Apple’s Isaac Asimov ‘Foundation’ Series Is Taking Shape

Michael Whelan Isaac Asimov Foundation
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While we’ve been inundated with news lately about Apple’s November Apple TV+ lineup, there are still quite a few projects that the company is quietly working on behind the scenes, and despite the lack of much news about them, it seems like most are still on track.

One such example is Apple’s extremely ambitious TV series based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation sci-fi trilogy. We first heard over a year ago that Apple had landed the rights to do a TV adaptation of the epic saga, but haven’t heard much else about it since.

Asimov’s classic trilogy is a genre-defining sci-fi saga that laid the foundation (no pun intended) for a whole generation of science fiction and fantasy films from Star Wars to Star Trek, and there’s been no shortage of writers who have tried to translate the galaxy-sprawling saga onto the big screen with very limited success. Most recently, HBO even tried to develop its own series based on it, with Interstellar co-writer and Westworld executive producer Jonathan Nolan, but it never gained any traction and was cancelled before even resulting in a series order.

In fact, the complexity of Asimov’s work — a complex saga of humans scattered on planets throughout a massive Galactic Empire — easily makes it one of the most ambitious projects that Apple could undertake, and it wouldn’t have been entirely surprising to find out that Apple’s plans for the project had failed. However, a new report from The Hollywood Reporter reveals that not only is it still moving forward, but Apple has actually begun casting for it.

We already know that David S. Goyer — known for the Terminator reboot, along with The Dark Knight, Batman Begins and the Blade franchise — will serve as executive producer and showrunner. While Josh Friedman was originally tagged to produce the series alongside Goyer, he departed the project in April, leaving Goyer as the lone showrunner. However, Friedman will continue to have executive producer credit, alongside Skydance Television’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross.

More notably, however, Apple has now cast Emmy nominee Jared Harris, known for Chernobyl, along with Lee Pace of Halt and Catch Fire to head up the cast of the new sci-fi drama series.

Harris will star as the main protagonist, Hari Seldon, the mathematical genius who predicts the demise of the Galactic Empire, while Pace will take on the role of Brother Day, the current Emperor of the Galaxy.

The production is said to follow the format of Asimov’s works as closely as a scripted television series can, and will chronicle the epic story of “The Foundation,” the eponymous band of exiles who find that the only way that they can prevent the demise of the Galactic Empire is to defy it.

There’s still no information on when the Foundation series will actually begin production, much less when it will make its Apple TV+ debut, but if Apple and the team behind it can pull this off — and that’s a big “if” considering how many highly-critical sci-fi fans of Asimov’s work will be watching closely — it has the potential to become a flagship series for Apple TV+ that could easily rival sagas like Game of Thrones. Personally, we’re optimistically looking forward to seeing what Apple will do with this one.

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