Future history isn’t what it used to be. Although the premise of Foundation is focused on predicting the future, the Apple TV+ series has been anything but predictable. Taking strands from the famous and influential Isaac Asimov novels of the same name, Foundation Season 1 ended by pulling various disparate plot threads together to result in two big cliffhangers. But what’s next? With Foundation Season 2 coming very, very soon, here’s a refresher on how Season 1 ended, what those big twists mean, plus everything we know about Season 2 from the trailer to the release date, and more. Spoilers ahead for all of Foundation Season 1.
Foundation Season 1 ending, explained
Although there was a lot that happened in Season 1, the actual finale came down to basically two major storylines
- The revelation that the clone emperor dynasty — the Cleons (Lee Pace, Terrence Mann, Cassian Bilton) — has been corrupted.
- And, finally, the meeting between Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) and her biological mother, Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell).
Like the intricate and paradoxical nature of the series itself, one cliffhanger is slightly horrifying while the other is hopeful. But, both suggest that Foundation Season 2 will take place in an unprecedented future at least 138 years beyond anything established in Season 1.
That said, thanks to a lot of clones, computer simulations, and a lot of people hanging out in cryo-sleep, many of the characters from Season 1 can reappear in Season 2. Plus, Foundation has established many times now that just because a character has perished, that doesn’t mean we won’t see a lot more of them.
Foundation Season 2 Trailer
On May 11, 2023, Apple released the full trailer for Foundation Season 2. The overarching theme of this season seems focused on a revolt against the Cleon dynasty. Though, at this point, the version of Cleon is likely the baby we saw in Season 1, and the older Cleon, is probably the “defective” teenage clone we saw in the finale of Season 1. So, if there’s a revolution, it’s possible one of the Cleons is in on it. Then again, it’s also possible we’re closer to the “present” of Season 1.
The trailer also shows us Salvor Hardin and Gaal Dornick teaming up with some version of Hari Seldon (a hologram, likely) in what appears to be a protracted battle against the Empire. However, all of this fighting back against the Empire stuff may not be as straightforward as it seems. If Foundation Season 2 dips into some of its source material (I.E. the novels Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation) we’ll likely get the mutant/telepathic villain known as “the Mule” in this season; a variable in future history that Hari Seldon was unable to predict.
Foundation Season 2: Demerzel’s Secret
One character who will certainly reappear in Foundation Season 2 is the near-immortal robot Demerzel (Laura Birn), who, in the Season 1 finale, follows her programming and murders a “defective” Cleon clone (Cassian Bilton). Then, in a fit of guilt, rips off her own face, revealing her robot skull.
We’ve known Demerzel was a robot all season long, but the journey she’s been on is probably the one that will define Season 2 the most.
“I think he will be around for a long time,” Birn tells Inverse. “I think she believes she's lived long enough to kind of find her humanity and, and hold on to that.”
Earlier in the season, it was revealed that despite her (secret) robotic nature, Demerzel is a believer in the religion known as “Luminism.” In the episode “The Missing Piece,” Demerzel is comforted by the religious leader Zephyr Halima (T’nia Miller) and told that despite being a robot, Demerzel does, indeed have a soul. But, because Halima publicly asserts that the Cleon Emperors are literally soulless (because they’re clones), she becomes a political enemy of the Cleon Dynasty, Demerzel’s bosses.
“I think Halmia recognizes Demerzel as a sister of cloth, of the faith,” Miller tells Inverse. “She gives her a part to complete. I come back. It’s fine. Don’t feel guilty. I think she leaves Demerzel empowered.”
Because Halmia runs afoul with the Cleons, Demerzel is forced to murder her too. However, because it’s poison and Demerzel just leaves the room, we don’t actually see Zephyr Halima perish. Could she return next season? Or some future decedent of Halima also played by T’nia Miller?
“I don’t know. Let’s see,” Miller says. “Let’s leave it at that. For now.”
What’s the plot of Foundation Season 2
In one of her voiceovers at the very start of the series, Gaal mentions various names, including “The Mule.” While we don’t see “the Mule” in Season 1 of Foundation, this character will almost certainly appear in some way, shape, or form in Season 2.
