Unused Magic Movie Script Discovered: Commander's Herald Exclusive
EXT: The Multiverse
To paraphrase Nicol Bolas, "Nothing's ever really gone."
That's true for a lot of things, whether it be literal, like last autumn's leaves that you were too lazy to rake, still there under the melting snow in the spring, or metaphorical, like memories or something. Nothing's ever really gone.
That's doubly true when it comes to digital data. But don't tell that to the unnamed Wizards of the Coast executive who accidentally left their laptop in a Cheesesteak Factory outside Philadelphia during February's Magic Con. That laptop was "rescued" by a member of the Commander's Herald staff and made the rounds in the CH offices.
Is it a violation of privacy? Maybe. Perhaps that ethically dubious snooping is mitigated by what was found: segments of an unproduced Magic: the Gathering feature film script spread across (or hidden, depending on opinion) various documents and folders. After the CH team sifted through the laptop's contents, through the thousands of memos referencing something called "SLgoldengirlsUB.pdf", enough of the script was pieced together to share today.
It seems clear that the current Phyrexian Invasion arc would have been the central crux of the film's plot, but the deviations from there were unexpected. Perhaps it was fan service, or a case of writing-by-committee. Either way, we were robbed of what would surely have been an unforgettable cinematic experience. Enjoy a look at what could have been, and what might still be:
The U Lagoon
The suspicious document was first noticed by Mike Carrozza, who was able to dig out a nugget of a script; evidently, a section of the film features an idyllic beach of Theros, perhaps to serve as a contemplative break from the nonstop action a Magic: the Gathering feature film would surely provide.
EXT. A BEACH ON THEROS - DAY
TEFERI is looking contemplatively at the sea. He looks directly at the sun. With a nod of his head, the sun sets and it becomes night. The waves begin to crash at the shore.
They're late. Of course they're late, Teferi, you just changed time. Give them a minute.
TEFERI uses his staff to draw in the sand. He draws a cat. He draws a penis. No, wait, that's a racecar. He saw one in Kaladesh. No, it's a penis. It's pretty clear.
A rumble in the ocean.
Could you not?
TEFERI readies his staff and focuses, ready for a fight.
You're looking right at me.
TEFERI uses his staff to cast a light forward. It was nothing but waves. And his sand cat and sand penis.
Show yourself, shadow!
I'm not a shadow.
A massive form emerges from the sea. A nearby business collapses. People had warned Garidian not to build a stand there for this very reason.
I'm asking you to please not deface my space.
It's sand! It goes away.
Yeah, only when I do something about it. I have to come all the way over there now? Just because you can't stop doodling dicks? Grow up!
I'm bored! My team was supposed to meet me here. But it's not safe now.
Oh, hush. I'm not going to stand in your way. You've got "good guy" written all over you. They should make you the next Jamesonius Bondanopolous. Just stop drawing penises in my sand!
CHANDRA planeswalks onto the beach.
Sorry I'm late. It was, like, 10 a.m. and all of a sudden it was 7 p.m. and I hadn't moved at all. It's crazy: ever since I met you, time's been weird.
Nice of you to show up.
Where is everybody?
Your friend made it night in the morning and thinks that's enough.
I CAN TIME TRAVEL, YOU IDIOT!
Oh, gee, I wonder how that's working out for you! Couldn't you fast forward to when your friends got here?
Hi, I'm Chandra.
Thassa, God of the Sea. Nice to meet you. Do you mind kicking the sand around where your friend is?
Yeah sure. Wait, what is this? A dick? Ahahahaha, good one, Tef. This is hilarious.
THASSA rolls her eyes which causes a minor tidal wave to crash into the side of a mountain where another restaurant of noted business risk taker Garidian was. Yes, people warned him.
Can you guys just go meet somewhere else?
An Exaltation of Thrulls
After Mike discovered the first script section, it was Jubilee Finnigan's turn to do a once-over on the "borrowed" laptop. To everyone's surprise, they were able to unearth a second section, a document with the title "badteacher.docx"; perhaps the writer had some interesting feelings about a certain necromancer-turned-Onyx? In any case, it proves that the movie would have been quite the multiversal odyssey.
EXT, DAY - STRIXHAVEN CAMPUS
LILIANA and DINA stand at the perimeter of the school, dozens of Phyrexians pounding against a semi-opaque barrier.
How long will the barrier hold, professor?
