Geek Culture

The Russo Brothers’ Magic: The Gathering Series On Netflix Isn’t Your Average Animation

It’s no secret that Joe and Anthony Russo are geeks of the highest order. After all, they helped created arguably one of the largest pop culture franchises in recent history with Marvel Studios. This time, they’re going back to basics with one of their earlier loves: Magic: The Gathering.

If you haven’t already heard, the Russo Brothers are developing an animated series based on the popular card game by Wizards of the Coast on Netflix.

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Magic: The Gathering has been around since 1993, and has long remained a favourite pastime among average Joes and even celebrities. There have been video games and novella based on the game, but coming onto the small screen is a huge step for the hobby as it is the first time for the franchise to have ever gone on the medium.

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The MTG animated series will be developed by animation studio Octopie, and penning the script for the episodes are animation veterans Henry Gilroy (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Jose Molina (The Tick).

The show will be a more “character-based” story, while still enabling viewers to experience the card game’s expansive lore in an accessible manner, said Octopie CEO and the show’s executive producer Isaac Krauss in a recent interview with Comic Drake.

Despite Octopie’s 2D roots, the MTG series will be a 3D animation, done in a different style as opposed to cel-shaded or, according to Kraus, a “Pixar, plastic-looking” visual. At present, they are barely three months into production, so they have yet to lock down a proper art style.

Another unique aspect about the MTG card game is the five different types of Mana (Blue, Red, Green, White, Black), and they all correspond to different types of cards, facilitating different play styles.

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Clockwise from Left: Green, White, Blue, Black, Red.

“[Mana] is a part of a character [in MTG],” said Krauss. “What’s so incredible about this property is that there are so many different types and styles of magic that can exist inside the characters. We wanted to make sure that each character owns that look and feel.”

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It’s interesting that, throughout the interview, Krauss was being coy about any details pertaining story or characters. This is pure speculation, but we think that the MTG animated series might focus on the most iconic characters of the franchise — the Planeswalkers.

The Planeswalkers of the Magic: The Gathering multiverse.

The Planeswalkers are some of the most powerful and iconic beings in the MTG mythos, and each of them represents a Mana or a combination of each, in both the lore and the game. The character you see in the Netflix banner above is the Planeswalker Chandra Nalaar, who represents Red Mana and uses fire to devastating effect.

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No story details have been divulged yet, however, so we can expect those to be unveiled at a later date, as is the case with the show’s official premiere.


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