In the Debut Trailer for Apple TV+'s Foundation, a Mighty Empire Stands on the Brink of Ruin

Gaal (Lou Llobell) is prepared to risk it all to preserve humanity’s legacy.
Gaal (Lou Llobell) is prepared to risk it all to preserve humanity’s legacy.
Image: Apple TV+ (YouTube)
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It’s an adaptation 50 years in the making, which somehow feels more pertinent than ever. The first teaser trailer for Foundation, Apple TV+’s take on Isaac Asimov’s groundbreaking sci-fi series, has arrived—telling the story of a futuristic empire facing its own inevitable destruction, as a group of rebels fight to preserve what little they can for the next generation.

The trailer debuted at Apple’s WWDC 2020 Special Event Keynote, along with a behind-the-scenes look with executive producer David S. Goyer. The actual trailer, which starts around one minute into the video, introduces us to Hari Seldon (Jared Harris), a mathematician who’s developed the theory of “psychohistory,” which uses the law of mass action and statistical mechanics to, essentially, predict the future. What he finds out isn’t great.

Essentially, he predicts that the Galactic Empire, which controls the entire Milky Way, is doomed to fall—leading to a Dark Age that will last 30,000 years. This puts him in considerable danger, with leaders like Brother Day (Lee Pace), the emperor of the Galactic Empire, willing to do anything to silence him. However, Hari Seldon devises a plan to preserve the best of science and culture for the next phase of humanity. Together with Gaal (Lou Llobell) and others, Hari creates the Foundations, a group of exiles determined to protect the best of humanity’s legacy... at any cost. Asimov’s books, which won the only Hugo Award for “best all-time series,” were inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. The series, in turn, inspired generations of sci-fi sagas, most notably Star Wars.


Foundation also stars Leah Harvey as Salvor, Laura Birn as Demerzel, Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk, and Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn. The series is set to debut sometime in 2021.

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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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* David Goyer has got to have a really good agent. He gets to wet his beak in everything cool.

* OK, is Dune or Foundation the inspiration for Star Wars? Because they are quite different stories and also very different from Star Wars. Every well known narrative about planet spanning empires can probably make that claim, including Flash Gordon. Its so ubiquitous a linkage as to be meaningless. Its just shorthand for “don’t worry, this won’t go over your head.”

* As is often the case, the accent of smart sci fi, the future and “empire” is British, even when derived from a book series written by a Russian-American immigrant (full disclosure: I was born in London, but still consider this trope a bit silly).

* So far this looks promising or at the very least it is sending all the right quality signals.