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Apple TV+ Goes Big in Series Adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” Trilogy



Above: Official Apple TV+ Preview Trailer for “Foundation”

Preview of the Trailer Titillates Sci-fi Fans & Apple Acolytes Alike

Of all the announcement’s at this year’s Apple Worldwide Development Conference, perhaps the most enticing came from Apple TV+, the company’s young streaming service and first go in the entertainment world. Launched last November, Apple TV+ has not yet found the same success as Disney+ or Netflix; however, it has done well enough in its first few months, garnering around 34 million users and some award buzz for its breakout series, “The Morning Show.” The platform also endorses a unique strategy compared to its competition, focusing exclusively on original shows rather acquiring old content.

More from WWDC: Tons of Changes in Apple WatchOS 7: “Dance” in Re-named Fitness App at top of list

The “Foundation” books were written by legendary sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov. He started the series in the 1950s with a trilogy centered around a futuristic Galactic Empire and a protagonist named Hari Seldon, who sees into the future to witness the universe’s end. The original three books earned Asimov several Hugo Awards, including a one-time-only “Best All Time Series” award in 1966. He went on to write two sequels and two prequels to the trilogy in the late 80s and early 90s.

Surprisingly, there has never been an on-screen adaptation of the series until now. The film rights were tossed around for decades, both New Line Cinema and Columbia Pictures investing in movie ideas at different points before selling the rights to HBO in 2014. The project conceptually started to materialize as a series under HBO, but it fell into Apple’s hands during 2018 and the company ran with it.

First Look at WWDC is an Early Peek at Entirely New Direction for ATV+

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What Apple debuted at the WWDC on June 22nd was the audiences first look at “Foundation” come to life. At under two minutes, the marketing snippet is more of a teaser than a full-fledged trailer, but it offers fans stunning glimpses of the impressive set designs and special effects, as well as a general feel for the show’s tech-noir, space-epic tone. It seems reminiscent of Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” CBSAllAccess’ “Star Trek: Picard” and HBO’s “Game Of Thrones.” Such comparisons are good, as the series is doubtlessly Apple’s attempt at breaking into the sci-fi/fantasy craze that modern TV audiences strongly embrace.

David S. Goyer serves as head writer and executive producer of the series. He is well versed in the intersections of science-fiction, fantasy and action, having written alongside Christopher Nolan for “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” as well as other movies like “Man Of Steel,” “Godzilla,” “Terminator: Dark Fate,” and the Star Wars VR experience, “Vader Immortal.” Joining Goyer in the writers room are Leigh Dana Jackson (“24: Legacy”), Victoria Morror (“Weeds”), Josh Friedman (“Snowpiercer”) and others. David Ellison of “Star Trek: Beyond,” “Annihilation,” and “Gemini Man” will also serve as a producer.

Now, Apple TV+ is about to embark on perhaps its boldest undertaking yet, adapting a beloved science fiction book series into a show— “Foundation.”

In front of the camera, “Foundation” stars Jared Harris as Hari Seldon, Leah Harvey as Salvor, Lou Llolbell as Gaal, and Cassian Bilton, Terrence Mann, and Lee Pace as Brother Dawn, Brother Dusk, and Brother Day respectively. The casting seems on point, and it happily embraces diversity as well as a variety of familiar and new-coming talent.

Despite how impressive the teaser was, though, it still feels somewhat strange to see a trailer drop at an Apple conference. For all of Apple’s existence, it has just been a tech company and its conferences have been focused on new devices and Operating Systems. Trailers were better left to pop-culture fandom events like Comic-Con.

In 2020, though, there is no Comic-Con, and Apple—like many other companies—is stretching beyond its comfort zone, trying to incorporate creative media into its conglomerate identity. Recently, Apple TV+ acquired the rights to Tom Hanks’ “Greyhound” and were in rumors conversation with Martin Scorsese for producing his next project, “Killers Of The Flower Moon.” Clearly, they are open to big ideas when it comes to film and television going forward

Adapting “Foundation” is an ambitious task, but the trailer looks impressive, and if Apple pulls it off, it could establish the company as a bona fide entertainment studio in the ongoing streaming wars.

The show will be live on Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 at 6PM PT and 9PM ET.

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