'Avengers: Endgame' directors to oversee new and expanded Planeswalkers storylines for iconic game franchise’s first onscreen effort.
Netflix has just announced they’re joining forces with Joe and Anthony Russo, Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro’s Allspark Animation to bring the fantasy game, Magic: The Gathering to the screen for the first time in franchise history with a new animated series of the same name. The Russos will oversee the creation of an all new storyline and expand on the stories of the Planeswalkers, which are Magic’s magic-wielding heroes and villains. No release date has been provided.
According to the Russos, “We have been huge fans and players of Magic: The Gathering for as long as it has been around, so being able to help bring these stories to life through animation is a true passion project for us.”
The brothers, who are coming off back-to-back smash Marvel film hits, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, will executive produce the series. Henry Gilroy and Jose Molina will serve as lead writers and co-executive producers, and Yoriaki Mochizuki will serve as supervising director and co-executive producer. Octopie will oversee production of the series, with Todd Makurath, Eric Calderon, and Dave Newberg serving as producers, and Mike Larocca and Isaac Krauss serving as executive producers.
The new series will feature creative talent from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Batman: The Animated Series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Firefly, Agent Carter, Ultimate Spider-Man, and The Lego Movies. Production will be handled by Bardel Entertainment.
Created in 1993, the Magic franchise, which includes the tabletop trading card game, the new digital game Magic: The Gathering Arena, a New York Times bestselling novel, critically acclaimed comic book series, and professional esports league, has connected with over 38 million fans over the last 25 years and has been published in eleven languages and played in over 70 countries.
“Magic is a beloved global franchise with a massively engaged fan base that has only continued to grow over the last 25 years,” said John Derderian, head of Anime programming for Netflix. “There’s no one better suited to bring this story to audiences around the world than Joe and Anthony Russo, whose talent for genre storytelling is unmatched, as demonstrated by their central role in creating some of the biggest box office hits of all time.”
Over the last several years, Netflix has embarked on an aggressive animation development slate; Magic: The Gathering joins the ever-growing Netflix animated content roster that includes global anime hits such as Devilman Crybaby, Aggretsuko, and Ultraman as well as acclaimed adult animated series BoJack Horseman, Big Mouth, and Disenchantment. Also upcoming are animated features Klaus from director Sergio Pablos and SPA Studios, The Willoughbys from director Kris Pearn and BRON Studios, and Over The Moon from director Glen Keane and Pearl Studios, as well as the recently acquired I Lost My Body from director Jérémy Clapin and Xilam Animation.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.