In June 2019 Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo announced they are working on an adaptation of Magic: The Gathering (MTG) for Netflix. The show’s team will be pairing up with Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro to create an animated series delving deeper into the game’s lore.
For those unfamiliar with Magic: The Gathering, the game was originally designed by Richard Garfield as a playable version of Dungeons and Dragons. Recently Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro have been releasing a number of crossover sets, such as Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, however, the two games have separate universes and worlds.
Magic: The Gathering has been around for nearly 30 years and has a rich background of characters, villains, and environments that can be explored. It is currently owned by Hasbro and its subsidiary, Wizards of the Coast.
Here’s what Chris Cocks, CEO of Wizards of the Coast, had to say about the Netflix series in 2019:
“More fans are enjoying Magic now than at any time in its 25-year history thanks to the enduring popularity of the tabletop game and our latest release War of the Spark. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Joe and Anthony Russo to bring Magic: The Gathering’s rich and diverse cast of characters and worlds to Netflix in a way that will delight our many fans and those new to the franchise.”
Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series Plot & Story
The official announcement by Netflix for the series revealed artwork depicting Chandra, a Planeswalker who is one of the main characters in Magic: The Gathering. For this reason, we can assume that the show will at least partly be based around her character as one of the Gatewatch planeswalkers.
According to Octopie CEO Isaac Kraus, the series will have a character-driven story with dark fantasy themes targeted more toward adults.
Nic Kelman, head of story and entertainment of the Netflix series had this to say:
“So what we plan to do is, the story and the characters are going to be true to the spirit of the story and the characters that are preexisting”. Kelman told TheWrap, “We’re going to be true to that and the world and also true to the core values of those worlds and characters. But we’re definitely going to try to carve out our own continuity space in a very similar way to other franchises that have done that with adventures in a new medium from preexisting stories.”
For those wondering if the story will follow the official canon of the Magic: The Gathering card game, Kelman went on to say, “If somebody’s parents have died and that’s a crucial part of who their character is, that’s gonna be true no matter what medium that story takes place in, but the exact details of whether they were six or eight when that happened may shift.”
Jeremy Jarvis, franchise team director for MTG, spoke in detail with Polygon in 2019 and went into the furthest detail of any interview yet on the new MTG series.
“One, I want to feel that they respect the IP… Two, I want to feel like I, as a creative, am being heard, that at least the better of my ideas are getting through, and they’re not just being pooh-poohed… This is not a ‘kick it over the fence’ licensing deal, We have skin in this game, and the people that have been working to make the characters, make the worlds and bring them to life with the existing mediums that people know, are involved and are co-drivers of bringing it to life in this new expression.”
When asked about what the storyline will be about, Jarvis said, “One of the most important things we did is whenever we would meet with a new person we would lead with, ‘Here’s who we are today, [Magic] is very character-centric, and we talked about some of the places that we believe would be best brought to life by animation, about the characters we believe that would be best served by animation. Because there is the potential that when someone says, ‘Yeah, I’m an enormous Magic fan,’ that they’re kind of frozen in 1998 or 1993 or whenever they entered the game, which is not where we are now and certainly not where we’re moving towards.”
Throughout the interview, it appears that Jarvis is suggesting the Netflix series will focus on more contemporary characters and plots. This means we’re not going to see fan service or stories based around Urza, Ichorid, Karona, and characters of the past. It’s most likely we will see the Gatewatch, Ugin, Nicol Bolas, and possibly a new villain or two.
Netflix isn’t the only game in town when it comes to Magic: The Gathering Adaptations. In 2014, Fox had hired Bryan Cogman from Game of Thrones to write the script for a film adaptation of Magic: The Gathering, but there has been no update on that project. It’s possible that it has been shelved in favor of this Netflix adaptation.
No other plot details or clues have yet to leak.
Where is the Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series Set?
In September of 2021, Netflix confirmed that the Magic: The Gathering animation series will be set in Ravnica – City of Guilds.
Mark Rosewater, head of Design at MTG also stated that Earth is not part of the MTG Multiverse and that, “We don’t want a movie or TV show with people from Earth traveling to Magic’s worlds.”
