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Whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to argue that Apple’s Foundation has been a pretty big hit for the company’s streaming service, and now Apple TV+ is preparing to debut its second season later this year.
While Foundation hasn’t yet brought in the record numbers of viewers that popular shows like Ted Lasso have reached, it does have the rather dubious honour of being one of the most pirated shows of 2021 — the first series in Apple’s catalogue to make that list.
In fact, Foundation was one of Apple’s most highly anticipated projects, causing no small amount of buzz long before Apple TV+ even launched. In that regard, it was perhaps second only to The Morning Show in pre-release popularity, although likely for entirely different reasons.
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While The Morning Show was lauded for its serious star power, Foundation was viewed as a far more challenging project in purely creative terms. The Isaac Asimov novels on which the eponymous series was to be based have such a massive scope that many had tried — and failed — to successfully adapt them to the screen. Even HBO couldn’t crack that particular nut, and an attempt at a Foundation series on that network never made it past the initial concept stages.
The Apple TV+ series’ Executive Producer, David S. Goyer, solved this problem by taking quite a few liberties in interpreting the Foundation novels, to the point where the result is only loosely based on Asimov’s work. To put it another way, this all takes place in the Foundation universe, features some of the same characters and overarching plot points, but otherwise tells a fundamentally different narrative.
The move has alienated some fans of Asimov’s original trilogy, but as long as you’re willing to set that aside and see Foundation as a new story, perhaps something more akin to fan fiction, it’s an enjoyable show that’s both sophisticated and well put together.
Of course, like any show, Foundation isn’t for everybody, but it seems to have garnered a positive critical response and a strong following. Plus, season 1 has left enough loose ends to leave fans wondering exactly what’s to come in season 2.
Although Apple isn’t sharing any major spoilers, it has given us a taste of what we can expect, including a list of both returning and new cast members.
The Story So Far
If you’ve been paying any attention to Foundation at all, you’re probably already aware that the series will span several centuries, as the galaxy-sprawling Galactic Empire gradually descends into chaos over hundreds of years — a prediction made in the very first episode. Season 1 already jumped across several decades, and it’s clear that season 2 is poised to leap ahead another century or so.
In this sense, Foundation stays somewhat true to Asimov’s original works, which is one of the things that made it such a complicated TV project. You can’t exactly change an entire cast of characters from season to season and expect people to keep tuning in, so Goyer had to figure out a way to bring some consistency across all these different generations. In fact, much of his adaption of Asimov’s work was constructed around this core principle.
Perhaps the most blatant of these was to create a “genetic dynasty” of Emperors. While Emperor Cleon only showed up in the prequels of the original Foundation books, Goyer’s solution allows character continuity across the entire series, with Lee Pace starring as several clones of what is effectively the same character, across hundreds of years.
Similar liberties have been taken with other characters and their circumstances to ensure that they’ll continue to appear in future seasons, rather than needing to be written out and replaced.
Of course, not everybody is going to survive into the next century of Foundation. Instead, we’re going to see several new characters joining the show to round things out and tell the next chapter in the saga.
The Season 2 Cast
In a teaser press release, Apple has shared that Jarred Harris (“Harry Seldon”), Lee Pace (“Brother Day”), Lou Llobell (“Gaal Dornick”), Leah Harvey (“Salvor Hardin”), Laura Birn (“Demerzel”), Terrence Mann (“Brother Dusk”), and Cassian Bilton (“Brother Dawn”) will all be returning. Basically, this includes most of the important characters, which have all been brought forward through time in various ways, whether as clones, sentient holograms, or robots, or simply through cryogenic freezing.
Season 2 will also bring at least ten new cast members, with Apple providing descriptions that should give us some hints as to what direction the story will be taking over the next few episodes.
- Isabella Laughland as Brother Constant, a cheerfully confident cleric whose job is to evangelize the Church of the Galactic Spirit across the Outer Reach. Constant is a true believer, whose courage and passion make her hard not to love.
- Kulvinder Ghir as Poly Verisof, High Cleric of the Church of the Galactic Spirit. Whip-smart and sardonic, he’s also a terrible drunk — intelligent enough to see the path he’s on, but too cynical to change.
- Sandra Yi Sencindiver as Enjoiner Rue, the beautiful, politically savvy consigliere to Queen Sareth. A former courtesan to Cleon the 16th, Rue parlayed her status to become a royal counsellor.
- Ella-Rae Smith as Queen Sareth of Cloud Dominion. Used to being underestimated, Sareth employs it to her advantage, charming her way into the Imperial Palace with biting wit, all while on a secret quest for revenge.
- Dimitri Leonidas as Hober Mallow, a master trader with a sarcastic personality and questionable morals, who is summoned against his will to serve a higher, selfless cause.
- Ben Daniels as Bel Roise, the last great general of the Superliminal Fleet and would-be conqueror of the Foundation. Bel is noble to a fault, but his fealty to the Galactic Empire is waning.
- Holt McCallany as Warden Jaegger Fount, the current Warden of Terminus and guardian of its citizens against external threats.
- Mikael Persbrandt as The Warlord of Kalgan, a monster of a man, coiled with muscle and possessing powerful psychic abilities, and fueled by hate in his quest to take over the galaxy.
- Rachel House as Tellem Bond, the mysterious leader of the Mentallics.
- Nimrat Kaur as Yanna Seldon.
Some of the names above will be familiar to fans of Asimov’s novels, but based on what Apple and Goyer have done so far, we’d be careful about making too many assumptions about exactly how they’re going to fit into the overall storyline. After all, let’s not forget that Gaal Dornick and Salvor Hardin were both men in Asimov’s novels, and Dornick basically had no personality to speak of.
Apple hasn’t announced when Season 2 of Foundation will make its debut, saying only that it’s “coming soon.” While we’ll almost certainly see it sometime this year, it’s most likely to arrive in the fall to coincide with the season premieres of most other new shows.