Last updated on January 20, 2023
Gideon, Champion of Justice | Illustration by David Rapoza
Ah, Netflix. One of the biggest streaming services in the world that’s graced us with some of the most highly-rated and popular TV shows of the last few years. And some of the most clowned on.
With the recent release of Secret Lair x Stranger Things, it seems topical to turn my sights on MTG’s new venture into pop culture: a Magic: The Gathering TV series. That’s right! Our favorite card game is coming to the big screen (relatively speaking).
Consider this your one-stop-shop for everything related to Netflix’s adaptation of Magic. Let’s go!
What’s the Full Name of the Show?
Split Screen | Illustration by Simon Dominic
The show’s full name will be “Magic: The Gathering.” Super creative, I know. It’s straight to the point and is a pretty good indicator of what you’re getting, so. I’ll take it.
What’s the Show About?
There’s still a lot up in the air about this show: the plot, the characters, the voice actors…
But we do know some stuff.
Magic Showcase 2021
First thing’s first! The show is going to be an animated series, not live action. We only have breadcrumbs here and there plot-wise. We got a little teaser that we can speculate about from Daniel Ketchum, the series’ Principal Designer, during the 2021 Magic Showcase back in August. He said:
This new Magic: The Gathering animated series, it is completely new, a completely fresh jumping-on point. So you can bring your friends, bring your family, who have never touched a Magic card in their lives and they will be able to enjoy the ride from episode one.Daniel Ketchum
He also highlighted that show will focus on the characters and their trials and relationships. Gideon will be instrumental in driving the action forward and Ketchum even called him the “heart of the story” during his interview for the Showcase.
We also know that we’ll be getting a prequel novel by Django Wexler alongside the first season of the show. It will feature both Gideon Jura and Jace Beleren. We’ll be brought along for the story of how they met, their time road tripping through the multiverse, trials and tribulations as they right some wrongs, and where and when their relationship eventually turned sour.
It’s probably safe to assume that we’ll get to see Jace in the show as well, even if he’s not a main character. Maybe he’ll be secondary character or even part of the antagonist’s team? Time will tell! We don’t know what other iconic MTG characters will be part of the show. Not yet at least.
But we definitely have enough information for me to speculate a little bit.
Tome of Legends | Illustration by Mila Pesic
So, the show will continue Gideon’s story after he splits way with Jace. But what else do we know about these two and their story? Who else was involved? What other MTG events are these two planeswalkers wrapped up with?
It’s more than likely that we’ll see the other members of the Gatewatch (Nissa, Chandra, Liliana, and Ajani) since they’re pretty engrained in Gideon and Jace’s story. But who shows up and for how long will be interesting to see.
There’s a whole lot to cover here, so I’ll just rapid-fire bullet point for you:
- Gideon and Jace’s first canon meeting was in the Battle for Zendikar block. The Eldrazi (namely Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Kozilek, the Great Distortion) were causing chaos and destruction, as they do; Jori En, the vampires of Malakir, Noyan Dar, Kiora, Master of the Depths, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and Ob Nixilis Reignited were all there; Chandra, Flamecaller popped up at the end to save everyone.
- Gideon, Jace, Nissa, and Chandra banded together and formed the Gatewatch. They disagreed with Kiora on how to take care of the Titans (Ulamog and Kozilek) but eventually Chandra just burned them to ashes with Nissa’s help. Ugin, the Ineffable (an Elder Dragon) made a little cameo and Gideon stayed on Zendikar to help rebuild.
- The Shadows Over Innistrad block saw Gideon and Jace fighting Emrakul, the Promised End on Innistrad with the help of Liliana, the Last Hope, who joined the Gatewatch when Tamiyo, Field Researcher declined.
- Gideon, Jace, and Liliana crossed paths with Tezzeret, Master of Metal in Aether Revolt.
- Jace went missing when the Gatewatch went to Dominaria and came back for War of the Spark. Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God threatened Ravnica and a bunch of other characters were there too (Aurelia, the Warleader, Angrath, Captain of Chaos, Huatli, the Sun’s Heart, God-Eternal Rhonas, God-Eternal Oketra, Rakdos, and Niv-Mizzet Reborn). Nicol Bolas used Liliana’s demon contract to control her but Gideon sacrificed himself to save her.
