It felt like some of the stories were getting away from our seven people on the poster. There seemed to be an emphasis on the adults in the show. That's not to say that we're shutting the adults out...but it felt a little tilted. We wanted to focus a little bit more on our core people."
3. The Evolution of Malec - Where Do They Go From Here?
Fan-favourite couple Malec have gone from strength to strength in this show, and have remained the biggest ship of both the show and books. The show has taken time to handle its biggest storyline, (and so far only LGBT relationship) with extra care. Season 1 ended with Alec ditching Lydia at the altar, in favour of publicly coming out to everyone by way of a magnificent kiss with Magnus.
Though Alec is now out and proud, Season 2 will see the show tackle the differences in Magnus' and Alec's experiences. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Executive Producer Slavkin had this to say about Malec.
"They’re from such two different worlds -- one’s a Warlock, one’s a Shadowhunter. That’s a really fun challenge to show the evolution of that relationship in season two. One is super experienced and has lived for centuries and has bedded many, many, many men and women, and here’s Alec, who is a young lad who’s just leaping into the world of relationships. They’ve got to learn to know each other and we get to follow that path.
Check out the official Malec trailer for Season 2 below!
4. New And Improved Aesthetics - All New Sets, Seraph Blades, and VFX.
When you compare the promos for Season 1 and 2, the differences are immediately evident. In the GIF I've created above you can see shot by shot comparisons in the aesthetics from the very first promo for Season 1, to the most recent promo for Season 2. One of the most notable changes is the all-new design of the Shadowhunters' Seraph Blades. They had a decidedly Lightsaber look and feel in Season 1. They looked more like huge glow sticks, than actual weapons of destruction used to kill demons. In Season 2, the blades have a much sleeker, more deadly design, with glowing runes on the blade itself, as opposed to the entire thing glowing. Speaking with Empire on the all new aesthetics of the show, Slavkin had this to say.
"Seeing the swords and seeing these light sabers, it just didn't work for us. It didn't feel fresh. It didn't feel cool. We redesigned the swords, the blades have been given runes glowing on their surface. In terms of the show visually, a producer/director named Matt Hastings joined Shadowhunters season two, and we worked with Matt on Alphas. He comes from The Originals. We felt like the show visually could be stronger. It could be less colorful and less bright and darker, and the action could be more powerful and more visceral."
With influence and help from Hastings and his experience working on The Originals and TVD, Shadowhunters Season 2 will have a very different feel to the first Season. In addition to the all new Seraph Blades and darker colour palette, Season 2 will showcase a change in all basic effects featured on the show.
"The portals will be different this year. The warlock magic will be different. The cat eyes will be different. The vamp speed will be different. We thought the sets were cool. We thought they could be even cooler. We brought in a new production designer. We expanded the look of the show."
Though we haven't been shown a lot of The Institute or Downworld in recent promos for Season 2, what little we have seen seems to already be on a much bigger scale than Season 1. With improved sets, costumes, props and stunt teams for Season 2, it's clear they're moving away from the more colourful, slightly younger aesthetics of Season 1 and graduating on to something a little more mature.
"In general, the show felt a little young. Some of that was the beginning of the story, but also the way that it was shot. In the books, they are young, in fact. They're all teenagers, and now you have Matt Daddario, you have Dom Sherwood, you have Harry Shum, Jr. These guys that are in their mid to late 20s, and so some of that tone needed to be made a little bit more adult."
The latest promo for Season 2 showcases the "more adult" theme and tone, whilst also giving us a pretty good look at a handful of those amazing all-improved visuals. It's the perfect blend of character driven action and VFX, and gives us our closest look yet at all seven core characters.
Fan of 'Shadowhunters' and other #YoungAdult shows? Check out these posts!
- Everything The 'Shadowhunters' Promos Tell Us About Season 2
- Why 'Fantastic Beasts' Is Better Than 'Harry Potter'
- The 'Shadowhunters' Cast Are Just As Adorable In And Out Of Character
The new and improved darker Season of Shadowhunters returns January 2nd on Freeform and Janurary 3rd on Netflix. If you can't wait until then, be sure to check out fan account Shadowhunters TV on Youtube for a ton of promos, and coverage of the cast at various cons / press events.