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Magic: The Gathering issues public apology regarding alleged ‘straight-washing’ of planeswalker Chandra

Burning love.

Wizards of the Coast released a statement apologising for allegedly ‘straight-washing’ planewalker character and series staple Chandra in recent MTG novel War of the Spark: Forsaken.

Outraged fans took to Twitter after reading the book, as many believe that series lore had previously implied that Chandra is bisexual/pansexual. Namely, through her frequently depicted attraction to fellow lady planeswalker Nissa. Below is an excerpt from Magic: The Gathering book War of the Spark: Ravnica illustrating Chandra and Nissa's unique relationship.

This time her tears did not turn to steam. They ran freely down her face, and Nissa surprised her by reaching out and wiping them away with her thumbs. Chandra leaned against the elf. Nissa stiffened for a moment. Then she eased her body and allowed Chandra to rest against her. She put an arm around the younger woman's shoulder and even began to slowly, gently rock the softly sobbing Chandra back and forth. Without looking at her, Chandra whispered, 'I love you, too, you know.' Nissa whispered back, 'I love you as well, Chandra.'

Fans were torn whether the pair were romantically attracted, or just extremely good friends. Either way, the character of Chandra was considered a much-needed queer character for the MTG fan community.

In the offending passage of the new War of the Spark: Forsaken instalment, the book claims that Chandra “had never been into girls”, preferring instead “decidedly male” types. Although there had always been “something about Nissa Revane specifically”, with whom she shared a thrilling chemistry “arcing between them like one of Ral Zarek’s lightning bolts”. However, “now everything’s different” and “it was over”.

“Over the past week, we have seen and heard strong reactions from fans about how we handled the resolution of the Nissa-Chandra romantic relationship in the recent Forsaken novel, and we apologize,” Wizards of the Coast said in a recent statement.

“We didn't live up to the expectations we created for Chandra and what she means to our fans.”

“Chandra will love and be involved with many characters as her story unfolds—regardless of gender. She will explore her relationships with fire and passion as she adventures across the multiverse.”

War of the Spark: Forsaken author Greg Weisman - creator and writer of the popular Gargoyles animated TV series - also released a public statement apologising for any perceived misrepresentation.

“After reading the materials that preceded my work on Magic: The Gathering, I was particularly intrigued by the burgeoning relationship between Chandra and Nissa. I felt that it should culminate in the War of the Spark books,” he wrote on a Gargoyles fansite.

“In lieu of bringing them together, as it was not a relationship that WotC planned to pursue, my goal was to write something that honored Chandra's feelings for Nissa and Nissa's feelings for Chandra, something that would give closure to their relationship in a sad but satisfying and understandable way.

“I believe that if readers had seen my original ideas for the chapter in question, they might have gotten a better sense of what I was trying to accomplish. They might have liked it better. Or maybe they wouldn't have. In any case, through the mutual creative/editorial process with WotC and Del Rey, we ended up with the final product that was published in Forsaken, which clearly didn't meet anyone's expectations or delivers on my intentions. And for that, I am truly sorry.”

Some fans have stipulated that the 'straight-washing' of the character Chandra comes in preparation of the upcoming Netflix Magic: The Gathering TV series, which features the lady pyromancer as a main character.

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Magic: The Gathering

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About the Author
Sara Elsam avatar

Sara Elsam

Former Staff Writer

Sara has been writing since 2017, contributing news, features and more to outlets including Eurogamer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Variety, The Guardian, BBC and Tabletop Gaming magazine. An expert in Dungeons & Dragons, they’re also a fan of all things horror and psychedelia both on and off the table. They are happiest rolling big dice, raising mobs and rocking out with their Bard-Lock.