When’s the Season 1 Release Date?
The specific release date hasn’t been announced, but we’ll hopefully get to watch the Magic: The Gathering animated series on Netflix sometime between summer 2023 and early 2024.
Even though we don’t have exact dates yet, the show is apparently pretty far along in its production. Ketchum confirmed during the aforementioned Magic Showcase 2021 that the scripts for season 1 are written and confirmed, all of the voice talent has been cast, and he was pretty sure the audio for the entire first season had already been recorded.
This means that it’s pretty much just the visuals and post-production that needs to be done. Which admittedly is no small task, but it does mean that all of the groundwork has been laid and a lot of money has already been spent on this show, so it’s only a matter of time. Hopefully we’ll get some more info and maybe even a few teasers in the last few months of 2021 and as we venture into the new year.
Where Will It Be Available?
The MTG show will unsurprisingly be available to stream on Netflix when it’s released. It is the “Magic: The Gathering animated Netflix series,” after all. Where did you think it was gonna be?
Never mind. Don’t answer that.
What Actors Are in the Show? Which Characters?
Thespian’s Stage | Illustration by John Avon
The only voice actor we know for sure right now is the main character. Brandon Routh will be voicing Gideon Jura in the show. This was also revealed during the Magic Showcase 2021, where Routh had this to say about his character:
… Gideon is known for being the strong guy who always stands up for what’s right, just, and isn’t afraid to fight. Now I understand why they hired me for this. Makes sense.Brandon Routh
This isn’t even the first time that Routh has been brought on to voice someone in the MTG universe; he voices Ral Zarek for MTG Arena. You might also recognize the name if you’re obsessed with the Arrowverse like I am (The Flash was one of my favorite TV shows before it got painfully unwatchable). Brandon Routh played Ray Palmer (a.k.a. The Atom) on The Arrow and guest-starred in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow for some crossover episodes.
If none of that makes sense to you, don’t worry. Routh also portrayed Superman in 2011’s Superman Returns (I didn’t even know this until the 2019 Arrowverse crossover episode), had a recurring role in Chuck (I hope I’m not the only one that remembers that show), and had a minor role in Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
We don’t know what other characters will be in the show for sure (although we can make some pretty solid guesses) and none of the other voice actors have been revealed. More details that we’re just gonna have to wait for.
What Happened to the Russo Brothers?
In case you weren’t aware, the Russo brothers were originally slated as the Executive Producers of MTG’s Netflix adaptation. This is no longer the case. The Russos and their team apparently left early in the process because of a “difference in opinion” over how to best adapt MTG’s universe for the show.
If you’re somehow confused and have no idea who the Russo brothers are (seriously?), let me enlighten you. Anthony and Joseph Russo are known for directing and producing Avengers: Endgame, one of the highest grossing movies of all time that also concluded a decade-long cinematic arc, along with three other films from the Marvel cinematic universe. They’ve also produced hit shows like Arrested Development and Community.
Who’s Doing the Show Now?
Zaffai, Thunder Conductor | Illustration by Dmitry Burmak
A new creative team has taken over the show, so it’s not abandoned. Jeff Kline will be taking over as executive producer. If you don’t know who Kline is, I’m less surprised this time because honestly neither did I. So let’s introduce ourselves to him together, shall we?
Kline has been involved in over 40 series and pilots. He was nominated for five Emmy awards and won in 2012 for helping animate Transformers Prime.
You can check out his Wikipedia page if you want to take a look at his filmography, but I was particularly interested in his work as executive producer on an animated Jumanji TV series in 1996. I have no idea if it was any good but I love the original movie and have a tattoo of the life bars from the newer adaptations, so I’m intrigued at the very least.
The Production Team
Shows aren’t made with just an executive producer, so let’s look at the rest of Kline’s team:
Steven Melching is being brought on as Co-Executive Producer and Story Editor. Melching is a film writer who’s worked on episodes in three Star Wars TV series’ as well as two Star Wars video games. He’s also written for several issues of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars comic books. Not bad at all.
