Everything We Know

Everything We Know About the Foundation Streaming Series

Based on Isaac Asimov's sci-fi novel trilogy — a major influence on Star Wars and Star Trek — the Apple TV+ series stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace and is expected in early 2021 (pandemic willing).

by | August 17, 2020 | Comments

In the 70-plus years since Isaac Asimov published his epic 1951 science fiction novel Foundation and its sequels — 1952’s Foundation and Empire and 1953’s Second Foundation — this space opera has inspired numerous movies and TV shows (and games, and comics, and other novels…). Not only can you see its influence in Star Trek and Star Wars, but elements of it have even turned up in Futurama.

Now, after a few false starts, Asimov’s influential trilogy is finally making its way to television courtesy of Apple+ and some familiar names. Slated to stream in 2021, the 10-episode show Foundation will be overseen by frequent Christopher Nolan collaborator David S. Goyer, with familial assistance from Asimov’s daughter Robyn Asimov. The series is coming from Skydance Television, which previously produced the Netflix series Altered Carbon (which, not coincidentally, was also based on a classic sci-fi novel).

In the intro to a recently released teaser trailer for the show, Goyer notes that, “People have been trying to make Foundation for over 50 years,” and that, “…the story is sprawling, [and] unfolds over the course of a thousand years.”


Jared Harris in Foundation season 1 teaser trailer screencap

(Photo by Apple TV+)

Set in the far future, the show, like the novels, will follow as Hari Seldon (Jared Harris, pictured), the inventor of a new predictive science called psychohistory, who uses it to try and both slow and limit the impact of what he sees as the inevitable collapse of the Galactic Empire. Of course, this makes some people rather nervous, not the least of which is Hari, who’s not only smart enough to invent a new kind of science, but also to know how the people in power will react to it.

But while the novels are decidedly hard science-fiction stories, short on action and long on intellect, Apple+’s description of Foundation makes it sound like the show might be a bit less literary. According to their press materials, the show “chronicles a band of exiles on their monumental journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization amid the fall of the Galactic Empire,” which suggests this series will follow the spirit of the novels more than the letter.

It’s also doubtful, given the scope and the 10-episode order (so far), that Foundation will cover all three books. It may not even cover all of the first one, especially if they incorporate elements of Asimov’s prequel novels, 1988’s Prelude to Foundation and 1993’s Forward the Foundation. But with the credentials of the people involved, we’re hopeful that Goyer and Apple will be able to pull it off.


Who Are the Creatives on Foundation?

David S. Goyer in 2018

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Goyer serves as the series’ showrunner. (Original co-writer and co-show runner John Friedman left the production in April of 2019, though it’s not known if this was planned or unplanned). And while Goyer is best known as a screenwriter — most notably for Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, the Blade films, and both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — he’s no stranger to TV. He was the co-creator, a producer, and a writer for the SyFy channel’s Superman prequel Krypton, the co-creator and a writer for the WB’s short-lived comic book adaptation Constantine, and is currently helping to develop The Sandman, a show based on author and producer Neil Gaiman’s iconic comic book series.

Joining Goyer in the show’s credits are co-executive producers and writers Leigh Dana Jackson (Helix, 24: Legacy) and Victoria Morrow (Weeds, Rectify), co-producer Adam Banks (Altered Carbon, Luke Cage), and the aforementioned Robyn Asimov, who will serve as an executive producer. The show will also have an episode directed by Rupert Sanders (Ghost in the Shell, Snow White and the Huntsman), though he’s the only director who’s been identified so far.

As for the writers, while Goyer will pen an as-yet-unknown number of episodes, he, Jackson, and Morrow will be joined by Marcus Gardley, who was the executive story editor for 10 episodes of The Chi, and a writer of four; and Sarah Nolen (The Americans). Isaac Asimov will also share writing credit on all 10 episodes, which is a neat trick given that he passed away in 1992.


Who’s in the Cast of Foundation?

