The next Shadow Pokémon to arrive in Pokémon GO has been announced, and it's the first entirely new one we've gotten in almost a year since GO Fest 2020 introduced Shadow Mewtwo. Shadow Ho-Oh will come to Pokémon GO next week, replacing Zapdos. Let's get into the details.
Niantic took to their official Pokémon GO blog with the announcement of Shadow Ho-Oh's arrival. They updated their blog entry listing June 2021's events, adding the following passage:
Save Shadow Ho-Oh from Giovanni! We're hearing reports that Giovanni will have Shadow Ho-Oh in his grasp from Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 12:00 a.m. to Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at 12:00 a.m. local time. You can complete the latest Team GO Rocket Special Research, A Seven-Colored Shadow, to earn a Super Rocket Radar. This will help you track down the Team GO Rocket Boss and save Shadow Ho-Oh!
This is a long span for a Shadow Pokémon. What I find notable is that it ends up matching the length of the current Season of Discovery in Pokémon GO. Could we see a new pattern arise where Shadow Pokémon begin to cycle through full Seasons, much the same way season of GO Battle League do? While we'd be getting less Team GO Rocket research than previous years, it would at least add some stability to what has been an unpredictable release schedule since early 2020.
Something else to consider is that these Shadows are generally released in themed blocks. The Legendary Birds of Kanto and the Legendary Beasts of Johto were all released in tandem. Ho-Oh is considered part of a Johto duo with Lugia, who is the most anticipated Shadow Pokémon since Mewtwo due to the iconic role Shadow Lugia played as the game mascot of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. Now, we have never seen the Shadow process in Pokémon GO have a physical transformation like that design… but there is a first time for everything. My prediction is that we'll find out in time for the next season of GO on September 1st.