When Richard Garfield first created Magic: The Gathering, he had no idea how big a worldwide phenomenon his card game would become. First sold in 1993, the fantasy-themed collectible card game quickly became an irreplaceable institution and money-burning addiction in the gaming and fantasy worlds, and it would remain as such for years to come. Now, more than 20 years after its debut, Magic: The Gathering is still finding new heights to scale, its latest conquest being the animated realms of online streaming.
Earlier this month, Netflix announced that its newest animated series would be based on Magic: The Gathering. The news was followed by a stream of scattered details, all of which pointed to what could be a promising game adaptation from the popular streaming service. Here are the 10 most important things about Netflix’s Magic: The Gathering series that we currently know.
10 The Russo Brothers
After they announced that they’d be taking a break from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), people wondered what Joe and Anthony Russo would do next. As it turns out, the directing duo behind the successful Captain America sequels and the biggest Avengers movies to date are keen on bringing Magic: The Gathering to life.
As executive producers, the Russo Brothers will oversee the translation of the card games’ vast lore and characters. If their work in the MCU is anything to go by, Magic fans are in for an amazing adaptation.
9 The Writers
With the Russos producing, writers Henry Gilroy and Jose Molina will serve as the upcoming series’ showrunners and lead writers. Previously, Gilroy worked on Star Wars: The Clone Wars while Molina wrote for Agent Carter and The Tick.
Other prominent writers include Diya Mishra (The Tick) and Mairghread Scott (Disney XD’s Guardians of the Galaxy). With their combined experience in well-received animated adaptations and live-action series, this creative team is all but guaranteed to breathe new and exciting life into the lore of the long-running card game.
8 The Producers
Production of Magic: The Gathering will be overseen by the animation network and studio Octopie. Their upcoming collaboration with Netflix will be their biggest project to date, as the studio is best known for creating animated shorts on Youtube and making Robert Rodriguez’s Explosion Jones.
Eric Calderon, Todd Makurath, and Dave Newberg will serve as the show’s producers with Isaac Krauss and Mike Larocca working as executive producers. The team will be working alongside the card games’ creators, Wizards of the Coast.
7 It’s An Animated Show
Together with Bardel Entertainment (Rick and Morty and The Simpsons) and Hasbro’s Allspark (G.I. Joe: Renegades and Transformers: Prime), Octopie will turn the fantastical realm and adventures of Magic: The Gathering into an animated series. Yoriaki Mochizuki (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) will serve as the supervising director.
6 The Story
Magic: The Gathering won’t be a series about the card game and those who play it. According to the Russos, it’ll be an original storyline about the Planeswalkers: the heroes and villains of the Magic universe who wield extraordinary powers.
According to Octopie CEO Isaac Krauss, the show will be a daring mix of drama, horror, and suspenseful thrillers that’s rarely seen in animation. There are currently no other specifics regarding the setting or characters, but it will only be a matter of time before Netflix makes these details known.
5 It’s Being Made For And By Magic Fans
The Russos said that adapting Magic: The Gathering is a “true passion project” because they are life-long Magic fans. Their adoration for the card game and its lore seems to be shared by everyone working on the show, ensuring fans that the upcoming series will be a loyal and respectful adaptation.
A problem most game adaptations face is having a creative team that doesn’t understand the appeal and depth of the source material, but this won’t be an issue for Magic: The Gathering. With one foot in the right direction, Netflix’s newest show has nowhere to go but up.
4 This Isn’t The First Attempt At A Magic Adaptation
Before Netflix, 20th Century Fox attempted to bring the world of the Planeswalkers to life. After acquiring the card games’ rights in January 2014, Fox decided to use its newest acquisition as the basis for a potential fantasy film franchise.
Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman and Sherlock Holmes screenwriter Simon Kinberg were hired to adapt the games to the big screen. Nothing else was heard about the project following its initial announcement, so it’s safe to assume that Fox dropped it for currently undisclosed reasons.
3 Hasbro Inc. Feels The Magic
Netflix’s adaptation has yet to even begin production and Hasbro Inc. is already making a strong profit off of it. Just two days after the series was officially announced, Hasbro’s shares rose by 6.2% — the company’s biggest gain in more than a month.
The combination of Magic’s continued profitability and popularity, Netflix’s massive clout, the combined reputations of its creative team, and the Russo Brothers’ involvement in the $2 billion-grossing Avengers: Endgame all helped bump up Hasbro’s market value. The company is poised to earn more in the months leading up to Magic: The Gathering’s release.
2 The Series Is Part Of Hasbro’s Wider Magic Initiative
Aside from streaming services, Magic will expand its reach to esports through Magic Pro League, the card games’ digital version Magic: The Gathering Arena, and the mobile game Valor’s Reach. The card game also held its inaugural Mythic Invitational competition at PAX 2019, where the winners shared a $1 million prize pool. And of course, there will be more cards to buy.
Hasbro always had big plans for Magic: The Gathering after acquiring it and Wizards of the Coast in 1999, but it’s only now that the company is showing just how ambitious it really is.
1 Magic: The Gathering Is Bigger Than Ever
As of this writing, Magic: The Gathering has dominated the world of card games for more than two decades. 25 years after it first hit shelves, Magic is still going strong and is set to make its mark on new platforms such as esports and online streaming.
With a devoted base of players that continues to grow, a new demand for nostalgic fantasy-driven content and adult-oriented animations from audiences, a continually expanding lore, and even more cards to buy than ever before, there’s no better time than now for Netflix’s Magic: The Gathering series.