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SYFY WIRE Magic: The Gathering

Russo brothers bringing Magic: The Gathering animated series to Netflix

By Benjamin Bullard
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo

Get out your trading cards and get ready to protect those life points: In a move that's sure to draw a collective cheer from longtime fans, Netflix has announced it’s developing a new animated series based on Magic: The Gathering — and it’s placed creative control in the hands of none other than real-life Marvel box office heroes Joe and Anthony Russo.

Netflix revealed the new series will simply be called Magic: The Gathering, that it’ll be executive produced by the Russo brothers, and that they’ll be teaming up with original game maker Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro’s Allspark Animation to bring the immensely popular trading card game to TV for the very first time in its 25-year history.

The Russos, directors of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, as well as two of the MCU’s three Captain America movies, will create an original MTG storyline; one that “expand[s] on the stories of the Planeswalkers, which are Magic’s unique magic-wielding heroes and villains as they contend with stakes larger than any one world can hold,” according to Netflix. 

Teaser art for Magic the Gathering at Netflix

Netflix already is teasing that the show will enlist the talents of some heavy-hitting superhero screen veterans: MTG will be written and co-executive produced by Henry Gilroy (Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Jose Molina (The Tick, Agent Carter). Animation studio Bardel Entertainment will be bringing the series to life for the screen, while  digital production company Octopie — which is pledging the show will “cross the genres of suspenseful thriller, horror, and drama,” will produce.

First begun as a passion project by math professor Richard Garfield, Magic: The Gathering was among the earliest of the 1990s franchises (followed closely by Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!) that helped explode and then sustain the popularity that trading card games continue to enjoy into the present day. MTG still grows its lore-verse with periodic releases of new expansion packs, and rare original 1990s cards can fetch insane prices from nostalgic collectors. 

“We have been huge fans and players of Magic: The Gathering for as long as it has been around,” the Russo brothers said in Netflix’s announcement, “so being able to help bring these stories to life through animation is a true passion project for us.” Netflix hasn’t yet revealed a voice cast or premiere date for Magic: The Gathering — but It’s a safe bet that waiting for the debut episodes to play their hand will soon become a different kind of passion project for tons of MTG followers everywhere.