Lou Llobell in Foundation season 1 teaser trailer screencap

(Photo by Apple TV+)

Like the crew, many of the cast members also have experience with epic space stories. For the role of Hari Seldon, Goyer and company cast two-time Emmy nominee Harris, who’s well versed in the ways of space and TV thanks to his role as Anderson Dawes in multiple episodes of The Expanse. Harris recently starred in HBO’s Emmy-winning limited series Chernobyl, for which he received his second Emmy nomination; played King George VI in multiple episodes of The Crown; and had roles in the shows The TerrorCarnival Row, Mad Men (his first Emmy nomination), and Fringe.

Foundation also stars Lee Pace, who plays Emperor Brother Day, and will undoubtedly draw from his experience playing Ronan the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. Pace also has experience with epics, and royalty, having played the Elven king Thranduil in The Hobbit movies, as well as TV experience from playing Joe MacMillan in Halt and Catch Fire. He is also Emmy nominated for his role as Ned on ABC fantasy series Pushing Daisies.

Some of the casting of Foundation will change things up from the book. While the character of Eto Demerzel is male in the novels, the role in the show will instead be played by a female, Finnish actor Laura Birn. Birn is best known for the 2014 movie A Walk Among the Tombstones; though she’s also no stranger to serialized entertainment, having played Elena in all eight episodes of Netflix’s The Innocents.

Alfred Enoch has been cast in an as-yet-unidentified role. Like many of his costars, Enoch also has experience with epics, having played Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter movies, and experience with TV, as Wes Gibbins in How to Get Away with Murder. So he’s probably playing a space wizard who’s in law school…or something.

The cast of Foundation also includes Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk, who is the eldest member of the royal family. Mann previously played Whispers in the Netflix show Sense8, though horror fans know him better as Ug, the interstellar bounty hunter in all four Critters movies. Joining him in the royal family as Brother Dawn is Cassian Bilton, a British actor whose previous credits include a handful of short films, including the BAFTA-nominated Shoal.

Bilton is not the only relatively unknown actor in the Foundation cast, though. Gaal Dornick, a mathematician who becomes Seldon’s biographer, will be played by Lou Llobell (pictured), who also appears in the upcoming sci-fi movie Voyagers, while the role of Salvor Hardin, who is the first mayor of Terminus City, will be played by Leah Harvey, who was previously seen in the wrestling movie Fighting with My Family.


When Does Foundation Premiere?

Foundation season 1 teaser trailer screencap

(Photo by Apple TV+)

Like every other show in production these days, production on Foundation has been delayed because of COVID-19. Production was suspended on the show in March 2020, and it has not been announced when it will begin anew; hence, its tentative 2021 release date. But while this isn’t the best news we could give you, it does mean you have plenty of time to read the 220-page original novel — or heck, the 660-page trilogy — and forget most of the plot twists before the show comes to your viewing screen next year.