It's a abjuration spell of Feroz's own design. If anything can withstand Phyrexia, it'll be this.
It could just be typical invasion jitters, but do you think we can survive this?
I'll handle it. I can make no promises, but I have experience with interplanar invasions.
Years ago I served under Nicol Bolas. I was the general of his undead army. Only by Kytheon Jura's sacrifice was I able to be freed to seek absolution.
Wait, the woman we read about in "Guns, Germs, and Giant Rot Hulks," that was you? How did you get them to forgive you?
The story of my... redemption is a cursed one. One so foul and dark that Beledros ordered it banned from the Biblioplex archives.
LILIANA stares past the Phyrexians into the middle distance. Just beyond them, she sees an ephemeral vision of GIDEON watching over her. She nods, and he vanishes.
The War of the Spark has been Forsaken by history. We mustn't speak of it again. Now fight!
Muttering an ancient chant, DINA begins to Channel a spell. Purple mist surrounds her pests, which begin to shake then pop like balloons, releasing mana. The black mana floats to LILIANA who unleashes a Torment of Hailfire upon the Phyrexians.
Will this count towards my final project?
If we survive this, I'll get you an honorary doctorate.
INT, DAY - WESTERN SARPADIA
It's Vraming time!
She Vrams all over the place.
It became clear that this prospective Magic movie would have everything we fans could want: exposition, proper nouns, deep-cut references to shapeshifting planeswalkers with pet cats that are actually her daughter. Why it was never produced is anyone's guess, but perhaps Naomi Krause can share her insight. Dug out of a folder marked "cephalidrelated" was a third segment of the film's script discovered by Naomi, likely from the movie's climax. Things really come together:
INT - NORN'S ANNEX
A bloody JACE sheds metallic appendages, squaring off against ELESH NORN on the roots of Realmbreaker.
How? You were compleated!
It's over Elesh Norn, my love for Vraska is stronger than any of your corrupting magic! I was able to compartmentalize a part of her mind safely, and I compartmentalized the part of my mind that loves her. Then I compartmentalized the part of my mind that knew about the compartmentalizing.
That doesn't even make sense, do you know how many loving families we've welcomed into the embrace of beautiful Phyrexia?
Those parents didn't love their children nearly as much as I love the feeling of snakes in my mouth!
NORN angrily hurls Marrow Shards at the planeswalker, toppling a large pillar of Sylexes stacked behind him that fall, presumably crushing the man in a cloud of useless debris.
Your enormous heart will better serve Phyrexia absent of you.
The cloud dissipates and JACE is still standing, unharmed, in the same place.
That's something Phyrexia will never understand: with true love, nothing is impossible!
Even so, with your help we've opened portals into Bolas's meditation realm, Innistrad's moon and mainland China! You can stop us here, but we will live on.
I wouldn't be so sure of that, Norn!
Portals open to scenes of planeswalkers easily fending off invaders on various worlds: a healed Nissa and Chandra proliferating each other's loyalty counters on an airship in Kaladesh, Liliana defending China while very specifically not summoning any Skeletons, Garruk taking a nap on Shandalar.
I know you don't have a word for it in Phyrexian, but that's something us imperfects call "hope".
An enraged NORN lunges for JACE, only to strike his afterimage while the real JACE appears behind her.
"Heh, nothing personnel, kid."
JACE plugs one of Ral Zarek's special devices into Elesh NORN'S spine, which begins teleporting her to a pocket dimension she'll definitely, probably not escape from.
FOOL! ALL WILL BE PART OF THE PERFECT PORCELAIN MACHINE.
Porcelain machine? Sounds like a toilet!
NORN is sucked away. After sufficient quippage, a reborn VRASKA planeswalks next to her beau and starts making out with him for way too long.
I love you, babe, but this fight is far from over.
I know, we've won the battle but not the war. But as long as hope and love survive, these monsters will never stop us.
Camera pans upwards to open sequel portals, lingering on China for several minutes before fading to a silhouette of Nicol BOLAS.
No one's ever really gone.
Fade to black as BOLAS hauntingly laughs.
The Secret of the Lair
Later on, after all the Commander's Herald writers were allowed to come up from the content mines and go home for the day, pit boss Jason Alt was seen using the laptop for clandestine purposes. We'll never know what he was doing, but we do know the results. It was yet another section of the film, this time depicting what seems to be a plot-critical peek into the origins of Jace Beleren, the film's apparent protagonist.
