Foundation series

Apple has given the green light to a TV show based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series

Apple placed direct order for acclaimed sci-fi adaptation of Isaac Asimov Foundation trilogy after picking up the show for development earlier this spring.

In April, Deadline reported that Apple is developing an adaptation of the series, which adds to the company’s growing list of original content offerings as it seeks to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Disney. The initial order for the show is 10 episodes.

The show comes from David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Man of Steel) and Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and the next one Snowdrops TV show), who started working on the project last year with Skydance Television. The studio also worked on this year’s Netflix series. Altered carbon. The project is potentially huge for Apple: The novels are incredibly popular reads and have served as the basis (forgive me) for a number of other sci-fi stories, such as Star wars.

Apple has already given the green light to a number of shows as it prepares to develop its own streaming video service, which could arrive as early as March 2019. The company has reportedly invested $ 1 billion in new shows and commissioned a series in space from Battlestar Galactica‘s Ron Moore, a reboot of Amazing stories (although showrunner Bryan Fuller has since left the project due to creative differences), a futurist, Hunger games catch fire-style Steven Knight drama called See, and an untitled drama on a network morning show, starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.

Asimov’s Foundation first appeared in Breathtaking science fiction as a short story series between 1942 and 1950. Although he enjoyed reading and writing historical fiction, the research required to write true historical fiction was impractical, he writes in his biography, me, Asimov. Instead, he decided to invent his own: a “historical novel from the future, a science fiction story that read like a historical novel. After reading Edward Gibbon’s book The story of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, he realized he could do something similar: tell the story of the rise and fall of a galactic civilization.

He pitched the idea to its magazine editor, John W. Campbell Jr, who liked the idea, and conceived it as a “long, open saga of the fall of the Galactic Empire, the age darkness that followed, and the eventual rise of a Second Galactic Empire. Asimov finally put together the resulting five new ones in Foundation, which tells the story of a mathematician and psychologist who predicts the fall of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire and creates a repository of knowledge called the Encyclopedia Galactica, designed to ward off the dark ages to come.

The series follows the development of this foundation, the fall of the empire, and efforts to reestablish a galactic civilization. The following novel, Foundation and Empire, documents the struggles between the remnants of the Empire and the Foundation, as well as the rise of a singular figure known as The Mule, who seeks to destroy the Foundation. Second Foundation, the final novel in the original trilogy continues to follow The Mule’s efforts to destroy the Foundation and its supporters. Asimov then returned to the universe in the 1980s with several additional sequelae, Foundation edge and Foundation and Earth, and ultimately linked the series with his equally famous Robot sequence with Robots and Empire. The trilogy was praised by fans and even won a one-time Hugo Award for “Best Series of All Time” in 1966. Fans of the book include Elon Musk – who included a copy of the novels aboard the Tesla Roadster he sent into space earlier this year – and the series has certainly inspired more familiar sci-fi stories like Star wars and that of Frank Herbert Dune.

An adaptation of Foundation could give Apple a head start when it comes to competing with other streaming services, almost all of which look at complex, bulky sci-fi and fantasy dramas. Over the past couple of years, Hollywood has turned more and more to genre novels to adapt them for shows and movies, resulting in some incredible productions, such as Syfy’s The extent, that of Amazon The man of the high castle, Netflix Altered carbon and to come Lost in space, HBO Game of thrones, and Hulu The Handmaid’s Tale.

This race for original content is heating up: AMC just ordered a series based on Joe Hill’s horror novel NOS4A2 (Hulu also ordered an adaptation of its comic, Lock & Key, but eventually transmitted – it ended up on Netflix). Amazon is developing a series based on Iain M. Banks Consider Phlebas, adaptations of Annular world, Snow accident, and Lazarus, a show set in JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth, said to be considering an adaptation of Cixin Liu’s film The three body problem. Disney is planning a live-action Star wars show off Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau, while Hulu ordered an adaptation of Catch-22 with George Clooney. It’s an incredibly crowded area for Apple; For sci-fi fans, it’s a golden age of generally well-crafted scripted dramas that do justice to some of the classic stories in the genre.

There have been efforts to adapt the series before: the BBC adapted the novels as a radio drama in 1973, but the first film attempt came from New Line Cinema in 1998, which came to nothing. In 2009, Star gate and Independence Day director Roland Emmerich signed on to develop and direct an adaptation, which also failed. After production ceased, HBO acquired the rights in 2016 and commissioned Jonathan Nolan to write a series based on the novels, before being scrapped in favor of Nolan’s work on Westworld. Looking at the scale of the novels, it’s easy to see why these earlier projects may have failed: to wrap a book like Foundation, with its many characters, locations, and time jumps just wouldn’t translate into a two-hour movie. But now we are in a golden age of scripted genre television, where studios have discovered that the medium is well suited for telling a complicated, sprawling story.

Update, August 23, 2018, 1:45 p.m. ET: This article was originally published in April, about the series in development. It has been updated to reflect the serial direct drive and various other developments during the intervening months.