Tag Cloud

Vudu doctor who Britbox HBO slashers Tomatazos BET Awards game show zombies crime drama Masterpiece political drama Hallmark Christmas movies Amazon Prime Marvel Television video Amazon Studios directors Music X-Men Fall TV ABC Family Fantasy italian Polls and Games Superheroes 24 frames dramedy Stephen King CW Seed tv talk APB television book emmy awards Cosplay Tubi composers science fiction what to watch FOX screen actors guild rotten movies we love MTV comics foreign Brie Larson Holiday concert Hallmark Mary Poppins Returns Amazon Heroines USA FX on Hulu Funimation Toys Oscars screenings green book anime TCA 2017 stop motion Photos Nat Geo CBS All Access Teen Shondaland AMC Adult Swim worst movies toronto Ellie Kemper docudrama child's play nfl VICE Spike Martial Arts elevated horror spain cops stand-up comedy comedies Lionsgate New York Comic Con Esquire spanish language Amazon Prime Video blaxploitation cinemax serial killer Marvel kids Apple TV Plus Biopics strong female leads Winners Year in Review WGN Holidays cancelled space rotten Apple archives Countdown Fox News TCA Winter 2020 jamie lee curtis DirecTV historical drama war zero dark thirty versus sag awards A24 police drama Creative Arts Emmys Showtime Elton John Star Wars San Diego Comic-Con Schedule Avengers Song of Ice and Fire dragons boxoffice BBC America SXSW Calendar Writers Guild of America technology psychological thriller discovery Watching Series festival Disney richard e. Grant fast and furious dark 2019 Mystery DGA Spring TV Sundance TV nbcuniversal MSNBC 71st Emmy Awards 21st Century Fox natural history HBO Go sequel El Rey Bravo Summer Syfy free movies golden globes football ESPN Epix Black History Month Spectrum Originals ratings Mindy Kaling Ovation adaptation Mary poppins E3 FXX VOD Baby Yoda The Purge universal monsters Horror Captain marvel indie TV Action TBS Rocky crime thriller Arrowverse Pop Anna Paquin ITV asian-american documentary Awards Tour hist DC Comics E! sports psycho obituary game of thrones Trailer GLAAD Shudder chucky Valentine's Day 72 Emmy Awards Star Trek Sundance Now werewolf unscripted Acorn TV Food Network National Geographic Ghostbusters BAFTA 20th Century Fox adventure Election Emmys Disney Channel CNN biography witnail Extras GoT TNT twilight documentaries Mudbound Trophy Talk children's TV true crime GIFs vampires YouTube Premium History joker Columbia Pictures hollywood Freeform YA news The Academy animated cars Grammys Netflix Christmas movies Opinion independent 2017 American Society of Cinematographers mutant Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Fox Searchlight Red Carpet robots Marvel Studios Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Awards critics Universal CBS TCA Disney+ Disney Plus a nightmare on elm street Sci-Fi cancelled TV series ABC Academy Awards romantic comedy Thanksgiving cancelled TV shows Box Office Pride Month FX TV Land Reality Competition The CW dogs Women's History Month RT History DC Universe YouTube Red Christmas based on movie Interview social media mockumentary Trivia talk show disaster streaming quibi comic french Musical spider-man A&E Best and Worst First Reviews The Arrangement parents First Look dc cartoon movies OneApp sitcom HBO Max Hear Us Out PBS Lifetime spy thriller crime Netflix Logo best 2018 VH1 Podcast TV renewals remakes period drama Turner video on demand SundanceTV Sundance Dark Horse Comics classics BBC One scorecard Walt Disney Pictures halloween hispanic 4/20 south america Sony Pictures Sneak Peek romance cooking Rock Television Critics Association YouTube RT21 TruTV Set visit Black Mirror Pirates Film Festival teaser latino Lifetime Christmas movies Quiz canceled toy story DC streaming service Mary Tyler Moore zombie canceled TV shows facebook Emmy Nominations Premiere Dates dceu Rom-Com ghosts franchise PlayStation stoner Comedy Central Crunchyroll Lucasfilm Infographic theme song crossover Super Bowl justice league breaking bad Winter TV Paramount Network supernatural Turner Classic Movies laika IFC Musicals Peacock reboot TCM IFC Films Discovery Channel Kids & Family Family Pop TV diversity Pixar CMT Television Academy reviews finale casting SDCC sequels travel Comedy spinoff OWN miniseries NYCC LGBT NBC batman revenge 2020 indiana jones films worst singing competition Cartoon Network 007 mission: impossible Comics on TV Endgame Disney Plus PaleyFest aliens blockbuster cancelled television Character Guide Disney streaming service Starz See It Skip It Nickelodeon MCU politics transformers Animation japanese harry potter Binge Guide comiccon binge cults The Walking Dead Rocketman TIFF Classic Film award winner Pet Sematary Hulu USA Network 2015 criterion Video Games WarnerMedia Chernobyl thriller Reality nature cats 45 President Apple TV+ Paramount Certified Fresh Western TLC halloween tv Marathons BBC venice name the review die hard The Witch superhero satire Tumblr LGBTQ Crackle Tarantino BET Drama all-time anthology Comic Book Warner Bros. Film festivals series TCA Awards Country christmas movies spanish scary movies Travel Channel movie 2016 renewed TV shows Nominations Superheroe Cannes medical drama