Next up is the team’s Supervising Director, a position that will be helmed by Audu Paden. There’s quite a lot of history here. Paden has been in the industry for over 20 years working as a director, producer, and artist for TV and feature animation. He’s written/directed/produced animated media including Monster High, Sony/MTV’s Spiderman, Pinky and the Brain, and Hot Wheels Battle Force 5. Those last two come straight from my childhood.
The show’s Art Director will be Izzy Medrano, an MTG artist who’s actually portrayed Gideon on a couple cards in the past: Gideon of the Trials and Deft Dismissal. I’m really excited that an existing MTG creator has been brought on to helm the series’ visuals. Good stuff.
We have four writers working on season 1:
Nicole Dubuc is a highly accomplished writer with several rewards under her belt. She’s most famous for her work on the Transformers franchise, but her time as executive producer and story editor on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is more interesting to me (she introduced a lesbian couple in the show back in 2017).
Next is Russel Sommer and Dan Frey. They’ve worked together in the past, having collaborated on both Bleeding Kansas as well as Eternal, the former of which was bought by Paramount in 2014.
Last but definitely not least is Taneka Stotts, a queer TV writer and creator with a wide range of skills and experience. They’re an Emmy-nominated story editor with a background in the comic book world. Stotts also has quite a few rewards under their belt and has worked on popular animated series’ Steven Universe Future and Pony Life.
Will the Show Be Any Good?
Captive Audience | Illustration by Dmitry Burmak
I’m generally pretty wary of adaptations, mostly because they’re cash grabs 90% of the time. This would be fine (money makes the world go round and all) except for the fact that faithfully adapting the original property into something that fans will enjoy tends to get trampled by corporate greed. Call me a pessimist.
There are a few things that give me pause about this show, not the least of which is the Russo Brothers leaving the project. An entire production team dipping over “creative differences” is never a good sign even if it’s supposedly amicable. WotC has also messed up their own characters in previous novels (ahem, Chandra), so I’m wary of that.
All that being said, I want this show to be good. And I think this show will be passably okay at the very least barring any production nightmares or Netflix’s penchant for “dark and adult twist on” adaptations.
Or maybe it’ll be one of those “so bad it’s good” shows you watch to see just how laughably bad it gets (
lookin’ directly at you, Flash). We’ll have to wait and see.
How True Will the Show Be to the MTG Story?
Netflix’s adaptation of MTG’s story will not be canon. That said, it’s still supposed to be true to form in terms of the “spirit” of Magic’s lore. It just won’t follow the existing plots and stories for the characters and lore, instead exploring its own plotline in MTG’s multiverse.
Another reason to be a little wary of the show, but this could also end up being a blessing in disguise.
Rumors and Expectations
There’s a lot of talk about this show online. Unsurprisingly. I don’t want to harp on this too much, but there are some tidbits here and there that I couldn’t ignore.
I already mentioned Chandra super briefly. Basically there was some upset because she was originally slated to be pansexual and end up with Nissa Revane, but was described as a straight woman who likes “big-muscled manly men” in War of the Spark: Forsaken back in 2019. I’m a little more hopeful since there’s a queer woman of color on the writing team, but there’s some talk about how Chandra will be represented in the show (spoiler: it’s not good):
And circling back to my “the show will probably be at least okay,” I’m not the only one who thinks this. Reddit user Wulfram77 echoed this sentiment, while Itisburgersagain actually has higher hopes for the show since Gideon is the main lead:
Depart the Realm | Illustration by Denman Rooke
That’s all I’ve got for you on Magic: The Gathering for today. The animated TV series, that is. You should head over to our blog and check out our library of fine content if you want more on MTG the card game.
What do you think of this whole thing? Are you excited for the show or do you expect it to flop? Do you think it’ll ever even get to see the light of day? Let me know in the comments down below or tweet at us if that’s more your thing.
I’m all out of words now. Have a good one and I’ll see you next time!
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