Russo Bros. Exit Netflix’s ‘Magic the Gathering’ Animated Series, Jeff Kline Takes Over Showrunning Duties

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Joe and Anthony Russo have stepped down as executive producers of Netflix’s upcoming Magic: The Gathering animated series. Per Deadline, the Avengers: Endgame directors departed the series, along with writers Henry Gilroy and Jose Molina.

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Adapting the beloved tabletop game from game manufacturer Wizards of the Coast, the series was first announced in 2019. At that time, the Russos’ production company, AGBO, was attached to the project, with its president of production, Mike Larocca, also executive producing. Transformers: Prime executive producer Jeff Kline has been named as the new executive producer and showrunner, and has brought in a new team, including writers Nicole Dubuc, Russell Sommer, Dan Frey, and Taneka Stotts, story editor and co-executive producer Steve Melching, supervising director Audu Paden, and art director Izzy Medrano.

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Image via Marvel

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The change is by all accounts an amicable one. “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,” Kline recalled. “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.”

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In a joint statement with Netflix and production studio Entertainment One, Wizards of the Coast struck a positive note about the change. “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.”

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The Russo’s in the meantime, have plenty on their plates. Their upcoming The Grey Man, also with Netflix, wrapped production earlier this month, and their next project, The Electric State, has been fast-tracked by Universal. They’re additionally serving as executive producers on a number of AGBO projects, including Amazon’s ambitious Citadel series.

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No word yet on when to expect the Magic: The Gathering series, though per our interview with Joe Russo earlier this year, the longer production process animation demands means we likely won’t see it anytime soon.

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