Inverse Codex

Foundation Apple TV+ release date, trailer, cast for the Asimov show

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

One of the most influential sci-fi stories of all time is finally coming to life on Apple TV+. Foundation, a new show based on the books by Isaac Asimov, is getting a big-budget adaptation thanks to the iPhone maker and its prestige TV ambitions.

And based on the trailer, Foundation looks incredible.

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. Tolkien.

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 tale of Foundation (and its sequel books, plus two prequels) spans thousands of years and shows 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 had a major influence on modern science fiction: It’s been referenced by Douglas Adams in his sci-fi 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?

Foundation will premiere on Apple TV+ in 2021. We don't have a specific release date, but considering the level of polish on this new trailer, it might be pretty early in the year.

Is there a trailer for Foundation?

Yes! Apple revealed our first look at Foundation on June 22 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Check it out below.

Who is producing Apple’s Foundation?

Foundation will be produced by Josh Friedman (the screenwriter on Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds) and David S. Goyer (screenwriter for Blade II, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Terminator: Dark Fate, and a reboot of the Mattel toy franchise, Masters of the Universe.)

Goyer’s TV credits include ABC's 2009 series FlashForward, NBC's 2014 procedural horror Constantine, and the 2018 Superman prequel show Krypton, another sci-fi 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, who is responsible for some of the biggest sci-fi movies of the past decade, including Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), World War Z (2013), Annihilation (2018), and every Mission: Impossible movie since 2011’s Ghost Protocol.

Where can I watch Foundation?

The series will stream exclusively on Apple TV+, the tech giant’s response to Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, and Hulu. Apple TV+ has already had some success with The Morning Show, Mythic Quest, and more, but this could be its biggest release yet.

Unlike Netflix's popular binging model, Apple TV+ releases most new shows on a weekly basis. We assume Foundation will have a similar schedule.

Who's in the cast of Foundation?

Here's the full cast, via IMDb:

Cassian Bilton ... Brother Dawn
Laura Birn ... Demerzel
Jared Harris ... Hari Seldon
Leah Harvey ... Salvor
Lou Llobell ... Gaal
Terrence Mann ... Brother Dusk
Lee Pace ... Brother Day
Mido Hamada ... Master Shadow Obrecht
Isaiah Joshua Chambers ... Mystery Boy
Johanna O'Brien ... Shivaughn
Geoffrey Cantor ... Ambassador Thanwall
Brian F. Mulvey ... Travik
Cooper Carter ... Young Dawn
Abdul Alshareef ... Comms Tech
Orion Ben ... Pistis
Nikhil Dubey ... Bomber One
Samir Fuchs ... Prime Magistrate
Stevie Greaney ... (N/A)
Jerry Kwarteng ... Imperial Guardian Suit
Fergus Mulligan ... Eiton
Georg Nikoloff ... Thorin senior laundry worker
Florence Ordesh ... Briwan
Slaney Power ... Daia
Ahd Tamimi ... Magnus
Headshot of author Isaac Asimov.Wikimedia / Kalki

Where can I read Foundation?

Besides ordering them from a local bookstore, you can pick up the books on Amazon:

  • Foundation (1951), the book that started it all.
  • 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), confusingly the third book in Asimov’s original trilogy that continues the events of “The Mule,” which involves the rise of a Second Foundation, another separate colony.

After the first three books, Asimov wrote two sequels: Foundation’s Edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1986). At 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, which 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.

Foundation premieres on Apple TV+ in 2021.