Magic: The Gathering, Netflix's upcoming CG-animated series adaptation of the iconic collectible trading card game, has received a new creative team.
According to Deadline, Magic: The Gathering's new team will be led by Jeff Kline as executive producer; his previous producing credits include Dragon Tales, G.J. Joe: Renegades, Jackie Chan Adventures and several entries in the Transformers franchise. Joining Kline are Steve Melching (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as co-executive producer and story editor, Izzy Medrano as art director and Nicole Dubuc, Dan Frey, Taneka Stotts and Russell Sommer as writers. Snowball Studios (Muppet Babies, Barbie: Dreamtopia, Star Darlings) is taking over animation responsibilities from Bardel Studio (The Dragon Prince, Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, DC Super Hero Girls).
Originally, Joe and Anthony Russo were announced as the creative leads on Netflix's Magic: The Gathering; however, they and the rest of their team reportedly left the project early on due to differences in opinion about how to best adapt the card game into an animated series.
According to Kline, the Russos left on good terms and were even involved in the transition. "I'm grateful to the Russos for bringing me into the world of Magic: The Gathering – specifically, over dinner at one of their go-to Cleveland restaurants," he explained. "Magic is one of those rare intellectual properties with such a wellspring of mythology that 'picking and choosing' is half the battle. Every single person working on the series understands how beloved this universe is – and feels both the exhilaration and tremendous pressure that comes with translating Magic across mediums."
Netflix partnered with Rhode Island-based toy company Hasbro to create the new anime series. Hasbro has owned Wizards of the Coast, the Seattle company that publishes the Magic: The Gathering card game, since 1999. Moreover, the toy company recently acquired the independent studio Entertainment One, which will represent Hasbro in the development of the anime.
Like Kline, Netflix and Hasbro appear to hold no negative feelings over the Russos leaving the project. Netflix, Wizards of the Coast and Entertainment One released a joint statement, saying, "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."
While there is currently no release date scheduled for the anime adaptation of the Magic: The Gathering card game, fans can enjoy the other adaptations of the card game, including Magic: The Gathering Arena -- which is a free-to-play video game available on PC, Mac, Andriod and iOS -- and the Magic: The Gathering comics.