Jared Harris and Lee Pace star in Foundation, coming to Apple TV Plus in 2021.

At today's 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple dropped the first teaser trailer for Foundation, a new TV series for Apple TV adapted from Isaac Asimov's seminal Foundation series of novels. The new show, which stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace, had already begun filming when the global pandemic shut down production in March. The teaser offers our first glimpse of what this highly anticipated series will look like, as well as a few peeks behind the curtain on set.

(Mild spoilers for the first book in the Foundation series below.)

The series started out as eight short stories by Asimov that appeared in Astounding Magazine between 1942 and early 1950, inspired in part by Edward Gibbons' History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The first four of those stories were collected, along with a new introductory story, and published as Foundation in 1951. The next pair of stories became Foundation and Empire (1952), with the final two stories appearing in 1953's Second Foundation. Asimov's publishers eventually convinced him to continue the series, starting with two sequels: Foundation's Edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1986). Next came a pair of prequels: Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1993), the latter published posthumously. (Asimov died in 1992.)

The original trilogy centered on a mathematician named Hari Seldon, who has developed a mathematical approach to sociology he calls "psychohistory" that enables him to predict the future of large populations—like the Galactic Empire, which incorporates all inhabitants of the Milky Way. Unfortunately, Seldon's theory predicts an imminent collapse of the empire—well, in 500 years, which is certainly imminent on galactic time scales. This will usher in a Dark Age lasting 30,000 years, after which a second empire will arise. The news is not well received by the members of the Committee on Public Safety, who essentially rule the empire, and Seldon is forced to stand trial for treason, along with a brilliant young mathematical protege named Gaal.

In his defense, Seldon argues that he cannot stop the collapse, but there is a way to limit those Dark Ages to just 1,000 years. He proposes creating a Foundation, a group of the most intelligent minds in the empire, charged with preserving all human knowledge in the Encyclopedia Galactica. Rather than executing Seldon, the committee decides to exile him to a remote world called Terminus, along with the members of the new Foundation, where they can begin compiling the encyclopedia. Much of the first book in the trilogy follows the establishment of the colony on Terminus and the various political machinations that shape its early history, along with a startling revelation: unbeknownst to the committee, Seldon has established a second Foundation at the other end of the galaxy.

  • Jared Harris stars as Hari Seldon. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • Lee Pace plays Brother Day, current Emperor of the Galaxy. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • An intense discussion. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • This could be Trantor, capitol of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • Spacecraft of the Galactic Empire. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • A stately procession. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • Laura Birn plays Eto Demerzel, aide to the Emperor of the Galaxy. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • Weary travelers by water. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • Lou Llobell stars as mathematical genius Gaal. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • Leah Harvey plays Salvor, warden of Terminus.
  • Catch those Star Wars vibes. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • Queen of her remote domain. Apple TV
  • Seldon seeks to preserve human knowledge in the face of the imminent collapse of the empire.
  • Burning books is not the way to preserve knowledge. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • Looks like a decent rendering of a black hole. YouTube/Apple TV Plus
  • This shot has movie poster potential. YouTube/Apple TV Plus

New Line Cinema tried to develop a film version of the Foundation trilogy back in 1998, spending a cool $1.5 million on the project before throwing in the towel and signing on to produce The Lord of the Rings film trilogy instead. Columbia Pictures tried to do the same in 2009, with Roland Emmerich attached to direct, but that project never happened either. HBO acquired the rights in 2014, with Jonathan Nolan aboard to adapt it into a TV series, which also failed to materialize. Finally, Apple commissioned a 10-episode straight-to-series order, with David Goyer serving as showrunner.

The official premise is short and sweet: Foundation "chronicles a band of exiles on their monumental journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization amid the fall of the Galactic Empire." We don't have many details beyond that and no sense of how closely the series will hew to its source material—but it's a good sign that Robyn Asimov, the novelist's daughter, serves as one of the executive produRead More – Source

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