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‘Magic: The Gathering’ animated series loses the Russo Brothers

By Kara Santos Published Aug 24, 2021 4:50 pm

The CG animated series adaptation of popular card game Magic: The Gathering in development at Netflix has a new creative team.

Deadline reports that Avengers: Infinity War andAvengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who were first involved when the project was first announced in 2019, have stepped away from the project, citing "different visions for how best to adapt the IP."

Their creative team, including Henry Gilroy (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Jose Molina (Agent Carter), who were originally tapped to serve as head writers and co-showrunners, also left the project alongside the Russos.

The show’s original premise was a character-driven series focusing on the game's magic-wielding Planeswalkers and was to be produced by the brothers, along with Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro's Allspark Animation.

Jeff Kline (Transformers: Prime) has been announced as the series new executive producer, taking over the Russo Brothers. Kline is in charge of creating a new storyline based on the famed tabletop trading card game. Kline’s team includes co-executive Producer and story editor Steve Melching (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), supervising director Audu Paden, Art director Izzy Medrano and writers Nicole Dubuc, Russell Sommer and Dan Frey, and Taneka Stotts. 

Toymaker Wizards of the Coast and Entertainment One, an independent studio owned by Hasbro, issued a joint statement about the new creative team. 

“While the Russo Brothers are no longer part of the animated series, their passion for the game combined with their early creative perspective and input helped us to shape the project to a place where we believe fans of the game and those new to the ‘Gathering Universe’ will enjoy the series and discover what millions of fans around the globe have known for the past 25 years.”

The animation will be done by Snowball Studios, taking over the originally announced Bardel Studio, according to the Deadline report.

The classic tabletop trading card game was first released in 1993 and has an engaged fan base that has only continued to grow over the decades. The Magic franchise has also expanded to Magic: The Gathering Arena on PC and mobile and fiction across the web, comics and a New York Times bestselling novel. As of December 2018, the card game was estimated to have approximately thirty-five million players globally.

(Images via Netflix)