It’s been over two years since Netflix first revealed that it was developing an animated series based on the fantasy world of trading-card game Magic: The Gathering, but now we finally have an update. During Wizards of the Coast’s Magic Showcase 2021, it was announced that Brandon Routh has been cast in the lead role.
The Superman Returns star unveiled his casting on Netflix’s Geeked Twitter account, which also revealed the series’ premiere year. “I’m Brandon Routh and I play Gideon in the upcoming Magic: The Gathering animated series, coming to Netflix in 2022,” he said in a video clip. “For those of you that don’t know, Gideon is known for being the strong guy who always stands up for what’s right, just, and isn’t afraid to fight.”
The Brandon Routh animated series was originally announced in 2019 with Joe and Anthony Russo tapped to direct. However last week, Deadline reported that the Russo brothers and their team, including head writers Henry Gilroy and Jose Molina, exited the project early on due to different visions of how best to adapt the story.
The split was amicable, with Netflix handing over directing duties to Jeff Kline (of Transformers: Prime fame) who will oversee the creation of an all-new storyline and expand on the adventures of the Planeswalkers – Magic’s unique magic-wielding heroes and villains. Scripts for the first season have already been completed.
Kline’s new team includes supervising director Audu Paden, and Steve Melching who will executive produce the series while serving as story editor. The writing team features the creative talents of Nicole Dubuc, Russell Sommer, Dan Frey, and Taneka Stotts. Art direction will be handled by Izzy Medrano, and the animation will be done by Snowball Studios, replacing Bardel Entertainment. eOne will serve as the studio.
Created by Richard Garfield, the Magic: The Gathering tabletop card game was first released in 1993. Since then, the popular game has spawned a digital game, an Esports league, a comic book series, and a best-selling novel. It has been published in 11 languages in over 70 countries.
Plot details on the series are still being kept under wraps, but the story will follow Brandon Routh’s Gideon Jura, a heroic white mage and one of the game’s best-known and best-loved characters. The series will also feature a group of incredibly powerful Planeswalkers who represent the players within the game. The characters’ ability to move through dimensions is the in-game explanation/justification for the various unique game worlds and accompanying card decks that Wizards of the Coast has introduced over the past 28 years.
Additionally, a prequel novel by Django Wexler will be released in conjunction with the series, which is slated to debut in 2022. The novel, which hails from Del Rey Books, sees Gideon Jura (voiced in the series by Brandon Routh) and Jace Beleren adventuring together as they right wrongs across the multiverse. But the duo soon realizes they have very different insights into what they witness. So it’s safe to say their partnership is often put to the test.