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AppleTV+ unveils new trailer for sci-fi saga Foundation, sets September premiere for Asimov adaptation

By Tara Bennett
AppleTV+ Foundation Lee Pace

Legendary sci-fi author Isaac Asimov's Foundation series is just shy of celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2022, but AppleTV+ is celebrating early with their big-budget series coming to the premium streaming service on Friday, September 24, 2021. Three episodes will drop on premiere day, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday.

The adaptation is the first ever on-screen adaptation of the books and has been in the works for four years, with David S. Goyer (Blade), shepherding the creative as showrunner along with the input and assistance of Robyn Asimov, the daughter of the author, as an executive producer. The 10-episode first season features genre favorites Lee Pace (The Hobbit trilogy) as Brother Day, Emperor of the Galaxy, and Jared Harris (The Terror) as mathematican, Hari Seldon, in this heady story of a future Galactic Empire faced with its impending demise. Seldon proposes a way to ensure the future of civilization which isn't readily accepted by those in power, the ruling Cleons.

AppleTV+ also has the first extended look at the series, with the cast in action, in an impressively cinematic production akin to Game of Thrones:

While Asimov's Foundation series started as short stories back in 1942, the author eventually formalized and expanded the storytelling into the Foundation trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. New volumes and books were added from 1981 and beyond. There's no word yet on how the source works are being utilized in the adaptation, or if there will be new material created exclusively for this telling. 

In an exclusive interview with EW, Goyer explains the whole book series is rooted in Asimov's Jewish roots and his observations of the rise of Nazism. "He was wondering why this terrible thing happened with the Holocaust. If we look back through history, could we have prevented it from happening? There were a lot of antecedents leading up to the Holocaust going back generations and generations. Asimov responded to the idea of, how do we prevent these things from happening again? Humanity seems like it keeps falling into the same trap."

He also compared Harris' Seldon to real-life Dr. Fauci in that he's the smartest man in the room dealing with intense pushback. "One of the things that I'm excited to explore with [Hari's] character is what it takes to be a person who realizes the world's going to end in a really bad way, realizes he has to break that news to everyone, and realizes that none of those people can be saved. It's going to be their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. How does he try to get people on board to build something that'll be beyond their lifetime? So, he's got this incredibly heavy weight on his shoulders and this burden of like, 'I'm just telling you what the math is. Don't blame the messenger,' which of course everyone wants to do."

Production on Season 1 was completed this year after shooting in remote, COVID bubble locations in Malta, Tuineje, Fuerteventura and Tenerife.