Foundation TV Series Overview


Introduction

Foundation is an American science fiction streaming television series created by David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman for Apple TV+, based on the Foundation series of stories by Isaac Asimov.

Outline

Foundation chronicles “…the thousand year saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it.”

A complex saga of humans scattered on planets throughout the galaxy all living under the rule of the Galactic Empire.

  • Foundation premiered on 24 September 2021.
  • The series has received a generally positive critical response.
  • In October 2021, the series was renewed for a second season.

Cast

  • Main:
    • Jared Harris as Hari Seldon, a mathematician and developer of psychohistory, an algorithmic science that allows him to predict the future in terms of probabilities.
    • Lee Pace as Brother Day, the middle-aged member of a series of genetic clones of Cleon I who reigns as Emperor of the 12,000-year old Galactic Empire; Pace also portrays Cleon I in his prime (episodes 1, 3), and an older Brother Dawn upon his ascension as Brother Day (episode 3).
    • Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick, Hari’s protégée, a self-taught young woman from a planet where the pursuit of knowledge is considered heresy.
    • Leah Harvey as Salvor Hardin, the Warden of Terminus 35 years after Seldon’s trial and hero of the Foundation’s first crisis; later revealed to be the genetic daughter of Gaal Dornick and Raych Foss.
    • Laura Birn as Eto Demerzel, majordomo to the Emperors and one of the last surviving androids from the ancient Robot Wars.
    • Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk, the eldest member of a series of genetic clones of Cleon I who retired from his duties as Emperor; Mann also portrays an elderly Cleon I (episodes 2-3), an aged Brother Day upon his ascension as Brother Dusk (episode 3), and a frail Brother Dusk upon his final ascension as Brother Darkness (episode 3).
    • Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn, the youngest member of a series of genetic clones of Cleon I and the successor-in-training of Brother Day (episode 3 onward).
  • Recurring:
    • Alfred Enoch as Raych Foss, the adopted son of Hari Seldon.
    • Cooper Carter as the child Brother Dawn/Cleon XIII.
    • Reece Shearsmith as Jerril, an Imperial agent during Cleon XII’s reign.
    • Clarke Peters as Abbas Hardin, a Seldon follower, the first Warden and first Mayor of Terminus, and father of Salvor Hardin.
    • Sasha Behar as Mari Hardin, a Seldon follower and the mother of Salvor Hardin.
    • Daniel MacPherson as Hugo, an interplanetary trader from Thespis who became Salvor Hardin’s lover.
    • Kubbra Sait as Grand Huntress Phara Keaen, the top military officer of Anacreon who personally leads a raid on Terminus.
    • Elliot Cowan as Lewis Pirenne, the Director of the Foundation and first successor of Hari Seldon.
    • Amy Tyger as Azura Odili, an Imperial Palace gardener and love interest of Brother Dawn/Cleon XIV.
    • Mido Hamada as Shadow Master Obrecht, the Imperial spymaster during Cleon XIII’s reign.
    • Christian Contreras as Commander Dorwin, an Imperial soldier sent to investigate loss of contact with Terminus.
    • T’Nia Miller as Zephyr Halima Ifa, a senior priestess of the Luminist faith vying to become its next leader.
  • Guest:
  • Ian McNeice as Master Statistician Tivole, the head of the Emperor’s personal team of mathematicians.
  • Chipo Chung as the voice of the Deliverance operating system.

Production

Development

On 27 June 2017, it was reported that Skydance Television was developing a television series adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction book series Foundation with David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman serving as the production’s writers. At the time of the report, the production company was in the midst of closing a deal with Asimov’s estate for the rights to the book series. On 10 April 2018, it was announced that Apple, through their Worldwide Video Unit, had bought the series and put it into development with the potential for a straight-to-series order. It was further announced that Goyer and Friedman were also expected to serve as executive producers and showrunners. Other executive producers announced included David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross.

On 23 August 2018, it was announced that Apple had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. It was also announced that Asimov’s daughter, Robyn Asimov, would serve as an executive producer. On 18 April 2019, Josh Friedman left as co-writer and co-showrunner. On 28 July 2019, it was revealed that Troy Studios in Limerick, Ireland, would host production of the show. According to Screen Ireland the series would create more than 500 production jobs at the studio. Asimov’s daughter, Robyn Asimov, provides familial assistance to the series. Goyer pitched the series in one sentence: “It’s a 1,000-year chess game between Hari Seldon and the Empire, and all the characters in between are the pawns, but some of the pawns over the course of this saga end up becoming kings and queens.” On 07 October 2021, Apple TV+ renewed the series for a second season.

Writing

In January 2021, Goyer stated “with Foundation we can tell the story, hopefully, over the course of eighty episodes; eighty hours, as opposed to trying to condense it all into two or three hours for a single film”. Goyer said that this format might not succeed, but if it did it would be unique. David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman were set as the production’s writers; however, Friedman left as co-writer in April 2019. Goyer also noted that telling a story that took place over 1,000 years was something a film could not accomplish and would have been a harder story to tell in that format.

Casting

On 22 October 2019, it was announced that Lee Pace and Jared Harris were cast as Brother Day and Hari Seldon, respectively. On 04 December 2019, five additional cast members were announced: Lou Llobell stars as Gaal, a mathematical genius from a rural, repressed planet. Leah Harvey as Salvor, the protective and intuitive warden of a remote outer planet. Laura Birn stars as Eto Demerzel, the enigmatic aide to the Emperor of the Galaxy. Terrence Mann stars as Brother Dusk, the eldest living member of the ruling family. Cassian Bilton plays Brother Dawn, the youngest living member of the ruling family and next in line to be Brother Day. In a June 2021 trailer, Alfred Enoch was revealed as part of the cast. New characters Brother Day, Brother Dusk, and Brother Dawn are original characters created for the series. Each is a different-aged clone in the “genetic dynasty” of the Emperor Cleon I: the youngest clone is called Dawn, the middle clone and reigning emperor is called Day, and the emperor emeritus is called Dusk.

