Nikolai Lantsov is one of the most popular characters in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, and Patrick Gibson was tasked with bringing him to life in the ongoing Netflix adaptation.
The Ravkan Prince is a firm fan favorite, so it was a bit of a “challenge” to meet fan expectations, Gibson said news week.
Season 2 follows Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) as she rejoins the fight against General Kirigan, aka The Darkling (Ben Barnes), to save Ravka. To do this, she needs the last two amps from Ilya Morozova to increase her power. Nikolai is one of the characters who helps her in this quest.
Gibson is one of the new members of the cast in Season 2, and he describes joining the franchise as “pure magic,” particularly when he first came aboard Nikolai’s ship, the Volkvonyand donned the jacket that would help him transform into the character’s alter ego, Sturmhond.
“I was definitely a swashbuckling privateer and having way too much fun,” Gibson mused.
He added: “It’s been such a joy to join something that I’ve seen, and I think when you’re joining something that’s already established, there’s some comfort in knowing that they’ve built a world and that it really works.
“And with the book’s source material, there’s so many different things to draw from [so] It’s a really exciting thing for an actor because there’s just so much to do.”
But while he enjoyed playing Nikolai so much, Gibson always kept in mind what the character meant to fans and how author Leigh Bardugo wrote him in her novels.
“I think when there’s something so vividly and beautifully drawn and presented from a book, it’s always a challenge to appreciate what’s on the page and allow yourself to bring something of yourself.” , he said. “Because I think when you don’t get into a character, it often doesn’t sound entirely true, it feels like a hollow impression of something.
“And so I think I just had to find the balance of being true to the character I knew and loved from the books while also bringing in a touch of my own truth, something that just needed to be delicately modulated to make it all to do justice.”
Gibson also shared how he hoped fans would react to his iteration of the character, saying, “I hope they like it and I hope they find a similar thread of truth that’s in the books.” I just hope it’s exciting to see a Nikolai in 3D [and] brought to life and interacted with all of these characters that we already know and love.”
Nikolai is an important person not only for the citizens of Ravka, but also for Alina herself, and although she and Mal Orestsev (Archie Renaux) are romantically linked, she allies herself with Nikolai through an engagement.
The engagement shows the alliance between Grisha (the one with power) and Otkazat’sya (the one without power), and although it was initially a political move, Gibson describes how his character quickly falls in love with Alina.
“Stormhond has been looking for her all along and I think what we realize is that he’s behind a lot of things – like the crows they’ll be looking for [in Season 1]— and when he meets her for the first time, he’s definitely almost overwhelmed to meet this person that he’s heard so much about it from,” Gibson explained.
“And to do those scenes with Jessie, she has such immense power and she’s so perfect for the role, and she makes it easy to believe that she’s someone who’s going to have the power to take over the world.”
Speaking on Alina, Nikolai and Mal’s interactions throughout the season, he added, “I think there’s a kind of love triangle, I think Nikolai has such respect for her and Mal too that there were those feelings, although she definitely was.” there was a kind of tightrope walk in order not to cross borders.”
This will certainly be true in possible future seasons as well, Gibson teased, since Alina and Nikolai’s engagement remains intact through the end of season two, and the situation both characters remain in only adds to that romantic tension.
“Especially with the new conflicts introduced for Nikolai at the end of the season, I think it’s going to be a really interesting relationship,” Gibson said. “And for Nikolai, Alina is the only person who really understands him and allows him to be the person he knows he can be.
“The fact that he’s found someone who gives him permission to be himself in a world where that’s hard for him is definitely very special, and I think he’s definitely quite in love by the end of the series into them, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.”
Fans of Bardugo’s novels may also be interested in seeing how Nikolai’s relationship with Zoya Nazyalensky (Sujaya Dasgupta) develops. Gibson is one of those fans.
“That was a big one [relationship] in the books for me too, so I’m really curious,” he said. But Sujaya is absolutely amazing and both characters are wonderful, so. I would be super open and excited to have more scenes with her.”
shadow and bone Season 2 is available now on Netflix.