Apple picks up TV adaptation of Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' sci-fi novels

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Apple has reportedly picked up an anticipated TV version of Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" books, often seen as one of the archetypes on which modern science fiction is based.




The series is being worked on by Skydance Television, with David Goyer and Josh Friedman as executive producers and showrunners, Deadline said on Tuesday. David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross from Skydance will also have executive producer roles.

Goyer's credits include projects like "The Dark Knight," "Ghost Rider," and the "Blade" movies, while Friedman is best known for Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" remake and "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles." The latter is also working on James Cameron's sequel to "Avatar."

At its most basic, the "Foundation" series revolves around a future Galactic Empire, in which the main character -- a "psycho-historian," able to predict the future -- foresees the Empire's collapse and sets out prevent the death of human knowledge.

Multiple attempts at bringing "Foundation" to the screen have all failed so far, including feature films by Fox, Sony, and Warner Bros., as well as a TV series by HBO. The main obstacle has been the scope of Asimov's books, which much like "The Lord of the Rings," "Watchmen," or "Dune" have often been considered too complex and sprawling to condense.

Because of the success of "Game of Thrones," however, studios may be feeling more comfortable with adapting long-form stories. Amazon is working on a five-season "Lord of the Rings" series expected to cost $1 billion.

In 2017, Apple also reportedly provided a blank check to Drake for his own shows and movies, and signed a deal with "Star Trek" and "Battlestar Galactica" reboot alum Ronald D. Moore for a new space drama. It is also reportedly paying $5 million per episode on a ten-episode season of "Amazing Stories," a revival of the Amblin Television and NBCUniversal science fiction anthology.

Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine studio is linked to three projects tied to Apple. The first show is as of yet untitled, but features Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston in a drama based on morning show production.

The second show is development of Nichelle Tramble Spellman's "Are You Sleeping," with the "Serial" podcast creator onboard in an advisory role, and Octavia Spencer starring. The third is a sketch comedy show starring Kristen Wiig.

More recently, Apple signed a deal with "La La Land" writer and director Damien Chazelle, and another with "The Big Sick" writers Kumail Nanjiani of "Silicon Valley" and Emily V. Gordon.

These are all thought to be part of a broader $1 billion investment in original programming, which is considerable but still a lower investment than those of its competitors, such as Netflix's reported $7 billion on original content for 2018.
Dave Kaph2ptmayedredsphericmattinozanton zuykov
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    This is exciting!
    StrangeDayswatto_cobraanton zuykov
  • Reply 2 of 90
    Cesar Battistini MazieroCesar Battistini Maziero Posts: 135unconfirmed, member
    More amazing things coming!!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 90
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,566member
    Apple will need a GOT or a WestWorld type series to have a big impact.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 90
    sy1492sy1492 Posts: 10member
    Foundation is one of those futuristic books that ages very poorly as real technology develops. Its like the book branched off one way and reality branches off the other way.
    macplusplus
  • Reply 5 of 90
    h2ph2p Posts: 260member
    What a coincidence! Just this weekend, I was talking with a film editor friend, about my desire to see the 'Foundation' (trilogy at least) as a series... this weekend! Absolutely wonderful news and a bonus that Apple is doing it.
    sphericwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 90
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,874member
    Jonathon Nolan (Christopher Nolan’s brother) was supposed to be writing and preparing to direct this. Now it’s David Goyer? Hmm...  :|
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 7 of 90
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,179member
    sy1492 said:
    Foundation is one of those futuristic books that ages very poorly as real technology develops. Its like the book branched off one way and reality branches off the other way.
    That’s what often makes a piece like this interesting. 

    I mean, isn’t that the whole basis of Steampunk?
    bb-15farmboysphericwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 90
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,283member
    Considering Apple's "PG" goals this seems like a solid move.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 90
    neilmneilm Posts: 543member
    sy1492 said:
    Foundation is one of those futuristic books that ages very poorly as real technology develops. Its like the book branched off one way and reality branches off the other way.
    I also tend to feel that classic SF works better on the page, where your own imagination fills in the details, than on the screen, where you may not agree with what the movie comes up with.

