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Fox Taps Its Mana to Bring MAGIC: THE GATHERING to Big Screen

Those late night booster drafts at the Fox development department must have paid off, because The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that they’re adapting venerable collectible card game Magic: The Gathering for the big screen. 20th Century Fox has tasked Fantastic Four and X-Men cinematic universe guru Simon Kinberg with overseeing the movie series’ development alongside Hasbro executives in an effort to launch “a massive franchise on the scale of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings.” Considering that the franchise already comes with an inherently collectible component, I’d say they’re on the right track.

First introduced in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering is high fantasy at its finest, combining an ever-expanding bestiary of creatures like wyrms, demons, and celestial beings with complex rules and some seriously deep lore. At the height of its popularity, professional tournaments were broadcast on ESPN2, but even now the CCG manages to attract a huge global audience of players. How they’ll transform the flavor text at the bottom of the game’s nearly 13,000 cards is the question of the hour though. Personally, I just want to see what Jaya Ballard, Task Mage can do up on the silver screen.

Alongside Kinberg, Fox’s Kira Goldberg and Ryan Jones and Hasbro’s Daniel Persitz will oversee the production, and Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis and Wizards of the Coast president Greg Leeds will serve in additional production capacities. Kinberg’s Genre Films will also be central to the production, with execs Aditya Sood and Josh Feldman serving as executive producers on the film. Little else is known about the project at this time, so we suggest you take this opportunity to brush up on the finer points of banding and mountainwalk.

What would you like to see happen in a Magic: The Gathering film? Let us know in the comments below!

HT: The Hollywood Reporter

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28 comments

  • The thing about Magic is that, over the last 20 years, there have been a LOT of different storylines with a LOT of different characters. Fat Packs used to include novels to share the story of the most current sets, so, it’ll be interesting to see where they start with it all. If I had to guess, they’ll probably focus the movie series on the main 5 planeswalkers, Jace, Chandra, Garruk, Liliana, and Ajani. Personally, I’d love to see the classic storyline of the Brother’s War (Urza & Mishra), but WOTC abandoned that storyline so long ago, it’d almost feel weird to re-hash when most of the related cards are long since out of print. I’d be willing to bet that whatever core set happens to coincide with the release of this movie will be a MAJOR tie-in, though.

  • i cannot believe this is happening. seeing as how i haven’t played since the ice age expansion, i’m waaaay out of the loop, but the urza-mishra (yes, i own all four seasons of the original mishra’s factories. i will never part with them) story would be great.

    for some S’s & G’s, how about incorporating maze of ith, jester’s cap, & the mighty roc hydra? vesuvan doppelganger anyone?

    in other news – an alpha black lotus is selling for $12k on ebay. makes me wish in shelled out $700 for it a few times 17+ years ago >.<

  • Given the movie industry’s track record of adapting games to film, I’m not terribly optimistic about this. Still, it’s fun to see table top gaming ease further into the mainstream. Settlers of Catan: The Movie, anyone??? How about Arkham Horror: The Series?

    Interestingly, the reverse — table top gaming adaptations of movies/TV/video games — usually work well. Some notable examples are Battlestar Galactica, Bioshock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia, and Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures.

  • Was thinking about this and what if they do a whole pseudo yu-gi-oh thing with holograms and a futuristic mesh to it. Imagine, two players advance toward one another attach their disks, shuffle each others decks, flip a coin, choose who starts and then go to their respective corners. Everything is dark with the two players in the spotlight. They start and draw their opening hands, and choose to keep. Player one lays down a mountain and their side turns into a firey volcano atmosphere. They then use that mount to cast a fireball which blasts into the opponent and deals damage. The other player goes drops an island and his side goes from black to lush and watery. He taps the mana and plays ponder. Three large cards rise up and he chooses the one he wants while internally debating about how each of the cards will turn the tide of battle for his chosen deck. He reorganizes them, returns them to the top, draws, and the turn passes. player 1 goes again, drops another mountain, and plays a goblin guide, attacks and one card is revealed a swamp, which is placed into player 2 hand, and 2 damage mitigated from their life. Now an internal monologue goes on with player 2 about how its B/U control and he has to win this quick. Player 2 then goes draws, plays the swamp and the background changes to a condemned land, with water flowing through it, etc, etc, etc.

    I think its an interesting and bold move on Fox’s part and can’t wait to see what they do with it.

  • I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the Time Spiral story bringing the eras together, but it would have to be really well-executed. Maybe I just want to see Teferi included.

  • I love MtG. I just have no idea how they will capture what is amazing about it. Movies like The Last Airbender, and the Magician’s Apprentice are similar. But the game really expresses different ideas of elemental properties and the land. It would have to be told really slowly, and enunciate how amazing it is to play like a mono-blue against a mono-red the two ideals sort of clashing of subtlety and subterfuge versus brute strength and speed.

  • It is worrisome that the only WotC name mentioned was Greg Leeds who is essentially just a Hasbro employee. No one who actually works on the game is involved in this project which leads me to believe it wont be a good representation of MTG.

    Pretty happy there is finally an MTG article on Nerdist so I can shamelessly plug my podcast. Check out East West Draft Cast to improve your limited game! http://www.eastwestdraftcast.com

  • only problem I can see is that IF they start with the Brother’s War is that u would have to go as far back as “THE THRAN” to give a good back story. then if that takes off and does well u have another 10 books worth of story u would have to tell and I can see that working out so well. but like gregariousclaw said *urza or bust*

  • They’d be better off going to Ravnica. The beautiful thing about Ravnica is that the plane itself is so interesting, so packed with characters, that you can return to it time and again. The Brothers, Scars, and all the other classic MtG stories are just that, single stories that have come and gone. What you need is a setting that you can branch out and do whatever you want in, and that’s Ravnica.

  • start with ‘Weatherlight Saga’ and go straight through to ‘Apocalypse’. During which they can branch out and start a Urza/Tolaria tv series which will eventually come together with ‘Apocalypse’.

  • I hope to see a continuation of the gender equality that the cards have. As a female Magic player, I really appreciate that both genders have an equal representation and portrayal in the current Magic sets.

    My concern is that big budget films tend to trash the concept of gender equality and treat female characters as little more than passive love interests, or worse, prizes to be won. I very much hope we’ll get to see characters like Chandra, Elspeth and Liliana get the three dimensional treatment as much as the men.

  • Choose wisely. 
    Plot should match the fervor of the original game.
    Gather the original heroes have a witty comedic relief as a participant.
    Master and young apprentice.
    Why mess with a classic tale?
    Define the moment.
    Define the Evil.
    What character is as good a lasting evil as Darth Vader?