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SYFY WIRE Foundation

How do you make a millennia-spanning tale 'emotional'? Foundation producer David Goyer explains in new clip

By Matthew Jackson
Apple TV+ Foundation Still

It's been 80 years since Isaac Asimov began work on the stories that would eventually become the Foundation series, and 70 years since the first volume of the series (collecting his early short stories into a novel) was first published. Now, for the first time, one of the most ambitious and influential science fiction stories ever written is coming to the screen in the Apple TV+ series Foundation, and the streamer just dropped a first look video highlighting the show's ambitions.

Featuring interviews with writer and producer David S. Goyer and stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace, this behind-the-scenes look at Foundation is packed with new footage from the adaptation, and helps to lay out Goyer's vision for what he calls "the greatest science fiction work of all time."

"It's a story of ideas, and they are bold ideas," Goyer said. "The trick was figuring out how to take these weighty ideas that span a millennia and make them emotional."

As Goyer points out in the video below, Foundation has remained enormously influential ever since its publication as a single novel in 1951, touching everything from Star Wars to Dune. The story of a mathematician named Hari Seldon (Harris) who develops a new form of study known as "psychohistory" and, in the process, predicts the fall of the Empire ruling over the galaxy, Asimov's original narrative is rich not just with epic sci-fi spectacle, but with big questions about history and our place in it.

For Asimov, what began as a single short story in the 1940s eventually grew to encompass seven books unfolding across centuries of imperial history, written across decades of his life. For Goyer and company, that means playing the long game. Foundation, if successful, could take up several years of episodes depicting the whole saga of the Empire and Hari Seldon's predictions, and while we don't know yet if the show will make it that far, the opening episodes look like a suitably epic launching point.

Foundation arrives Friday on Apple TV+.