For this reason, it is very unlikely, if not off-limits, for any events to take place on Earth.
Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series Cast, Directors, and Producers
Despite originally announcing the Magic: The Gathering Netflix series, on August 20th, 2021 Deadline reported that Joe and Anthony Russo had left the project early in the process. According to the report, the Russos and their team departed early in the process over creative differences on how to best adapt Magic: The Gathering.
In a joint statement, Wizards of the Coast, Netflix, and eOne said, “while the Russo Brothers are no longer part of the animated series, their passion for the game combined with their early creative perspective and input helped us to shape the project to a place where we believe fans of the game and those new to the ‘Gathering Universe’ will enjoy the series and discover what millions of fans around the globe have known for the past 25 years.”
Replacing the Russo brothers at the helm of the Magic: The Gathering Netflix series is a new creative team led by Jeff Kline, who is best known for producing Transformers: Prime.
Alongside Kline as executive producer, the Magic: The Gathering Netflix series’ new creative team includes Co-Executive Producer and Story Editor Steve Melching (Star Wars: Clone Wars), Supervising Director Audu Paden, Art Director Izzy Medrano and Writers Nicole Dubuc, Russell Sommer & Dan Frey, and Taneka Stotts. Kline met with the Russo Brothers, who were also involved with the transition.
On the 24th of August 2021, Wizards of the Coast and Netflix announced the animated series’ first voice actor, confirming that Superman actor Brandon Routh is the voice actor of Gideon.
“I’m really excited about this show, and I’m really proud and honored to be part of it”, Routh said during the 2021 MTG showcase. “I’m a huge Magic fan – I’ve been playing since I was 16. I’ve played many drafts over the years and have too many cards, more than I should. I love this world and I’m very excited to be a part of this animated series.”
As well as playing Superman, Routh has also voiced Ral Zarek in Magic: The Gathering Arena.
Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series Animation Studio
When the Magic: The Gathering Netflix series was first announced, Bardel Entertainment, the acclaimed Canadian studio in charge of Rick and Morty, The Dragon Prince, and Teen Titans Go!, was taking care of the MTG Netflix series animation duties, however, this is no longer the case.
On September 4th 2021, Netflix announced that the Magic: The Gathering animation series will be animated by Snowball Studios, who are best known for animating the Muppet Babies TV series.
Alongside Snowball Studios, Octopie Network will be heading the production of the series with Todd Makurath, Eric Calderon, and Dave Newberg. Mike Larcoccca and Isaac Krauss will also serve as executive producers.
Here’s what Krauss had to say about the MTG Netflix series:
“Working with Joe and Anthony, Wizards of the Coast, and Netflix on such a universally cherished brand is a real highlight for our studio. Our goal is to not only tell a compelling story leveraging Magic: The Gathering’s incredible body of work, but to also push the medium and perception of storytelling through animation. This series will cross the genres of suspenseful thriller, horror, and drama with deeply developed characters the likes of which are not often seen in animation.”
Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series Trailer
Unfortunately, no trailer or teaser trailer has been released for the Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series. No schedule for when a trailer will release is currently known, however, we will update this page once anything is released.
Has the Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series Been Cancelled?
While news has been quiet, the Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series has not been canceled. A likely explanation for the lack of news on the series is the COVID-19 Pandemic which disrupted production for many series and Netflix productions.
Magic: The Gathering Netflix Series Release Date
On August 24, 2021, Wizards of the Coast and Netflix announced that the Magic: The Gathering animated series will be released in late 2022, but no exact release date has been revealed yet.
According to Netflix’s list of films and TV shows coming in June 2022, the Magic: The Gathering animated series will not be released this month.
The above-pictured placeholder image was previously revealed by Netflix identifying a 2021 launch date. Netflix has since removed the placeholder. It is possible that the series has been delayed due to Covid.
In April of 2020, Joe Russo gave an update saying they were still working on the script for the series. You can watch it here:
Read More: MTG 2022 Release Calendar