INT (Flashback) - A cargo hold in the ship where SPACE JACE was born.
All the other kids got their planeswalker sparks, the spark that allows them to planeswalk to other planes. I'll never get my spark!
MYSTERIOUS VAGUELY IRISH VOICE
Not with that attitude.
The figure steps into frame and pulls back the hood on a long, brown robe.
Who are you?
I am a planeswalker known as Qui-Gon Jinn. I am here to tell you the ability to planeswalk, what you call a "Spark," is actually the result of microscopic bacteria in your bloodstream called midichlorians.
I have waited so long for this exposition. Can you stay and train me?
I am afraid not, padawan. I must return to my secret lair.
Goodbye! I won't forget you!
Don't be too sure of that. I'll see you Q2 2024!
Without Master Qui-Gon, I'll never manifest my spark..
MYSTERIOUS VAGUELY JAPANESE VOICE
Not with that attitude.
The figure steps into frame and pulls back the hood on a long, brown robe.
Many years ago, I found you covered in a green slime...
Starwipe out of dream sequence, then back to present day future Kamigawa where Jace's robot butler, T4m1y0, is projecting a 3D map holographically. It's the hidden location of the Secret Lair.
The Enemy of My Enemy is...
It was probably inevitable that we would see some crossover between the Magic: the Gathering universe and Universes Beyond that. Nothing wrong with that, according to the previous script's liner notes; in fact, according to alluded-to market research results, "fans like things they recognize, so put in more things they recognize." That note, by the way, was attributed to a mysterious person known only as MR. We'll never know MR's true identity, sadly.
But we do know SA, which stands for "Scene Acquirer," also known as Michael Celani (and also also known as GamesfreakSA). Celani shared what he discovered, and he left a handwritten note taped to a CD (for younger readers: that's a "compact disc" and was a round piece of plastic used to store data). "Look guys, I'm not here because I found a piece of the script: I found an entire filmed segment of the movie!" wrote Celani. "It was in a file called 'pilot.webm4' and it is intense."
Celani then helpfully transcribed what he found in the video.
EXT - BOLAS'S CITADEL
(Transcriber's Note: Bolas's Citdael is clearly just Boston City Hall. It's like watching The Dark Knight and trying to pretend that Gotham City isn't just Chicago, but for what it's worth, they could have picked worse buildings to represent the ambitions of megalomania. Further notes are marked "TN.")
JACE, TEYO, and a hooded figure stand in an immaculately decorated room. Three sets of Eternal guards carrying halberds flank them as they kneel down on a red carpet. Behind them is a plinth, upon which rests a solid gold image of Nicol BOLAS. It is very horny. It cuts to JACE. FBLTHP is nowhere to be seen in this shot.
Your despotism, ephemeral as it was, unveiled to us a certain ruthless efficacy and dominion over power that we require in what is, undoubtfully, the Multiverse's impending hour of devastation.
Camera beautifully dollies to Bolas as an imposing, brass score sweeps through all seven-point-one channels of surround sound goodness.
Talk less stupid.
TEYO walks in frame, emphasizing the size difference between the human planeswalkers and the enormous, hulking dragon.
Terribly sorry, your dragonship. What my friend here was trying to say is we'd like to make a pact with you to drive back Phyrexia. (TN: Teyo's actor, Hayden Christensen, pronounces Phyrexia "fee-rex-eee-ayy" and nobody corrects him throughout the entirety of the take.)
Cut to a closeup of a snarling BOLAS, whose Gem of Becoming is receving a deep tissue massage from another Eternal.
And what, pray tell, do the Phyrexians plan to do?
Wide shot of everyone.
They plan to invade the Multiverse to take it for themselves.
That sounds like what I was doing.
Using an army of lifeless, soulless, metal constructs that know nothing but the word of their master.
Again, a close up of BOLAS. There are now two Gems of Becoming. FBLTHP is nowhere to be seen in this shot.
That's exactly what I was $#@!ing doing!
That's why we submit, Bolas. You have a perspicacity in this manner-
Didn't I tell you to talk less stupid?
Sorry. I'll try. (TN: He fails. Jace is portrayed by Tom Cruise.)
What we mean is if the Phyrexians conquer the Multiverse, then you won't be able to conquer the Multiverse, because finders' keepers.
The shot changes to a wide shot of the plane they're on; compleated cowboys, wearing 10-gallon hats, ride on robot horseback and shoot at magic-bison with their turbo-guns.
