It’s been a while since Apple provided us with our first glimpse of its upcoming adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. That first teaser hinted at the impending fall of a massive intergalactic civilization and showed off some pretty visuals, but didn’t give us too much to go on.
Now, Apple’s released a new trailer for the series, as well as a release date for when it’ll premiere on its streaming service: September 24th.
The series is based on Asimov’s classic novel, Foundation, which was compiled out of a handful of short stories written between 1942 and 1950 and published as a single volume in 1951. Over the course of centuries, it charts the fall of the massive Galactic Empire, and the efforts a man named Hari Seldon (played in the series by Jared Harris) to try and stave off the coming dark ages.
Seldon is a mathematician and psychologist who had come up with a field called “psychohistory”—a scientific field that uses probability to predict the general direction of the future when it comes to large bodies like the Galactic Empire. Over the course of his work, Seldon has come to realize that they’re about to witness the fall of the Empire, and sets up the Encyclopedia Galactica (created by the titular Foundation), a database that holds all of humanity’s knowledge, on a distant world, as an effort to shorten his predicted 30,000 years of darkness and chaos.
We get a sense of this in the trailer for the series: we hope with the Emperor (Lee Pace) musing about his legacy—he’s been cloned over and over again for more than four hundred years, and notes that his empire has brought peace (juxtaposed with some epic-looking space battles) to thousands of worlds. Seldon’s theories of an impending collapse threatens that stability, and as we saw in the first trailer, the mathematician is persecuted for his work. “Order will vanish,” Seldon says in the trailer, “wars will be endless.”
The problem that the Emperor faces is that he can’t just vanish Seldon — he’s got quite a following, and he doesn’t want to escalate the situation or turn him into a martyr. The trailer saves that bit for the very end, when Seldon and his followers are exiled to a distant planet called Terminus, where they’re not only out of the way, but where they get to set up their Foundation project.
The original novel is pretty dry, and I’ve heard plenty of people note that it’s pretty much just characters in rooms talking about things. The series looks like it’ll be jumping off from that a bit, putting the conflict between the Emperor and Seldon front and center, at least during this first season. From the looks of things, there’ll be plenty of action as we explore the Empire and its impending downfall.
That’s good for Apple and its subscribers — from the two glimpses that we’ve seen of it, it looks like the company’s putting together a pretty big space opera, something that’ll accompany its other original content offerings like The Morning Show and For All Mankind. Apple’s been quietly building up a solid library of content — it’s recently picked up Hugh Howey’s Wool, has reportedly picked up Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter, renewed For All Mankind and See for a third season, and has a big series called Invasion coming after Foundation wraps up its run this fall.