Anthony and Joe Russo are teaming up with Netflix for an animated Magic: The Gathering series. Launched in 1993, Magic: The Gathering is a fantasy card game brand where players battle one another as planeswalkers (wizards, basically) who can summon a variety of spells, monsters, and magical items. The property made the jump to computer and video games within the last ten to fifteen years, and has only grown in scope, complexity, and popularity since it debuted. In fact, just last month, a game theory study concluded Magic: The Gathering is currently the most complicated real-world game.
Universal and Hasbro started working on a Magic: The Gathering movie in 2009, but ultimately dropped the project after a few years. Fox picked up the film rights in 2014 and attached X-Men's Simon Kinberg to produce, but that iteration of the movie never went anywhere either. The IP has since found its way over to Netflix as an animated TV show - one that's being overseen by some noteworthy creatives, as the streaming service announced in its press release today.
Per Netflix's announcement, the Russos are serving as executive producers on the company's Magic: The Gathering animated TV series. The Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame directors issued a statement to go with the news, saying they've been "huge fans and players" of Magic: The Gathering since it was created and described the animated show as a "true passion project" for them. Netflix further confirmed the Russos will "oversee the creation of an all new storyline and expand on the stories of the Planeswalkers" featured in previous versions of the franchise.
Up and coming animation studio Octopie will oversee production on Magic: The Gathering, with its CEO Isaac Krauss promising the TV 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”. The Russos are joined behind the scenes here by Henry Gilroy (Star Wars Rebels) and Jose Molina (The Tick), who will serve as the show's lead writers and co-producers. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie series story artist Yoriaki Mochizuki will act as s supervising director, in addition to being a producer. All in all, the show certainly isn't hurting for talent, as far as its creative team's credentials are concerned.
For Netflix, Magic: The Gathering gives them another series to add to their growing collection of original animated shows meant for older viewers. The company already streams adult-geared series like Disenchantment and BoJack Horseman, and will add even more to its collection in the foreseeable future (like Q-Force, a comedy series described as "gay James Bond"). Magic: The Gathering is also part of their incoming wave of fantasy genre offerings, which include live-action series like The Witcher adaptation (which recently wrapped production) and the Jim Henson Company's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. With so much incoming content to compete with, it'll be interesting to see if the Magic: The Gathering show actually becomes a success or gets lost in the shuffle.
Netflix's Magic: The Gathering series does not have a premiere date at the moment.