SDCC 2016: Talking Kaladesh and MTG movies with Mark Rosewater

magic the gathering


Magic: the Gathering is one of table tops longest running and successful trading card games of all time, being first published in 1993. Mark Rosewater (More lovingly referred to as ‘Maro’ in the MTG community)  started with the team in 1995 and has been there ever since. Most of Mark’s time with Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering has been as the Head Designer where he has been the lead on sets as far back as Tempest, and popular sets like Ravnica, Zendikar, and Innistrad. Myself, and fellow Nerd Reactor writer Eddie Villanueva, had a chance to sit down and talk to Mark Rosewater in the middle of the Hasbro booth during San Diego Comic-Con to talk about all things Magic. We discuss the new direction in MTG Story Telling, His excitement for the new Kaladesh set, and even how close we are to getting a Magic: The Gathering movie.


CORY: We are in the age of the crossover, we have movies like The Avengers, and Justice League.. we have seen this happening in Magic the last couple sets were we are getting to see these planes collide. Is this just fan service or are you seeing this crossover culture and are jumping on the train?

MARO: One of the things we are doing that started off with Magic: Origins is that we are really revamping how we are doping our story. You go back in the past and each block kinda told its own, separate, story and there were threads that went between them, but it wasn’t one on going story. Starting with Magic: Origins we decided that we were going to introduce a cast of characters, we are going to tell a different story, and yeah, we are going to go to different worlds and each world is going to have its own story but they are going to be woven together in a way that is much more cohesive than anything you’ve seen. I think if you look at Battle for Zendikar and Shadows over Innistrad you can see a good example of: Watching the Gatewatch get formed in BFZ, and then they defeated two of the Eldrazi, Jace comes to Innistrad, then… Ut Oh! IT’S THE THIRD ELDRAZI! They have to band up, but they don’t have what it takes to defeat him.. They need some help. It turns out that the one creatures immune to Emrakuls effect are Zombies and , Well, Liliana knows a little something about Zombies, so Liliana gets to save the day! How often does Liliana get to save the day?!


We wanted to talk to Mark about the increasing popularity that we have noticed with Magic: the Gathering the past few years, and hopefully get a glimpse into how he thinks this will continue into future sets of MTG.

CORY: You guys have also been doing these amazing art-books and the lore has been rebooted and magic seems to be way more popular today than it has been in a while. Magic seems to go on this roller coaster, like for me in high school it was massive, then it seemed to have went away, and then since Duels of the Planeswalkers it reeled me back in. Since I have been going to these tournaments I’m noticing more and more attendance: Why do you think that is?

MARO: Here is the stat that I tell people: Eight years ago Wizards of the Coast had it’s best year for Magic we have ever had in the history of Magic. Magic is 23 years old, so eight years ago was the best he have ever had.. the next year was the best we ever had.. We have done that eight consecutive years. Each year has been the best year and tops the year before it. Magic has just been exploding and I thinks its a combination of things… I’ll give props to my team I think the design is really good, I think our development has been balancing sets really well, I think that all of the pieces are coming together, The whole Magic R and D team.. you are getting our A-Game. You are getting the best that we can do. I feel we are delivering things that are really fun and innovative, but they are also well balanced.. The world building is amazing and Kaladesh, this Fall?? IT’S SO GOOD!

CORY: It looks amazing, this is a brand new plane getting more story on Chandra..

MARO: Chandra’s home world, players have been asking us to do steam punk forever, we are finally doing steam punk except we are calling it aetherpunk, and it has a nice sort of Indian aesthetic. I can’t talk too much about it, but I will say this.. I am more excited about this set than about any set in a long, long time. I think Innistrad is the best set I have ever done, and this set MIGHT be the best set I’ve ever done. I don’t know yet but it’s competing with me in think WOW is this as good as Innistrad?!


It was awesome to see his enthusiasm for the upcoming Kasladesh set. Given the popularity of Magic we established and the revamped storyline: Eddie wanted to address the potential for a Magic: The Gathering film.

EDDIE: One of the next biggest questions when it comes to Magic and seeing how so many forms of media are getting that big screen adaptation, you know from comic books, to D&D, can we foresee maybe a Magic film being made?

MARO: Well it’s funny you ask that. We have a deal with Fox Studios. Genre Films is the production company that we signed a couple years ago. I am apart of the team actively working on trying to get a Magic movie made. It’s a slow process. I can’t talk much about it because its super top secret, but as somebody involved in the process our goal is to make not an excellent Magic movie.. an excellent MOVIE that happens to be a Magic movie. I’m really happy with all of our partners. We got the best of the best, um the producer we are working with is a guy names Simon Kinberg, he does the X-Men movies, he did The Martian.. he’s awesome so I have really high hopes fort the movie.. It’s not going to happen right away, cause we are trying to do it right. I believe when we finally get it to the screen Magic players are going to be really excited!

It was an honor for Eddie and myself to spend time with Maro at San Diego Comic-Con talking about such an immersive and beloved trading card game. The brand new set Eldrich Moon is available at you local card shop now, and Kaladesh will launch this Fall.


You can listen to the interview in it’s entirety below.


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