The Foundation Series: All We Know About AppleTV+’s Asimov Adaptation

Here's what we know about the upcoming adaptation of Isaac Asimov's groundbreaking sci-fi series.

By Drew Dietsch

This article is more than 2 years old

Foundation series AppleTV+

The Foundation series is one of the cornerstones of science fiction storytelling. Prolific sci-fi author Isaac Asimov wrote the first stories between 1942 and 1950. Those stories were collected together in 1951 and published as Foundation. Later stories were published in pairs as Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation. These would be referred to as the Foundation trilogy for many years. Asimov would add to the series with later novels, but his Foundation trilogy is considered the pinnacle of the saga.

Now, AppleTV+ is adapting the Foundation series for the very first time. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming prestige sci-fi show.

Promoting Apple’s Foundation Series

The first trailer for Apple’s Foundation series has been released. Watch the first teaser below…

Now, we have a longer and better look at the series in a new trailer, and it is promising a sci-fi epic. See the full trailer below.

Casting the Foundation Series

For this inaugural season of the Foundation series, the show is banking on some legitimate character actors to carry the weight. Jared Harris (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mad Men) will portray mathematician and central figure Hari Seldon.

Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy) will portray the Emperor, Brother Day, and will be the lead antagonist for this first season.

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Lou Loblell in Foundation

Relative newcomer Lou Loblell will portray Gaal, described as a mathematical genius from a rural planet and possibly a confidant to Seldon.

Leah Harvey in Foundation

Other notable characters include Salvor (Leah Harvey), the warden of a remote planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy, and Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann), the eldest member of the imperial family.

Foundation Series 2020 Delays

Unfortunately, the Foundation series hit a big speed bump in 2020. The series was underway when production had to shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. While enough work had been done on the show to put out a teaser trailer, the show was on hold until production could resume.

Producer David S. Goyer said in an interview that he strongly feels the show will premiere in late 2021, but there is no guarantee. The Apple TV+ page for the series continued to say “2021”.

The Foundation series is going to be AppleTV+’s prestige series and they don’t want to do anything that could jeopardize it. They’ve spent a ton of money on the project and plan to have it available to customers at some point in 2021. Granted, this all depends on when production on the series can resume. If it can start before the end of 2020, it’s possible that the series will be positioned as a summer must-see event for the streaming service.

Still, it’s worth getting excited about Foundation. The assembled talent and the large production budget means that AppleTV+ is taking this show very seriously. Once it can start shooting episodes again, it will almost certainly be given a strong marketing campaign. Science fiction fans have been waiting for decades to see the Foundation series make its way to the world of motion pictures. In 2021, we’ll finally get to see what Isaac Asimov’s landmark sci-fi series looks like in live-action.

The Official Release Date For The Foundation Series

The official release date was finally announced! Foundation will release the first three episodes on Apple TV+ on Friday, September 24, 2021. After that, the episodes will release one a week.

What Is the Foundation Series?

foundation series hari seldon

The Foundation series is a story that spans millennia, but the kickoff involves mathematician Hari Seldon spending his life developing psychohistory, a theory that can predict the future of the galactic population. Seldon’s research and application of psychohistory predicts that the Galactic Empire will soon crumble and usher in 30,000 years of barbarism.

To prevent this, Seldon hatches a plan that will limit this chaos to only 1,000 years. He intends to create the Foundations, two settlements comprised of the galaxy’s greatest engineers, scientists, and intelligent minds. These collectives will make settlements at opposite ends of the Milky Way galaxy and will be essential in creating the new Galactic Empire.

This is the simplest breakdown of the Foundation series but it doesn’t capture just how vast and spread out the story gets. However, it looks like the first season of AppleTV+’s television series will be concentrated on the earlier parts of the story that involve Hari Seldon and his confrontations with the Galactic Empire, so we’re going to stick with that for now.

The Long Road to Foundation

AppleTV+ is making history with their adaptation of the Foundation series as it’s a property that has been in some stage of development for over twenty years. At one point, it was going to be produced by New Line Cinema but they abandoned the project in favor of The Lord of the Rings. It was later picked up by none other than Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) but that also failed to manifest. Even Jonathan Nolan was attached to write and produce a television series for HBO back in 2014.

Eventually, the rights lapsed and the project landed at AppleTV+. David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight, Dark City) was given the role of showrunner and executive producer. AppleTV+ ordered the show straight to series with a ten-episode first season. It’s planned that the Foundation series will be a big selling point for AppleTV+. The idea is for it to act as a subscription seller, much like Game of Thrones was for HBO or Stranger Things was for Netflix.