Foundation series

Apple TV’s summer preview includes tantalizing previews of the Foundation series

Last summer, we got our first glimpse of Apple TV’s highly anticipated adaptation of the Isaac Asimov Foundation novel series when Apple released a trailer at the 2020 World Developer Conference. The production of the new show, which stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace, stopped last March due to the pandemic, but filming resumed last October. No official release date other than “end of 2021” has surfaced, but there are some tantalizing additional glimpses in the streaming platform’s new summer (and beyond) trailer, according to eagle eye of The spaceship on Twitter.

Light spoilers for the first book in the Foundation series below.)

The series began with eight Asimov short stories that appeared in Astounding Magazine between 1942 and early 1950. These stories were inspired in part by Edward Gibbons. History of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and the first four have been put together, with a new introductory story, and published as Foundation in 1951. The next pair of stories became Foundation and Empire (1952), and the last two stories appeared in the years 1953 Second Foundation. Asimov’s editors ultimately convinced him to continue the series, starting with two sequels: Foundation edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1986). Then come a pair of prequels: Prelude to the Foundation (1988) and Advancing the Foundation (1993), the latter published posthumously (Asimov died in 1992).

The original trilogy centered around the mathematician Hari Seldon, who developed a mathematical approach to sociology which he calls “psychohistory”. Psychohistory allows him to predict the future of large populations, such as the Galactic Empire, which includes all the inhabitants of the Milky Way. Sadly, Seldon’s theory predicts an imminent collapse of the empire – well, in 500 years, which is certainly imminent on a galactic time scale. This will usher in a dark age lasting 30,000 years, after which a second empire will be born. The news is not well received by members of the Committee of Public Safety, who essentially run the empire, and Seldon is forced to stand trial for treason, along with a brilliant young protégé in mathematics named Gaal.

In his defense, Seldon argues he can’t stop the collapse, but there is a way to limit those dark ages to just 1,000 years. He proposes to create a Foundation, a group of the most intelligent minds of the empire, responsible for preserving all human knowledge in the Encyclopedia Galactica. Rather than execute Seldon, the committee decides to exile him, along with members of the new Foundation, to a distant world called Terminus, where they can begin to compile the encyclopedia. Much of the first book in the trilogy follows the establishment of the colony on Terminus and the various political machinations that shaped its beginnings, along with a startling revelation: unbeknownst to the committee, Seldon established a second Foundation in the other end of the galaxy.

We don’t yet know how much of that story will be included in the TV adaptation, or how far the show’s narrative will follow the books.

As a premise for Foundation Said, the series “tells about a band of exiles on their monumental journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization amid the fall of the Galactic Empire.” Harris plays Seldon, with Pace as Brother Day, the current Emperor of the Galaxy. Lou Llobell plays Gaal; Leah Harvey plays a traded Salvor, director of Terminus; and Laura Birn plays Eto Demerzel, Brother Day’s assistant.

The characters listed include Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann), the oldest living member of the ruling family, and Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton), the youngest member and heir apparent to Brother Day. Other cast members include Daniel MacPherson as Hugo, T’Nia Miller as Halima, Pravessh Rana as Rowan, Kubbra Sait as Phara, Mido Hamada as Shadow Master Obrecht, Amy Tyger as Azura and Buddy Skelton as Keir.

We know where part of the filming took place: Limerick, Ireland; the island nation of Malta; and the Canary Islands, in particular its largest island, Tenerife. Filmmakers make good use of the volcanic landscapes of the Canaries, such as Caldera de los Arrabales and Granja de Pozo Negro, while Malta is ideal for scenes set on an aquatic planet. Meanwhile, showrunner David Goyer said in a recent interview that venues in Malta have expanded to cover scenes set in another world as well.

Addressing the unsuccessful attempts to adapt Asimov’s series to the cinema, Goyer (co-writer of Batman vs. Superman and that of Chris Nolan Black Knight trilogy) said the rise of streaming TV has made it easier to do justice to these sprawling epic tales. “Now with Foundation, we can hopefully tell the story over the course of 80 episodes, 80 hours, instead of trying to condense it all into two or three hours for one movie, “he said.

Apple TV + Summer 2021 and Beyond: Official Preview.

Listing image by YouTube / Apple TV