    It does make me wonder how the original trilogy would hold up to a re-reading now, some 50 years later.
    edited April 10 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 90
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,264member
    Well this could go one of two ways: End up similar to the screen adaptation of "Dune" and because it had so many necessary characters and nuances ended up a mess, or closer to a very worthy novel-to-screen like Blade Runner. FWIW I loved the Foundation series back in the day, but it's been decades since I read them and the details are pretty foggy now.

    BTW here's the original announcement from last year, and before Apple invested in the project:
    https://www.empireonline.com/people/isaac-asimov/isaac-asimov-foundation-trilogy-heads-tv/

    but I can't if this is the same as the movie rights that Sony bought up.  A bit confusing... 
    https://www.cinemablend.com/new/Isaac-Asimov-Foundation-Series-Get-Big-Screen-Treatment-27289.html
    edited April 10
  • Reply 11 of 90
    gatorguy said:
    or closer to a very worthy novel-to-screen like Blade Runner. 
    Blade Runner is a pretty loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel. It's more like general-concept-to-screen than anything else. 
    SpamSandwichjasenj1StrangeDaysmattinozRayz2016
  • Reply 12 of 90
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,328member
    sy1492 said:
    Foundation is one of those futuristic books that ages very poorly as real technology develops. Its like the book branched off one way and reality branches off the other way.
    After so much dystopic post-modern crap, a bit of utopia / optimism from one of the founders of sci-fi is welcome.
    bb-15StrangeDaysRayz2016beowulfschmidtwatto_cobraanton zuykov
  • Reply 13 of 90
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,874member
    gatorguy said:
    or closer to a very worthy novel-to-screen like Blade Runner. 
    Blade Runner is a pretty loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel. It's more like general-concept-to-screen than anything else. 
    Correct. The book was short. The world of the movie was really filled in by Ridley Scott, Syd Mead and the art director & production designer team.
    edited April 10 bb-15watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 90
    MacPro said:
    Apple will need a GOT or a WestWorld type series to have a big impact.
    No they don’t need that sort of useless nudity.
    edited April 10 tallest skil
  • Reply 15 of 90
    My first reaction to all of this is "vaporware."  When are some of these huge investments going to actually appear on our screens?  Haven't some of these already fizzled out?  Let's say I'm skeptically excited about these developments.  Let's hope these don't turn into big budget examples of irrelevancies like Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps.

    The Foundation series has some of the same characteristics as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, but I expect it will be much less marketable.  Without sword and sorcery or sex or dramatic combat, there will be fewer hooks to draw people in.  But yes, hard core scifi nerds (which represents few few million people, perhaps) will give it a chance--if they can find it (since it won't just show up on Netflix or network television where people stumble onto things).

    Ok, fingers crossed that Apple will hit another home run with this venture.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 16 of 90
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 241member
    sy1492 said:
    Foundation is one of those futuristic books that ages very poorly as real technology develops. Its like the book branched off one way and reality branches off the other way.
    It has been awhile since I read the books, but I don't recall technology being critical to the plot.

    That element can always be "updated", it's the plot that makes the tale.
    lordjohnwhorfinh2pbb-15StrangeDayshcrefugeewatto_cobraanton zuykovunbeliever2
  • Reply 17 of 90
    I would have been happier if they would have gone with doing a series based on Susan Calvin and the various robot short stories. Or even better would have been to restart the Sarah Connor Chronicles which ended much too soon.
    zeus423lordjohnwhorfinwatto_cobraunbeliever2
  • Reply 18 of 90
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,142member
    As a futurist and character creator, Asimov is as boring as all the 50s dribble for Sci-Fi. I have no doubt many will be thrilled.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 19 of 90
    normmnormm Posts: 520member
    It might be more fun to have a series about the post-Foundation-series society of Donald Kingsbury's "Psychohistorical Crisis".

    randominternetperson
  • Reply 20 of 90
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 903member
    I can't say I'm excited about Apple becoming a content company as well as a hardware, software, & services company. I'd rather Tim Cook and the other executives be concerned about Mac OS & making sure software updates get proper testing before release rather than whether to stay true to a book or veer off into "creative original" plots.
     
    Provide a platform for Netflix, Amazon, CBS, etc. to display their content on.
    entropys
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