This morning, Netflix announced that it had hired the directors of Avengers: Endgame, Joe and Anthony Russo, to produce a Magic: the Gathering animated series. The Russos will be executive producers and “oversee the creation of an all new storyline” that will “expand on the stories of the Planeswalkers.”

“This series will cross the genres of suspenseful thriller, horror, and drama with deeply developed characters,” said Isaac Krauss, CEO of Octopie (Neo Fighter Dream Crisis), which will oversee the production of the show.

“There’s no one better suited to bring this story to audiences around the world than Joe and Anthony Russo,” John Derderian, head of Anime programming for Netflix, said. Their “talent for genre storytelling is unmatched, as demonstrated by their central role in creating some of the biggest box office hits of all time.”

The Russos have directed four Marvel blockbusters: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014),  Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Those movies have made a combined $6.61 billion in global box office sales.

An Experienced Production Team

In addition to the Russo brothers, Netflix has put together a very experienced production team for its MTG animated series.

Henry Gilroy (Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Jose Molina (The Tick and Agent Carter) will serve as writers and showrunners, while Bardel Entertainment (Rick and Morty, Teen Titans Go!, and The Dragon Prince) will animate the show. At Octopie, Todd Makurath (How to Be a Serial Killer), Eric Calderon (Afro Samurai), and Dave Newberg (Brad Neely’s Harg Nallin’ Sclopio Peepio) will serve as producers, while Mike Larocca (Deadly Class) and Isaac Krauss serving as executive producers.

Rumors and False Starts

Magic fans have been waiting for a movie or TV show based on the game for years. So when a Netflix MTG series was first rumored to be in the works in April after Wizards of the Coast and Netflix filed to copyright “Magic gathering, seasons 1 & 2; series,” fans were understandably excited.

Copyright application for an MTG series.

But this isn’t the Magic community’s first experience with the announcement of an exciting project using Magic IP. In fact, there have been two previous official announcements of potential Magic movies that later failed to get off the ground.

In 2008, Hasbro signed a deal with Universal Pictures to produce movies based on several Hasbro games, including Magic: the Gathering. However, Universal only ever brought Battleship (2012) to theaters, which Hasbro (not Universal) spent $220 million to produce. The movie was considered a flop, making $330 million at the box office. After Battleship‘s release, Universal announced that it had no plans to make any more movies based on Hasbro’s games, officially ending fan’s hopes for the first Magic movie.

Then in 2014, 20th Century Fox announced that it had acquired the rights to create a Magic movie of its own, intending to “develop the property with an eye to launch a massive franchise on the scale of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings.”

Similar to Netflix, Fox appeared to be assembling an experienced team to bring Magic to the silver screen. The studio hired writer Simon Kinberg, who worked on the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises, to develop a movie series with the Magic IP. Fox then added Bryan Cogman, a writer from HBO’s Game of Thrones, to write the script.

But that was the last public announcement about Fox’s Magic movie, which appears to have gotten stuck in Hollywood production limbo and may never see the light of day.

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