I conquered Yee-hooliga from the Phyrexians. I can conquer the rest of them as well.
Back to the Citadel. The HOODED FIGURE growls. The camera pans over to them, as if to look under their hood. Then, to my surprise, it actually goes there. The frame becomes pitch black.
(TN: Nobody else I talked to said this part of the movie actually exists, but I could swear that for the next twenty minutes, I was staring directly in to someone's eyes. They spoke to me in a soft, tranquil voice. They told me that I knew what they did and what they deserved. They told me that the best way was to use the tire iron, because it would be easy to hide among the rest of the tools in the workshop. They told me to go late that night, because they were going to be gone soon and I needed to catch them unaware. If I did it, all the bad things in my life would go away, because they've secretly been following me around and cursing me to bad luck. They're the reason she left me. They're the-)
I will deliver the Yeehooligans to your army, but in return I demand one plane for my own. Which is it?
JACE and TEYO, sim.
Damn, I should have been more specific.
The music swells. The camera pans out to the clouds and it dissolves into static. FBLTHP is nowhere to be seen in this shot.
Before the laptop was left in a ravine so as not to generate suspicion, Commander's Herald writer and all-around cool dude Nick Wolf gave it one final once-over and to his surprise, discovered a mid-credits scene. In the scene, a sequel is set up featuring a familiar name gone too soon.
EXT. - Innistrad. Night falls as a silvery moon rises. Camera pans by a signpost that has the word "Ulgrotha" crossed off and replaced by the word "Ulvenwald." Trees are towering in the darkness beyond the light of a Blazing Torch defiantly held by SORIN MARKOV.
Multiversal invasion by (MR: add antagonist later) is not about death...but rather, the preservation of life. Elspeth, Jace and a few fighters from the various realms defeated Phyrexian Praetor Elesh Norn. According to the rules of Multiversal Invasion, their victory preserved
Earth's The Multiverse's safety for another generation. Our chosen ones were returned to Earth wherever they came from (MR: look up lore later) only to enjoy a brief period of peace. For someone from Fiora has a different point of view.
We see a portal open in front of SORIN, who stumbles backward in disbelief. A figure steps from the portal, with illuminated purple eyes.
So are you, you're a vampire.
The figure steps into the light of the torch, revealed to be DACK FAYDEN. He's all oily and robotic now, what a bummer (guitar riff of "Flesh into Gear" by CKY plays). We hear the V.O. continue as DACK uses his red hand, which is now drippy, to touch SORIN all over, but in a bad way. SORIN dies, but like, all the way. Fade to black.
Dack Fayden, greatest thief in the Multiverse. The
Earth plot of Magic: the Gathering was created in six days...so shall it be destroyed. On the seventh day, mankind will rest in peace!
INT - Monastery of the Order of the Shield Mage in Gobakhan. It's very sparkly. We see the portal open once again, and DACK steps out. A teenage boy with short black hair and a dumb robe (TEYO VERADA) drops the plum he was eating as he stares. The V.O. continues.
This is not good. Somehow he's opened gateways to your world. Our
Mortal Kombat Phyrexian Invasion victory closed those portals, but what closes can open again. What does that mean?
Father, you're alive! (MR: Retcon this, no one will notice)
Too bad you...will die!
We see DACK do some wizard stuff to shatter TEYO's shield - oh yeah, TEYO made a shield out of light or something, add that part in. DACK scoops up TEYO'S plum and takes a moist bite.
As long as the portal is open, your world is mine!
Fade to black. We hear the V.O. once more over black screen.
Dack opened the portal. Your planet and
Outworld the Multiverse have begun to merge into one. Think of it as...hell on Earth.
INT. - A hidden library somewhere on Dominaria. We see an old man with a monocle (GUFF) scribbling in a book. It's revealed that the V.O. has been him the whole time. The camera sweeps over his desk to show the words "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" scribbled out from the title page of a script, replaced with a handwritten "It's Guff's Turn Now."
The rules say
Earth The Multiverse is safe for another generation. Dack has broken the rules.
We see the light of a portal explode over the dimly lit stacks of books in the library.
How could the Elder Gods allow this? They do not know. Dack must be stopped, or your world will perish.
We see DACK's figure approach GUFF from behind.
We have six days until...annihilation.
Cut to black. A really cool song plays as credits continue.