This morning we wrote about reports that Magic: The Gathering would be expanding into new licensed intellectual properties such as Lord of the Rings and Warhammer 40,000. This has now all officially come to light, and Wizards of the Coast even gave a name for the initiative they are taking: Universes Beyond. Wizards also showcased an all-new logo and website for their reorganized branch of Hasbro.
The announcement says Magic: The Gathering will be beginning to explore new IPs starting in 2022. What this means is that we will be seeing more out-of-world references in cards similar to those seen in the Secret Lair: The Walking Dead drop. In fact, Secret Lair: The Walking Dead will be retroactively considered part of the series. The cards in the Universes Beyond subset of Magic cards will be marked with the same stamp of authenticity that these cards received, as well.
It won't all be Secret Lair products, however, as Wizards of the Coast confirms in their announcement article. Prominently mentioned in that article are a full set based on the Lord of the Rings franchise, as well as preconstructed Commander decks focused around the Warhammer 40,000 universe. That won't even be the end of it, though, as there will be more announcements on this subject to come.
While at least some (and likely all) of Universes Beyond will be legal in Commander, WotC has confirmed that these cards will not become legal in Standard. They did not mention whether cards from Universes Beyond will be legal in other formats like Historic, Pioneer, Modern, Pauper, or Legacy.
While some Magic players are known as big fans of the mentioned franchises, like YouTuber PleasantKenobi (who has a sizable collection of Warhammer 40,000 miniatures), he and many of other Magic players are absolutely livid over this crossover project.
Bearing in mind that the Godzilla Series was a re-skin of then-new cards existing under Magic's properties, the idea of new cards outside of Magic's IP is nothing new. Nonetheless, players were understandably angry with Secret Lair: The Walking Dead when that was revealed.
It can be inferred that this will be a contentious topic in the coming year. If this concept becomes normalized, that anger will ideally lessen, but for now, it might be nicer to consider what cool properties we may see within the Universes Beyond initiative.