Isaac Asimov’s classic science-fiction novels are getting the prestige streaming treatment with a new Foundation TV series on Apple TV Plus.
Despite having a strong influence on everything from Dune to Star Wars to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Futurama, this is the first time Foundation is making it onto the screen.
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After years of attempts at getting Foundation movies or shows off the ground, Apple seems to have finally cracked it. Foundation may have been pushed back following COVID-related delays, but it’s back on track and about to launch next month.
So, read on for everything we know about the Foundation TV series coming to Apple TV Plus. And if you don’t already have Apple TV Plus, you can sign up by hitting the button below.
What is the Foundation TV series about?
In the Foundation TV series, a group of exiles works to save humanity in the face of a failing empire.
Dr. Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) predicts the fall of the Galactic Empire in a distant future. This puts Seldon at odds with the ruling Cleons who wish to stop him and his followers before they lose their generations-long reign.
But the Cleons know that if they simply kill Seldon, that act may empower his followers, who are already growing in numbers.
As civilization crumbles, Seldon’s Foundation offers hope for future generations, using the mathematician’s statistical laws to understand human history.
When and where can I watch it?
Foundation premieres September 24, exclusively on Apple TV Plus.
The first three episodes will launch at once on September 24, in keeping with several other Apple original series.
After that, the series will air weekly.
Season one of Foundation is comprised of 10 episodes, with the season finale scheduled for November 12.
Apple has not yet announced plans for further seasons.
Foundation has a pretty impressive main cast that includes Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Terrence Mann, and Cassian Bilton.
The overall cast is massive though. Below is a list of actors we know will appear, as well as the characters they’ll play:
- Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn
- Daniel MacPherson as Hugo
- Jared Harris as Hari Seldon
- Kubbra Sait as Phara
- Laura Birn as Eto Demerzel
- Leah Harvey as Salvor Hardin
- Lee Pace as Brother Day
- Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick
- Pravessh Rana as Rowan
- T’Nia Miller as Halima
- Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk
- Clarke Peters (unknown role)
- Nikhil Parmar as Freestone
- Amy Tyger as Azura
- Buddy Skelton as Keir
- Mido Hamada as Master Shadow Obrecht
- Alicia Gerrard as Yate
- Isaiah Joshua Chambers as Mystery Boy
- Johanna O’Brien as Shivaughn
- Nikol Kollars as Jacenta
- Brian F. Mulvey as Travik
- Darragh O’Toole as Romus
- Geoffrey Cantor as Ambassador Thanwall
- Jade Harrison as Bayla
- Julia Farino as Zephyr Gilat
- Cooper Carter as Young Dawn
- Kim Adis as Lowre
- Mark Lavery as Kalin
- Muiris Crowley as Tacud
- Abdul Alshareef as Comms Tech
- Ahd Tamimi as Magnus
- Alfred Enoch (unkown role)
Behind the camera, David S. Goyer serves as showrunner. Goyer, who wrote the first two episodes of Foundation with Josh Friedman, is best known for his writing work on the Blade films, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
Foundation directors include Rupert Sanders, Alex Graves, Jennifer Phang, and Roxann Dawson,
Was the Foundation TV series affected by COVID-19?
As with many series and films, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted production and delayed the release of Foundation.
Filming was already underway in Ireland in March 2020 when COVID restrictions were introduced. Apple suspended production on what was, at the time, Ireland’s largest-scale production ever.
Filming resumed the following October, months behind schedule.
Foundation had to pause production, along with other Apple series.
Other Apple TV Plus series affected by the production shutdown include See, Servant, For All Mankind, Lisey’s Story, and Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet.
A sci-fi classic
The original Foundation is an iconic and influential work of sci-fi by American author Isaac Asimov.
First appearing as a series of short stories in the 1940s and 50s, the works were collected as a trilogy of novels in the 50s — Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. Asimov won a Hugo Award for Foundation, named best all-time series in 1966.
The author returned to the series later. He wrote sequels and prequels to the original trilogy during the 80s.
Foundation has its fingerprints all over science-fiction and fantasy history.
The further works tied Foundation to Asimov’s Robot and Empire series, making Foundation a part of an expansive fictional universe.
Attempts have been made to adapt Foundation in the past, but the Foundation TV series on Apple TV Plus is the first project to actually materialize. New Line Cinema, Sony, and HBO all held the rights to the property at various times starting in the 1990s.
Roland Emmerich was attached to direct at one time, and Jonathan Nolan was contracted by HBO for a previous attempt at a series.
What to expect from the Foundation TV series
With so many stories to draw from, Apple could choose to take the Foundation TV series in several directions. So far, synopses and trailers suggest that the series is sticking mostly to the main storyline of the original stories collected in the Foundation trilogy.
The series likely won’t cover the events of all three novels in its 10-episode first season though, unless it cuts out an awful lot of the story.
It would be reasonable to assume that season one covers book one, and that future seasons will cover later stories. (Assuming Foundation is a big enough success to warrant more.)
Aesthetically, we can already tell from trailers that this is a gorgeous show, with stunning visual effects, beautiful costumes and makeup, and jaw-dropping locations.
We’ll just have to hope it’s as good as it looks.
That’s everything we know about the Foundation TV series coming to Apple TV Plus in September.