'Foundation' on Apple TV+: Release Date, Trailer, Plot, Cast, and More

Isaac Asimov's influential science-fiction saga is coming alive on Apple+.

One of the most foundational science-fiction stories is coming to life on AppleTV+. Foundation, a new show based on a series of novels by Isaac Asimov, is getting the prestige TV treatment from the Cupertino tech giant.

Here’s everything we know so far about Foundation. While there is currently little officially revealed about the series, bookmark this page as we’ll update this guide as first-look previews, images, and trailers will be added when they’re available.

What Is Foundation?

Foundation is a new science-fiction television series based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, which are regarded as among the greatest sci-fi stories of all time; it earned the Hugo Award for “Best All-Time Series” in 1966, beating out Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein.

The story of Foundation follows the efforts of a scientist named Hari Seldon, whose invention of “psychohistory” is a kind of math that can predict the future. Facing the fall of the Galactic Empire (think ancient Rome, but in the future), Hari creates the “Foundation,” a colony of exceptional people who must preserve all of human knowledge to ensure civilization can restart.

Foundation is also a lot more than that. While behaving more like a series of interconnected short stories, the story of Foundation (and its sequel books, plus two prequels) span thousands of years that show how much, and how little, humanity changes when it comes to politics, war, and peace.

Psychologist Martin Seligman, economist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, the late Carl Sagan, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have all at some point cited Asimov’s books as among their favorites.

The books have played a major influence on modern science-fiction. It’s been referenced by Douglas Adams in his science-fiction comedy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the TV series Futurama, and was name-dropped in issue #542 of Marvel’s Fantastic Four.

What’s the Release Date for Foundation?

We don’t have one yet, but Apple TV+ debuts this fall. So it could arrive as soon as then.

Is There a Trailer Yet for Foundation?

Not yet, but you might be able to catch a glimpse of it in the clip montage released by Apple during Monday’s event.

Isaac Asimov Foundation
Cover art for 'Foundation' by Michael Whelan, 

Who Is Producing Apple’s Foundation?

Foundation will be produced by Josh Friedman (writer of Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds) and David S. Goyer, whom you might recognize as his name pops up in films like Blade II (he wrote that one) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (he wrote that one too). He is also the writer of Terminator: Dark Fate, the sixth Terminator film that will ignore every movie after Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and a reboot of the Mattel toy franchise, Masters of the Universe.

In television, which is the medium Foundation will be told, Goyer’s credits include the 2009 ABC series FlashForward, the 2014 NBC procedural horror series Constantine, and the 2018 sci-fi series Krypton, another science-fiction epic about Superman’s home planet trying to delay their own inevitable doom.

The series will be produced by Skydance Media, the production company founded by David Ellison responsible for some of the biggest science-fiction films in recent memory. Its biggest hits include Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), World War Z (2013), Annihilation (2018), and every Mission: Impossible movie since 2011’s Ghost Protocol.

How Will I Watch Foundation?

The series will premiere exclusively on AppleTV+, the tech giant’s stab at a Netflix-like subscription service that will be online in “Fall 2019.”

It is not known if Foundation will be available to stream at launch. However, the Limerick Leader in Ireland reported in March that photography for Foundation will begin in Limerick’s Troy Studios in July 2019. This leaves a Fall 2019 premiere almost impossible.

Who Is Starring in Foundation?

There are currently no stars attached to Foundation.

Isaac Asimov Foundation
Headshot of author Isaac Asimov.

Where Can I Read Foundation?

Besides borrowing the books from your local library, or checking out a local bookstore, you can pick up the books on Amazon.

  • Foundation and Empire (1952), a sequel with two parts, titled “The General” and “The Mule.” Both stories explore a war that’s waged against the Foundation.
  • Second Foundation (1953), while confusingly the third book in Asimov’s original trilogy, continues the events of “The Mule” that involves the rise of a Second Foundation, another separate colony.

After the first three books, Asimov wrote two sequels, Foundation’s Edge in 1982, and Foundation and Earth in 1986. As the end of the saga, the two books follow a politician and a scholar who seek a mythical planet called “Earth” that’s believed to be the origins of humanity.

In 1988, Asimov began a prequel era, with Prelude to Foundation that reveals Hari Seldon’s life, and Forward the Foundation (1993), which tells of Seldon’s final years. Critics have called the book somewhat autobiographical, as they point out parallels between Hari Seldon and Asimov himself, who was in the final years of his life when writing Forward the Foundation.

There is no premiere date for Apple’s Foundation.