Hollywood has been trying to adapt Isaac Asimov’s seminal sci-fi trilogy Foundation for years, but it finally looks like one is coming to fruition. Deadline reports that Apple has landed the rights to a TV series adaptation of the books, and has put the Skydance Television production into development with a straight-to-series order. David S. Goyer, who co-wrote The Dark Knight trilogy and created and ran the Starz series Da Vinci’s Demons, will serve as showrunner alongside Avatar 2 writer and The Sarah Connor Chronicles alum Josh Friedman.
The book trilogy, originally published as a short story in 1942, takes place at a time when humans are scattered on planets all over the universe, living under the rule of the Galactic Empire. When a psycho-historian who has the power to see the future foretells that the empire will come under collapse very soon, he sets out to ensure that the knowledge of mankind isn’t wiped out. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Foundation was a direct influence on a lot of the seminal sci-fi films made in the 70s and 80s, most notably Star Wars.
The Day After Tomorrow filmmaker Roland Emmerich tried to get a feature adaptation of Foundation off the ground at Sony back in 2011, but when the rights lapsed in 2014 HBO picked them up. The pay cable network then set Interstellar co-writer Jonathan Nolan to adapt Foundation into an HBO drama series. That obviously never came to fruition as Nolan focused his energy instead on Westworld, and that’s when Skydance picked up the rights and started shopping them to networks.
Apple is making huge strides in the talent department even if we still don’t know how they’re going to be releasing all this new original TV content. Goyer is a veteran of the industry with experience in both film and TV, most recently helping create Syfy’s Krypton. Friedman, meanwhile, most recently spearheaded the Snowpiercer series at TNT, but departed the showrunner position over creative differences after making the pilot.
This new venture is ambitious to say the least, and joins a stellar slate of new Apple series that also includes a Jennifer Aniston/Reese Witherspoon comedy, a Damien Chazelle musical series, and Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories anthology. Will Foundation be ready in time for Apple’s launch? We’ll find out sooner or later, but for now this is pretty exciting.