Isaac Asimov's Foundation Is Finally Being Made, Thanks to Apple

A collage of covers by Michael Whelan from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.
A collage of covers by Michael Whelan from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.
Image: Bantam Books (Digital Trends)

One of the most formative works in science fiction history is finally being brought to the screen.

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After years of false starts, both at the movies and on TV, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation just got a 10-episode, direct-to-series order from Apple, according to Deadline. The company acquired the rights to the property earlier this year, with Dark Knight writer David S. Goyer and Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Josh Friedman attached to executive produce and showrun. Skydance, the company behind the current Terminator, Mission: Impossible, and Star Trek franchises, is also on board.

Foundation is based on a series of novels by the legendary writer; they tell a vast, sweeping, story of a group of people placed across the universe working to better position humanity for the imminent fall of the Galactic Empire, which currently rules the galaxy. And before you say “Galactic Empire? That’s a Star Wars ripoff,” it’s actually the opposite. Asimov’s first Foundation story was in 1942, and then the novels began in 1951.

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Goyer and Friedman are both proven commodities when it comes to cracking complex franchises, so if Apple is now all in on Foundation with this series pick up, it’s incredibly encouraging and exciting. It has the potential to be a Game of Thrones, Westworld, Battlestar Galactica-level show.

Update: A previous version of this story did not credit Michael Whelan, the artist of the book covers. That has been amended.

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

I heard that there aren’t enough male actors in Hollywood to play all the (almost exclusively) male characters in “Foundation”, so Scarlett Johansson is going to play Hari Seldon.

I jest, I jest. Of course there are female characters in “Foundation”. Why, the first one enters the story as early as chapter 5 of part V. She’s a maidservant, who is hypnotized by a piece of jewelry (because women are like that; sparkly lights and colored beads turn their little heads, you know).

As far as I can tell, the anonymous maidservant and her shrewish mistress are the only female characters in the entire book. Although there is a reference to a generic ‘woman’ who is expected to be distraught when her Foundation-supplied stove, washer and kitchen knife stop working as the result of a planned trade embargo.

Do you think that Apple will make any changes to bring the story into line with modern sensibilities, or will they stick faithfully to the source material?