Russo Bros. Leaving Magic: The Gathering Animated Series - Comic Years
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Russo Bros. Leaving Magic: The Gathering Animated Series

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BY August 23, 2021

There’s nothing more appropriate to Magic: The Gathering than starting a round, getting really invested, and then leaving before it’s finished. Magic is a game with a lot of turnover, and that’s turning out to be true for the animated series ordered by Netflix. Citing creating differences, the Russo Bros. have left Netflix’s Magic: The Gathering

Why Did the Russo Brothers Leave?

People have been leaving Magic games for as long as they’ve been around to leave. In this case, it doesn’t look like the Russo Bros. left the project because someone was using a stasis deck–which would be completely reasonable. The only problem with all of this is how much room “creative differences” leaves for interpretation. Did they leave because they wanted to make Jace Belaren into a hard-boiled basement dweller noir detective named Jason Belarus? Was Nicol Bolas set to have thin, hairy legs like the first draft of the live-action Sonic? Did they mention Slivers? 

Speculation is all we really have, but odds are good the Russo Bros. leaving Magic: The Gathering wasn’t anything so terrible as all that. The split was apparently amicable, and they were involved in the transition of power to Jeff Kline. In a game that practically hinges upon angry google searches and scattered counters, this feels like a calm exit, leaving Kline in charge of the upcoming series, and it’s going to be ok.

Looking at Kline’s earlier work is an act of self-care if you’re worried that Magic is going to get a bad animated port. Three shows in particular illustrate why Kline is a great choice: Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Jackie Chan Adventures. Two of these shows take place in sprawling universes that may have originated commercially but have grown since. Like He-Man’s gay icon status, sometimes art grows beyond the corporate foundation that spawns it. In the case of Transformers and G.I. Joe, we have a huge list of characters with decades of fan investment. Some characters switch sides, get costume changes, go to new worlds, and punch each other. The only thing that could be more Magic: The Gathering is Jackie Chan Adventures, second only to The Walking Dead

Russo bros Magic the gathering Image via Wizards of the Coast

JCA was yet another robust universe, full of mysterious artifacts, terrifying creatures, spells, and a man who always seems to have more power. But it’s not cartoon Jackie Chan’s ability to parkour his way out of collapsing buildings that makes JCA the perfect training ground for the animated Magic: The Gathering. No, it’s one word, one word that is the foundation for every round of Magic anyone has ever played. The word Jackie’s Uncle said in probably every single episode: “Research!” If Kline has 53 episodes under his belt on a show that internally acknowledges that you never know everything, then our dear lore-packed, Google-reliant card game should be in good hands. 

How do you feel about the Russo Bros. leaving Magic: The Gathering? Tell us that or your most niche MTG opinions in the comments below!

Featured image via Wizards of the Coast

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Jessica Kanzler is a freelance writer and editor who lives with her wife and cats. Jessica has bad taste in tv and an MA in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media studies. Talk to her about Frasier on Twitter @Jessicaakanzler


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