Kadabra could be returning to the Pokemon TCG after nearly two decades! Magician Uri Geller recently wrote to The Gamer that he has given Pokemon permission to use Kadabra on Pokemon cards again:
“Due to the tremendous volume of emails I am still getting begging me to allow Nintendo to bring back Kadabra, I sent […] a letter to the chairman of Nintendo giving them permission to relaunch the Uri Geller Kadabra/Yungeller worldwide.”
Geller then went on to state his letter was picked up by “two Nintendo representatives.” Pokemon has not commented on the news yet.
In 2000, Geller learned of the “Dark Kadabra” card from the Team Rocket expansion and sued Nintendo for using his likeness without his permission. The card is named “Evil Yungerer” in Japanese, as the entire Alakazam line is named after famous magicians. Kadabra bends spoons like Geller, which was one of his trademark magic tricks.
Kadabra has not appeared on a Pokemon card since 2003’s Skyridge. Since then, Abra cards can skip Kadabra cards through an evolution attack or we just get Alakazam as a Basic Pokemon without needing Abra or Kadabra. The effect of the lawsuit extends to the rest of the franchise as well. Kadabra hasn’t appeared in the anime since 2005. Starting in Gen IV games, you can’t trade Kadabra while holding an Everstone, which means it’s forced to evolve into Alakazam.
In 2008, I interviewed Pokemon anime director Masamitsu Hidaka and asked him about the lawsuit. He confirmed the dispute was the reason Kadabra could not appear on Pokemon cards and that both parties had not reached an agreement. This was the only official word we ever received from Pokemon about Kadabra. I also asked various Pokemon officials about Kadabra over the years and received similar answers.
Recently, Pokemon TCG fans from our forums took up a concentrated effort to ask Geller to relent on his lawsuit. Their efforts and the efforts of other Pokemon fans may have played a role in Geller changing his mind.
Whether or not Kadabra cards will actually appear in the future is up in the air. It’s unclear if Geller expressed any conditions in his letter to Nintendo. And Pokemon will obviously want to take as many legal precautions as possible to ensure they can safely use Kadabra in the manner they want for the rest of time. So we’ll see what happens!
Update #1: Geller has also Tweeted:
“I am truly sorry for what I did 20 years ago. Kids and grownups I am releasing the ban. It’s now all up to # to bring my # # card back. It will probably be one of the rarest cards now! Much energy and love to all!”
Update #2: I reached out to Uri Geller and was able to briefly interview him.
He said two Nintendo representatives picked up his letter from his friend’s office in Tokyo and left him their business cards. He had pictures. He told me he released his hold on Kadabra with “no conditions,” but said that if Nintendo wanted to pay him a symbolic fee, he would donate the money to sick children. He has not heard back from Nintendo yet.
He had a change of heart because of the emotional requests coming from fans around the world. “I am a grandfather now to Romi and Liya and talking to them every day I suddenly felt the sadness of kids not having Yungeller… I am sending my best wishes and love to all. Yungeller is free.”
He was unable to tell me additional information, stating “that’s all I know.” It seems the rest may be up to Pokemon at this point. Time will tell!