In the second Foundation novel — Foundation and Empire — the Mule is basically a mutant villain who disrupts the Seldon Plan through telepathy and ruthlessness. In the Asimov universe, those who can use mindpowers to control others are called Mentalics. Much later in the novels, members of the super-secret “Second Foundation” (teased this season) all have this ability.
While Foundation Season 2 will first and foremost be focused on those two cliffhangers — the future of the Cleons, and Gaal’s and Salvor’s team-up — it almost certainly introduces the Mule. This could give Season 2 a more traditional structure, insofar as everyone might be concerned about the same thing at the same time.
When the show began, creator and showrunner David S. Goyer told Inverse, that because Asimov’s books never actually “got to the end of the 1,000 years,” the series could, in a roundabout way, complete the entire story.
To that point, in the novels, the character of Demerzel eventually appears on Earth (in the novel Foundation and Earth), previously believed to be a legend in the Foundation galaxy. In Season 1 of the show, Salvor’s father mentions Earth in passing, indicating that at this point, people still aren’t sure it’s even real. Could a search for Earth be a focal point of Season 2? Maybe.
Who is in the Foundation Season 2 cast?
The following cast members will return for Foundation Season 2
- Lee Pace as the Cleons
- Laura Birn as Demerzel
- Leah Harvey as Salvor Hardin
- Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick
- Jared Harris as Hari Seldon
But, because of the time jump, beyond that, it’s not entirely clear. Because Hugo (Daniel MacPherson) took the giant warship Invictus to a secret location near the Foundation on Terminus, it’s possible he could return for Season 2, also. (It wouldn’t be the first time he’s extended his life through cryo-sleep.) But, because of the intergenerational nature of Foundation, we just don’t know who will appear in the next season, or how many years it will span.
In February 2022, Apple TV revealed a whole new slate of characters and actors, including
- Isabella Laughland as ‘Brother Constant,’ a cheerfully confident cleric whose job is to evangelize the Church of the Galactic Spirit across the Outer Reach. Constant is a true believer, whose courage and passion make her hard not to love.
- Kulvinder Ghir as ‘Poly Verisof,’ High Claric of the Church of the Galactic Spirit. Whip-smart and sardonic, he’s also a terrible drunk -- intelligent enough to see the path he’s on, but too cynical to change.
- Sandra Yi Sencindiver as ‘Enjoiner Rue,’ the beautiful, politically savvy consigliere to Queen Sareth. A former courtesan to Cleon the 16th, Rue parlayed her status to become a royal counsellor.
- Ella-Rae Smith as ‘Queen Sareth’ of Cloud Dominion. Used to being underestimated, Sareth employs it to her advantage, charming her way into the Imperial Palace with biting wit, all while on a secret quest for revenge.
- Dimitri Leonidas as ‘HoberMallow,’ a master trader with a sarcastic personality and questionable morals, who is summoned against his will to serve a higher, selfless cause.
- Ben Daniels as 'Bel Roise,’ the last great general of the Superliminal Fleet and would-be conqueror of the Foundation. Bel is noble to a fault, but his fealty to the Galactic Empire is waning.
- Holt McCallany as ‘Warden JaeggerFount,’ the current Warden of Terminus and guardian of its citizens against external threats.
- Mikael Persbrandt as 'The Warlord of Kalgan,’ a monster of a man, coiled with muscle and possessing powerful psychic abilities, and fueled by hate in his quest to take over the galaxy.
- Rachel House as ‘TellemBond,’ mysterious leader of the Mentallics.
- Nimrat Kaur as 'Yanna Seldon’
Based on these character descriptions, it seems very likely that there will be another time jump in this season.
The word “Mentallics” also pops up a bit in these character descriptions, which, again, means the character of “The Mule,” from the Asimov books (and teased in one of Gaal’s voiceovers in Season 1) could appear in some way, shape or form.
When will Foundation Season 2 be released?
Foundation is streaming now on Apple TV+.
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