Magic: The Gathering, the popular trading card game, will get a movie from Fox, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Simon Kinberg, writer and producer of X-Men: Days of Future Past and the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, will produce. Fox announced the tabletop-to-movie adaptation after purchasing the film rights from Hasbro who own the creators of Magic, Wizards of the Coast.
Magic: The Gathering requires players to purchase and collect various trading cards depicting monsters and spells. Players engage in battles by pitting their monsters against each other, augmenting them with enchantments or artifacts, while using one-off spells to quickly turn the tide. Player moves are limited by the amount of land cards they control since land generates mana, which is necessary to summon creatures and spells. Once summoned, creatures can attack opponent’s creatures or the opponent’s life force, which is represented numerically. Last player left standing wins.
Since its creation in 1993, Magic: The Gathering has seen numerous expansions that have introduced new cards and rules and dramatically altered viable strategies. Each expansion has its own storyline with the new cards representing characters, creatures, and events from those stories. Fox and Kinberg have not stated if they plan to adapt one of these stories or create an original plot. Considering that the Magic: The Gathering universe embodies all of the expected high fantasy tropes and then some, the story team will certainly have plenty of material to work with. On the other hand, the staggering number of characters and locations to choose from leaves few iconic faces that all Magic players would instantly recognize. The only way an original story from Magic: The Gathering would stand out from any other swords and sorcery epic would be for Kinberg and company to somehow re-imagine the card game as a fully realized wizards’ duel (now that I think about it, that actually sounds kind of awesome).