Gaal Dornick documents the beginning of the end in Foundation, the Apple TV+ adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s dystopian epic on the inevitable decline of a galactic superpower centuries in the making. Jared Harris plays Hari Seldon, an esteemed professor of psychohistory, and the protagonist of the Foundation series. He uses mathematical sociology to chart the fate of an empire that has expanded beyond the stars, and the prognosis is grim. Civilization is crumbling. Seldon warns the Emperor (Lee Pace) of its impending collapse, in the hopes he would salvage whatever he could in pursuit of human preservation, but is accused of threatening the Empire and encouraging subversion.
Dornick is Hari Seldon’s biographer, played in Foundation by newcomer Lou Llobell. Foundation’s newest trailer features Gaal Dornick centerstage as she begins making records of Seldon’s eventual race against time. Check it out here:
Gaal Dornick’s role in the series is just as integral to human advancement as Hari Seldon’s unflappable duty to mankind. Dornick is a psychohistorian, an archivist responsible for documenting future events rather than what has come before. The story of the Foundation is told through her eyes as she chronicles over a thousand years of projected barbarism, as well as Seldon’s attempts at restoring order.
The Galactic Empire, led by Lee Pace’s Brother Day, continues to resist humanity’s prophesied trajectory; in response, the professor assembles the Seldon Project, a select group of individuals committed to resisting the will of the Empire and the precursor to the First Foundation. Chief among these is Gaal Dornick. She relocates to Terminus, the home planet of the Foundation, to partake in the edification of society, and is eventually bumped up to an encyclopedist as well as a professor of mathematics. The character is male in the books, but was genderbent for the show.
The trailer depicts Gaal Dornick at the start of her journey, traveling from star system to star system in search of Hari Seldon, “a man who could forecast the future.” It traces her attempts at making contact and eventually, she does; Dornick inquires about Seldon’s postulation on the end of civilization with admirable gusto, to which the professor replies, “It’s not a theory.” Hari Seldon retells his findings before the young mathematician and describes the flight path as “the future of mankind expressed in numbers.” The new trailer elaborates on the Empire’s frigid response to the emerging movement that is Hari Seldon’s Foundation; the professor is branded a charlatan and false Messiah, and Brother Day seeks to eliminate him and dismantle his legacy.
Dornick soon devotes herself to Seldon’s cause and begins writing the Foundation, an exhaustive guide for survivors of the coming apocalypse. “If humanity is to climb from the ashes,” the professor explains in voiceover, “the coming generations will need the knowledge to build upon,” hence a foundation. This is where Dornick comes in; her job is to pick out only the most essential facets of civilization, elements that deserve to be memorialized and survival instincts long forgotten in the mists of prehistory. Her drafts exclude the myriad bureaucratic transgressions that orchestrated the Empire’s fall to begin with, with the goal of never repeating history at the cost of human life. Dornick commits wholly to “the plan,” which has become the only history worth remembering.
David S. Goyer wrote the small-screen adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation with Josh Friedman. Both are veterans of science fiction epics and superhero franchises, with Goyer headlining Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, and Friedman penning Terminator: Dark Fate, Avatar 2, Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, and the Snowpiercer TV series. The show stars Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Lou Llobell, Leah Harvey, Laura Birn, Alfred Enoch, Cassian Bilton, and Terrence Mann. Apple TV+’s Foundation premieres on September 24.