Development Hell: A live-action film adaptation was announced in the 2000s but nothing much else came of it for years. Fox would pick up the project in 2014...then do nothing with it for some years afterward. After the studio's merger with Disney, the film was scrapped and the rights returned to Hasbro, who opted to produce an animated series instead.
He Also Did: Mark Rosewater, Head Designer of Magic R&D, was a writer for Roseanne for a short time before he worked at Wizards of the Coast. This fact has become something of a Running Gag in his weekly column on the official website.
I Knew It!: In the lead up to the Dominaria block, many people were able to guess that Mother Luti, head of the Keral Keep Monastery, was actually Jaya Ballard.
Late Export for You: The exclusive rights for publishing Arena in China, Hong Kong, Macau and all of Southeast Asia were given to Chinese company Tencent. This resulted in players from these regions being separated from them after the closed beta or at least it would, if not for Tencent delaying the open beta for Arena months after it started for the rest of the world. SEA players were less than pleased with Wizards effectively grouping them with China.
The now-discontinued annual Magic Invitational tournament invited the game's top players to compete for the chance to submit their own custom card to the game and get their face featured in its artwork. Similarly, the 2018 world champion, Javier Dominguez got his likeness on a card in *Throne of Eldraine*, though he did not get the chance to design it.
Old Shame: A number of older cards were very blatantly racist, most notably Invoke Prejudice, which depicted a knockoff Ku Klux Klan. While updated production standards ensured such cards wouldn't be created in future, they hung around as uncomfortable background facts of the game until 2020, when they were banned from all official tournament play and had their art unpersoned from Gatherer.
Many current members of the R&D team that creates the game started off as regular players. Notably, contestants in the Great Designer Search received internships in R&D as a reward for winning a card design competition, and are now full-time employees.
The Canadian comedy group LoadingReadyRun, after making a sketch about their love of Magic, was been approached by Wizards and asked to do a whole miniseries (and later full series) of them. They also started to host official "Pre-Prerelease" events, which showcase new card sets several weeks before they're available in stores.
Sleeper Hit: Wizards of the Coast wasn't big until got a hold of Magic, and at that point their only call to fame was being the holder of the Ars Magica RPG franchise. A decade later, it was big enough for Hasbro to come calling.
When making the first true expansion, Arabian Nights, the idea was tossed around that cards from different sets would have different card backgrounds to determine what set they were from (Arabian Nights's was going to be purple with gold accents). The change was averted at the last minute, seeing how the different card backs—as deck protectors weren't that widely used yet—would help players fix their decks. Instead, we were given the expansion symbols that appear on the right side of the card between the art and the text box. And the rest is history.
Originally, Withengar's art was going to depict him as being much smaller and missing a finger, which was supposed to have been the blade that he was sealed in. When the artist, Eric Deschamps, was told to redraw Withengar so that he was as big as a building, Withengar's fingers were much larger than knives, so Deschamps drew Withengar without any missing fingers and redrew the blade.
At some point, there was speculation around the Time Spiral block that there would be a sixth purple color to reflect the universe coming apart at the seams. The R&D had playtested and created a few cards with the color, but it was eventually dropped.
A design concept for a land which was nicknamed "Barry's Land" was brought about: being a basic land that taps for colorless. For years, the idea was thought about, until Battle for Zendikar replaced the idea with Wastes lands.
Depending on the choice of the players, any of the four Ixalan factions (the Brazen Coalition, the Empire of the Sun, the River Heralds, or the Legion of Dusk)could have taken over Orzaca. Alternate endings for the three losing factions were published on Magic's story website and are considered non-canon.
Working Title: Every set has a codename that the designers and developers use before the final name is decided. Normally, each three-set block gets a three-word phrase (a practice that began with Mercadian Masques); for example, Ravnica, Guildpact, and Dissension were Control, Alt, and Delete, respectively. With the advent of two-set blocks, the phrases evolved: the three blocks codenamed Blood, Sweat, and Tears were split up, with Blood and Sweat composing one block, and the next block codenamed Tears and Fears. These sets would become Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, Shadows over Innistrad, and Eldritch Moon respectively.