This fall is shaping up to be a good one for fans of classic science fiction. Not only are we getting Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation of Dune on October 22, but Apple TV+ has finally announced the premiere date for the streamer’s hotly anticipated Foundation, a TV adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s hugely influential series. The first three episodes will debut on September 24, 2021, with weekly episodes released after that.
“In the decades since the Foundation series first saw print, Asimov’s prophetic science-fiction work has never been more relevant than it is now,” said showrunner David Goyer in a statement. “Growing up, I devoured Foundation and dreamed of one day seeing it on screen—but a feature film didn’t seem big enough to embrace the ambition. Thanks to the broader landscape of streaming and a valuable partnership with Apple and Skydance, we are able to bring the series to the screen in a way that truly does it justice.”
Per the official premise:
When revolutionary Dr. Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) predicts the impending fall of the Empire, he and a band of loyal followers venture to the far reaches of the galaxy to establish The Foundation in an attempt to rebuild and preserve the future of civilization. Enraged by Hari’s claims, the ruling Cleons — a long line of emperor clones—fear their grasp on the galaxy may be weakening as they’re forced to reckon with the potential reality of losing their legacy forever.
Harris plays Seldon, with Lee Pace co-starring as Brother Day, current emperor of the galaxy and part of a long line of emperor clones (the aforementioned Cleons). Lou Llobell plays Seldon’s mathematical genius protegé, Gaal; Leah Harvey plays a gender-swapped Salvor, warden of Terminus; and Laura Birn plays Eto Demerzel, aide to Brother Day.
Other listed characters include Brother Dusk (Terrence Mann), the ruling family’s oldest living member, and Brother Dawn (Cassian Bilton), the youngest member and heir apparent to Brother Day. There’s also 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.
It has been more than a year since we got the first teaser, unveiled in June 2020 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). That included some brief commentary from Goyer, noting all the past efforts to adapt Foundation over the last 50 years, as well as the enormous influence the series had on Star Wars. There were some accompanying behind-the-scenes photographs, too, but mostly it just introduced the basic premise, along with some visually stunning shots of the scenes that had been completed before the pandemic shutdown. Since then there has been nothing, save for a few brief glimpses earlier this month when Apple TV+ released its “summer and beyond” preview trailer.
This new two-minute teaser opens with a lone figure walking through a dark corridor to a secret laboratory where cloned fetuses are suspended in fluid. It’s Brother Dusk. “You can’t be here,” Eto tells him. “I can’t be the first person who wanted to see my youngest self,” he replies. “Strange, watching yourself being born.” Next we cut to Brother Day bragging about how their genetic dynasty has reigned for over four centuries, bringing peace to thousands of worlds. But he rants that this stability is now being threatened by a single man.
That would be Seldon, of course, who insists in his defense that he is not a revolutionary. Furthermore, his alarming calculations about the demise of civilization are deemed correct by Gaal. “Order will vanish,” Seldon insists, as scenes of chaos and destruction play out. “Wars will be endless. You can’t save yourselves. But you can save your legacy.” It’s a doom-and-gloom message, but, nonetheless, Seldon amasses a following, much to Brother Day’s chagrin. And as Brother Day knows all too well, “Words have a way of fanning into wildfires. “
Foundation will premiere on Apple TV+ on September 24, 2021. Again, after those first three episodes, new episodes will follow weekly, every Friday.
Listing image by YouTube/Apple TV+