Filming

On 12 March 2020, Apple suspended production of the show in Ireland due to COVID-19. On 06 October, filming was resumed. On 27 January 2021, Goyer announced that after quarantining and receiving special waivers from the government of Malta, cast and crew members were allowed to start filming on the island. Goyer noted, filming was always planned to be conducted in Malta; however, due to new restrictions imposed in London, they moved significant portions of production to Malta. Filming in Malta concluded in February 2021. Filming in Tuineje, Fuerteventura was already wrapped by March 2021. The production team worked in volcanic landscapes such as the Caldera de los Arrabales and Granja de Pozo Negro. The production team then moved to Tenerife, where filming resumed on 22 March 2021. Filming concluded in April 2021 after 19 months.

Release

On 22 June 2020, as part of its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple released a teaser trailer for the series. In February 2021, it was reported that the series would premiere in late 2021. In June 2021, Apple announced that Foundation would premiere in September 2021. Later that month, Apple released a second official trailer and confirmed the premiere date as 24 September 2021. The series premiered with a two-episode release, with the remaining eight episodes scheduled to be released weekly.

Trivia

  • Asimov’s Foundation was originally published as a short story series in Astounding Magazine between May 1942 and January 1950, based on ideas in Edward Gibbon’s History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
  • Three major male characters in the original novels are portrayed by females.
    • Salvor Hardin, Gaal Dornick and Eto Demerzel (although Demerzel does not appear at all in the original trilogy).
  • In the original Foundation Trilogy’s universe, and also the immediate sequel Foundation’s Edge, robots were unknown.
    • In three subsequent novels, Asimov retconned this and merged his Robot and Foundation universes.
    • This in turn allowed robots to appear in two Foundation prequels written by Asimov.
    • The presence of a robotic character in the series tells us that this adaptation is not simply based the original trilogy, but the unified Universe created by Asimov.
  • Jared Harris, who plays Hari Seldon is the son of Richard Harris, was in the first two Harry Potter movies with Alfred Enoch, who portrays Seldon’s assistant Raych.

Foundation Series

  • Series 02 (2022):
    • Commissioned in October 2021.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Alex Graves … (3 episodes, 2021).
    • Roxann Dawson … (2 episodes, 2021).
    • Jennifer Phang … (2 episodes, 2021).
    • Andrew Bernstein … (1 episode, 2021).
    • David S. Goyer … (1 episode, 2021).
    • Rupert Sanders … (1 episode, 2021).
  • Producer(s):
    • David S. Goyer … executive producer (11 episodes, 2021).
    • Robyn Asimov … executive producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Winston Azzopardi … line producer malta (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Adam Banks … co-producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Tara Doolan … associate producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Catherine Dunne … line producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Leigh Dana Jackson … co-executive producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Macdara Kelleher … producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Joseph Keyes … associate producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • David Kob … producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Michael J. Malone … producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Victoria Morrow … co-executive producer (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Michael Schwarz … line producer: Germany (3 episodes, 2021).
    • Jo Homewood … line producer (2 episodes, 2021).
    • Bill Bost … executive producer (1 episode, 2021).
    • Leifur B. Dagfinnsson … line producer (1 episode, 2021).
    • Josh Friedman … executive producer (1 episode, 2021).
    • Cameron Welsh … executive producer (2019) (unknown episodes).
    • David Ellison … executive producer (unknown episodes).
    • Dana Goldberg … executive producer (unknown episodes).
    • Marcy Ross … executive producer (unknown episodes).
  • Writer(s):
    • Isaac Asimov … (based on the novels by) (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Josh Friedman … (created by and written for television) (10 episodes, 2021).
    • David S. Goyer … (created by and written for television) (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Sarah Nolen … (story editor and written for television) (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Olivia Purnell … (executive story editor and written for television) (10 episodes, 2021).
    • Lauren Bello … (written for television by) (1 episode, 2021).
    • Marcus Gardley … (written for television by) (1 episode, 2021).
    • Leigh Dana Jackson … (written for television by) (1 episode, 2021).
    • Victoria Morrow … (written for television by) (1 episode, 2021).
    • Caitlin Saunders … (written for television by) (1 episode, 2021).
  • Music:
    • Bear McCreary … (10 episodes, 2021).
  • Cinematography:
    • Owen McPolin … (3 episodes, 2021).
    • Tico Poulakakis … (3 episodes, 2021).
    • Danny Ruhlmann … (2 episodes, 2021).
    • Cathal Watters … (2 episodes, 2021).
    • Steve Annis … (1 episode, 2021).
    • Thomas Kloss … (1 episode, 2021).
    • Darran Tiernan … (1 episode, 2021).
  • Editor(s):
    • Paul Trejo … (3 episodes, 2021).
    • Miklos Wright … (3 episodes, 2021).
    • Emily Greene … (2 episodes, 2021).
    • Skip Macdonald … (2 episodes, 2021).
  • Production:
    • Skydance Television.
    • Latina Pictures.
    • Wild Atlantic Pictures.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Apple TV+ (2021) (World-wide) (video) (VOD).
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 24 September 2021 to 19 November 2021.
    • Series 02: 2022.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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