Lee Pace knows how good it is to be Emperor of the Galaxy, but since he’s heading the vast “Foundation” of AppleTV+, it’s also pretty complicated.
“Foundation” is an ambitious 10-episode first season of one of the late sci-fi icon Isaac Asimov’s key works, a series chronicling a group of exiles – they call themselves the Foundation – who decide that the only way to save the Galactic Empire is by challenging it.
Asimov’s Foundation series began as short stories in the 1940s, hailed as a trilogy in the 1950s. In 1981, he expanded this universe with two sequels and two prequels.
Producer David S. Goyer (he wrote Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy) hopes AppleTV+’s “Foundation” will continue, eventually delivering 80 episodes to tell the full story.
“We should be so lucky to have the chance to continue,” Pace, 42, said in a Zoom interview. “Especially with a character that has so many dynamic elements.”
The Emperor is a human who is continuously being cloned.
“I love this idea of a cloned dynasty, I’ve never seen it before,” Pace began. “I find it fascinating on so many different levels.
“As an actor, the opportunity was not just to play one man but a series of men who, for a period of their lives, take on the role of the Emperor of the Galaxy, which is a abstract idea.
An Emperor “who controls billions of people spread throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Who decides who lives or dies. Who decides which planets prosper and which suffer.
“Having surveillance and movement technology at your fingertips, being able to bend time and space! It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it?
“But inside this idea of the Emperor of the Galaxy, there is this successive line of men who fulfill this role, clones who inherit this power.
“I play the seated emperor, Brother Day. Then next to me is Dusk (who is older), the outgoing Emperor. On the other side of me is Dawn (a child).
“I look at Dusk and I think I’ll be a better Emperor. I look at Dawn and say, ‘It’s imperative that you do exactly like me. This is how you will fulfill the role you will inherit.
“They believe in this fantasy that they are the same man. But these relationships prove that they are not. There is an individual sensitivity that they cannot escape.
“What the show really comes to investigate is, what is human life? What does it mean to be a human? Where does the soul exist?
Stream “Foundation” on AppleTV+ starting Friday.