The novel was originally set to be titled Shadows in Flight, but Card decided to swap titles with the fifth book in the Shadow Saga, which serves as a bridge to the final book. The concluding events of Shadows in Flight were initially planned for the first chapter of Shadows Alive.
When asked recently about the status of the novel, Card responded that he would begin to write the novel once he "figure[s] out what’s going on with the Descolada Planet."
In 2019, the short story "Messenger" was released as part of the anthology Infinite Stars: Dark Frontiers. Card had previously released the story as part of Uncle Orson On the Fly.
In April 2020, Card wrote a column for his website in which he revealed that the title for this novel has been changed to The Last Shadow.