‘The Infernal Devices’? BBC should save ‘Shadowhunters’ instead
If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that we’re huge Shadowhunters stans. Shadowhunters is a science fiction fantasy show based off the novel series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. The television adaptation deviated somewhat from the books, but the core elements of the story were all still there.
Despite its popularity Shadowhunters was cancelled and aired its last episode in May of 2019, only completing three of the planned six seasons. The show was cancelled due to complications between Constantin Film, who own the rights to the show, and Netflix & Freeform, who distributed the show in both the United States and abroad.
This week, rumours started circulating online that Cassandra Clare, in conjunction with Constantin Films had sold the rights of another sub-series of the Shadowhunters world she created. The Infernal Devices, set in the same mythical Shadowhunters realm Clare created, was allegedly picked up by BBC Three.
The authenticity of these rumours is yet to be officially confirmed. Cassandra Clare has not released a statement confirming this information on her website, or any of her social media accounts. Constantin Films, nor BBC Three have done so either. Yet the rumour sparked much commotion on social media.
Fans of the television show Shadowhunters were outraged, pledging to boycott. Widespread feelings of betrayal spread across Twitter as fans lamented that Cassandra Clare & Constantin would try and get a different series in the Shadowhunter realm off the ground before trying to complete the show they abandoned.
Fans of the book series that weren’t so happy with how Shadowhunters played out on screen were elated, exclaiming they hoped BBC 3 would treat their beloved story better than Freeform did. So let’s talk about it. Come with us as we navigate the complexities of this rumor. Is The Infernal Devices actually going ahead, or is it all just hearsay?
The Infernal Devices is a trilogy which serves as a prequel to The Mortal Instruments. Set in the 1800’s it does feature some of the characters that also appear in The Mortal Instruments. Obviously, due to the long passage of time between each story, the only characters that are able to appear in both series are immortal ones.
The lead protagonist of the story is Tessa Gray, a shape-shifting orphaned teenager, who also happens to be a warlock. The story follows her as she learns to navigate these new powers of hers. Although not a Shadowhunter, Tessa lives at the London Institute with the Shadowhunters there.
Searching for her lost brother, Nathaniel Gray, Tessa is thrust into the Shadow World. A love story emerges as she falls in love with two different Shadowhunters. Trouble stirs around as she sets out to find her brother. Meanwhile, the love triangle she finds herself in continues to plague her thoughts.
It’s no secret that there is quite a rivalry between solo stans of the The Mortal Instruments book series and the fans of the television adaptation, Shadowhunters. Cassandra Clare, herself, even spoke publicly several times, clearly unhappy about the directions and deviations Shadowhunters made from the books.
Shadowhunters showrunners, Todd Slavkin & Darren Swimmer, as well as several of the actors often spoke in response to this, stating that it is really hard to stick to the plotline of a novel all the time.
Especially with a novel with such complex intricacies as The Mortal Instruments, changes and manipulations of the original plotline is often necessary. This caused some hardcore book fans to abandon the show.
Despite this, while on air, Shadowhunters garnered quite an exuberant & impressive fandom. Their dedication to the show & the actors continues even now, a year after the final episode aired. When the rumours began circulating on social media platforms this week that The Infernal Devices was potentially in production, outrage ensued.
Basically, in a nutshell, fans of the television adaptation were angered by the fact that the article that made the announcement did so on the anniversary of the last episode of Shadowhunters. Here is what some fans had to say.
@BrittanyRana200 says: “It’s another 3 way deal with too many players, which was essentially the downfall of Shadowhunters. Cassandra Clare’s expectations of these adaptations is too unrealistic as she seems to expect them to be exactly like the book, which isn’t possible.”
@TashaAdamski says: “They [the article that started this rumour] announced it on the 1 year anniversary of the finale of Shadowhunters. I felt the quote [from the article] “stick more to the book” was a blatant shot at Shadowhunters and the fact it deviated from the book, fixing some of the controversial storylines from the book.
It’s also owned by Constantin Film, who ruined Shadowhunters. Now they think we are going to watch this because it’s from the same universe.”
@Tiffy1307Steph says: “The timing couldn’t have been a worse one. Many Shadowhunters fans were struggling because they still miss the show a lot.
Others tried to concentrate on the Malec wedding anniversary to have something good in their minds and something to feel good about because that anniversary also meant the last episode aired one year ago. With posting the news they placed something to destroy the happiness the fans tried to feel.”
@travelqueen1218 “I read the Bane Chronicles which I still say is the most realistic, easiest way to tie the books & fans of each series together. CC should have sold THAT book. I have no interest in reading or watching TID. I read the Bane Chronicles & I HATED Camille. The only Magnus for me is @HarryShumJr.”
Debunking the rumor
The article that started all the controversy was, as the quotes outline above, released on the anniversary of the finale of Shadowhunters. If you’re interested in reading the article, click here.
There are several things that arouse suspicion about this piece. Firstly, the article mentions that Constantin Films is developing The Infernal Devices trilogy in conjunction with BBC Three.
Constantin Films, BBC Three, nor Cassandra Clare herself have made any such announcements on their websites or social media platforms. If this is, in fact, going ahead, why haven’t the official parties involved announced it?
Secondly, as previously mentioned, the article dropped on the one-year anniversary of the finale of Shadowhunters. The timing was insensitive and a little on the nose. Inflammatory language in the article such as “one more accurate to the books” was used. Members of the existing Shadowhunters fandom felt this was an intentional move to agitate them.
The article tries hard to establish very clearly that The Infernal Devices has nothing to do with Shadowhunters. The article claims that The Infernal Devices is set in a totally different world to Shadowhunters. However, if The Infernal Devices wants to remain true to the books, as this article claims, this statement is not necessarily true.
The Infernal Devices is set in the same world as Shadowhunters. While not during the same time period, or the same Institute location the world Clare created for Shadowhunters is the same world that exists in The Infernal Devices.
To really reinforce that the two series are in fact connected and part of the same world, immortal characters, such as Magnus Bane & Camille Belcourt, appear in both series. Different worlds? Not connected? We don’t think so.
Save Shadowhunters instead
The existing Shadowhunters fandom is a force to be reckoned with. They’ve erected billboards all around the world, rented trucks, flown planes in front of Netflix headquarters, and more, all in the name of saving Shadowhunters. Their ability to mobilize is really something else. Now, they are mobilizing to boycott.
Had the involved parties tried to do the right thing and rectify the situation with the Shadowhunters show, finish out the remaining season, or even give the fandom a spin off with the same actors and characters, they might not have been so outraged by this announcement.
In fact, many would have jumped on board and followed The Infernal Devices. However, because the fandom feels so slighted by the parties involved, Constantin Films and anyone else associated with this project, will be launching without the support of the existing fandom.
So here’s an idea, how about you save Shadowhunters first and then everyone wins. Constantin Films, when you’re ready to release the rights and sell Shadowhunters to someone willing to give it the home it deserves, why don’t you give us a call?