The Freeform series, based on a series of young adult novels that also spawned the feature film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, seems to have opted for a little bit of a darker, more action-driven tone in the promo for its sophomore year (starting with "we are at war!" was your first clue).
That's not an accident. After a first season that impressed fans but fell flat with critics, cast members say the show is aiming higher in season 2, hoping to deliver something with a little more depth and edge to it.
Harry: "There's different words being thrown out, and I think all of them are true, but it's darker, grittier, adult," said Harry Shum, Jr., who plays Magus Bane in the series. "For me, I just feel that what we have established with the show is that this magical realism, this fantasy world that we're diving into and learning about, I think the tone and what you can see visually is gonna be a lot, I won't say moodier, but darker in that aspect of it being equivalent to a lot of other shows that you've seen where we get to explore these relationships in a way that's a lot deeper. And Isaiah said one time in an interview that first season we just got introduced to these characters. Now we're getting to explore them a lot more in that way."
That's a common trope as shows progress; a series like Arrow came of age in its second season and saw its characters grow and change in unexpected ways from that point forward, even while the first season was more action- and plot-driven fun. Shum's costar Isaiah Mustafa, who was listening to Shum's answer, agreed.
"Yeah, it's like a little more depth," he said. "With each character, you're going to see the depth of their character. An edgier, adult, darker, fun way."
Shadowhunters is produced by Constantin Film and executive produced by Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer, McG, Michael Reisz, Matt Hastings, Mary Viola, Martin Moszkowicz and Robert Kulzer. The series stars Katherine McNamara as Clary Fray, Dominic Sherwood as Jace Wayland, Alberto Rosende as Simon Lewis, Emeraude Toubia as Isabelle Lightwood, Matthew Daddario as Alec Lightwood, Isaiah Mustafa as Luke Garroway, and Harry Shum Jr. as Magnus Bane.
The second season of Shadowhunters premieres on January 2, 2017 at 8 EST on Freeform.