This week Niantic and The Pokemon Company announced a collaboration of sorts. The first part of this collaboration will mark the 5 year anniversary of the game Pokemon GO on mobile devices, starting “in late May 2021.” Professor Willow “will appear as a Pokemon TCG card in summer 2021” and will be “obtainable” in stores around the world. It’s not yet clear how this first (of a series) of cards will be made available to gamers.
In late May of 2021, the Professor Willow card will be announced with art and content. At the same time, details on “how to get the card in each area” will be announced. At this time it would appear that the ONLY confirmed bit of this collaboration is a single card: Professor Willow.
It’s almost as if Niantic and The Pokemon Company haven’t solidified their entire plan with this card and/or the rest of the series yet, given the language they’ve presented. They’ve suggested that they “will make announcements as further collaborations are determined.” They’ve also said that this is “part 1 of the collaboration.”
Given the powers and effectiveness of past iterations of Professor cards in the card game through the past couple decades, it’s likely Professor Willow will appear as a Trainer card. It would not be a shock to find Professor Willow work similar to the original Professor Oak, a simple card that allowed the user to discard their entire hand and draw 7 new cards. It could also be that Professor Willow will play a part in the next generation of the card game, complete new new game mechanics.
UPDATE: It would also appear that this card will take part in the 25th anniversary of the release of Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green. As the original TCG (Pokemon Trading Card Game) was released at effectively the same time, this marks the 25th anniversary of the card game, too.
UPDATE 2: The Pokemon GO team used the phrase “A collaboration has been finalized between Pokémon GO and the Pokémon Trading Card Game!” So we’ll see how this plays out in the coming weeks – we shall see!