In a joyful moment for science fiction fans around the world, Apple and Skydance Television have announced that a TV series based on the groundbreaking and genre-defining Foundation by Isaac Asimov is finally in the works.
Back in June of last year, Deadline revealed that Skydance had closed a deal with the Asimov estate for the rights to the Foundation trilogy. The series has been a major influence on modern science fiction and especially the Star Wars saga, but due to its complexity and enormous timeline, a screen adaptation was considered unfeasible. At one point during 2014, HBO was very close to starting work on the project with Jonathan Nolan at the helm. However, unfortunate scheduling issues due to his work on Westworld both as writer and producer didn’t leave much room for another equally-demanding series.
The project, from Skydance Television, has been put in development for straight-to-series consideration and Apple seems to be the chosen line of distribution. David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Dark City) and Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) have been attached to the project since the very beginning. They apparently will now be able to go into full production mode acting both as executive producers and showrunners. Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross will also executive produce.
Originally published as eight short stories in Astounding Magazine between 1942 and 1950, Asimov’s Foundation core narrative evolves around the story of a mathematician (Hari Seldon) who spent his life developing a theory of mathematical sociology called psychohistory. The basis of this theory was that by using the laws of mass action, one could predict the future of humanity. Foreseeing the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which expands through the entire Milky Way, Seldon creates the Foundation. The premise of the Foundation is that the accumulation, preservation, and expansion of humanity’s collective knowledge will become the foundation to restricting the predicted dark age from 30,000 years to a mere millennium. In order to do this, a group of talented engineers and skilled craftsmen, situated at the extreme ends of the Galaxy, will continue his work ensuring the rapid resurgence of the new Empire.
The first four original short stories became the first book of the trilogy (Foundation), published in 1950. The other four were published in pairs in 1952 and 1953 in two books titled Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation respectively. As the final book of the trilogy failed to give closure to the story, given that only a few hundred years had passed from the 1,000-year collapse of the Galactic Empire, Asimov gave in to fan and publisher pressure. He wrote a fourth book after a 30-year hiatus in 1982, titled Foundation’s Edge. This was followed by Foundation and Earth in 1986 and two prequels to the original trilogy named Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1993) respectively. The fourth book of the series not only gave closure to the Foundation saga but also made it clear that this story existed in the same fictional universe as the Robot and Empire series, spanning a mind-boggling 20,000 years.
Isaac Asimov (Jan 2, 1920 – Apr 6, 1992) is considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern science fiction along with Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey, Rendezvous with Rama) and Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers, All You Zombies). There are a number of onscreen adaptations that are based on his work, most notably I Robot and Bicentennial Man but Foundation is by far the most ambitious project of the lot.
The trilogy alone has a multitude of characters and side stories that the TV adaptation can pull from. Let’s hope that Goyer and Friedman do the original material justice and produce a series that is worthy of the source.
Are you excited for the adaptation and do you believe that the series will live up to the source material? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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