Magic: The Gathering’s long-awaited animated Netflix series will release in the second half of 2022, with Superman Returns star Brandon Routh revealed to be taking the role of lead planeswalker Gideon Jura.
The upcoming small-screen adaptation of the trading card game was originally announced in 2019. Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame directors the Russo Brothers were initially attached to the project before departing early in its production cycle due to apparent creative differences about how to adapt the card game, according to a recent report. Lead writers Jose Molina and Henry Gilroy subsequently followed the Russos in leaving the project.
The Russos have since been replaced as showrunners by Jeff Kline, who boasts credits on cartoons including Transformers, the Men in Black animated series and Jackie Chan Adventures. Kline has been joined by a new creative team including co-producer Steve Melching, who has previously written for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Batman.
Wizards of the Coast announced a release in the second half of 2022 for the CG-animated series during its latest Magic Showcase 2021 livestream, as well as giving a first glimpse at its character designs, cast and story.
Details were teased about the series’ place in Magic: The Gathering’s lore and timeline, revealing that popular planeswalker Gideon Jura will be the “heart of the story”. Superman Returns actor and superpowered vegan Brandon Routh will provide the voice of Gideon, with the rest of the series’ voice talent already cast, scripts completed and audio for the first season fully recorded. In a short video clip, Routh - who voiced Ral Zarek in MTG Arena - described himself as a “huge Magic fan”, having played the card game since he was 16.
Magic: The Gathering is coming to Netflix in the latter half of 2022! This animated series is a completely new story that features beloved characters like our friend Gideon here. Keep an eye out for the prequel novel, arriving alongside the first Netflix season. pic.twitter.com/zCQ8ZwI0wq— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) August 24, 2021
According to Wizards’ principal designer of franchise development Daniel Ketchum, the animated series will provide a “fresh jumping-on point” to Magic: The Gathering, focusing on the relationships between its characters and the trials they face.
The first season will be released alongside a prequel novel - the third to centre on Gideon - that delves into the planeswalker’s relationship with Gatewatch member and popular MTG mainstay Jace Beleren. The untitled book will reportedly expand on the events of the Netflix series, revisiting the events that led to Gideon and Jace’s meeting, their journeys through the multiverse and the eventual rift in their friendship caused by their differing beliefs.