Updated: Jul 8
Foundation is one of the most anticipated series in 2021. On the one hand for the purist fans of Isaac Asimov from very the beginning and on the other hand by the new generation of viewers who will discover a part of the gigantic work of its author when the series will be available on Apple TV+.
The production will therefore have to try to satisfy everyone. The same thing that the Game Of Thrones series must have done. Hoping that Foundation will have the same success thereafter.
But a lot of people are still skeptical about this series especially with the first teaser/trailer which was broadcast for the first time in June 2020 and there is are lot of debates on this subject on the web.
Purist fans wonder if the production will faithfully respect Isaac Asimov's books deemed unsuitable for the small screen.
Other fans think it would take more action than you can read in the books to keep the TV Show from getting boring after a few episodes. Even if we have to highlight the fact that in the books it works very well thanks to the great writing talent of Isaac Asimov.
It will therefore be very difficult for the production to be able to satisfy all viewers by finding the right balance between faithful adaptation and the way to consume a series in 2021 (as David Goyer, the showrunner, said in his interview in Malta).
Maybe even later to avoid a final that will divide the fans (I'm still thinking of Game of Thrones ...). I think that nobody wants a big explosion ...
In this article I will talk about the following topics :
Before reading the rest of this article :
- This is only my own opinion and my own theories on possible ways to adapt the series. You are of course welcome to react and give your own opinion and/or theory in the comments section with respect and constructiveness.
- If you haven't read the books yet, the article may contain possible spoilers. Although I try to avoid them as much as possible and keep it as general as possible. So I recommend you to read the books before continuing to read this article.
1. Does the gender of the characters matter ?
Some of the iconic characters who are meant to be men in the books will be women in the series.
Indeed, Gaal Dornick, Eto Dermerzel and Salvor Hardin will be played by women whom I personally look forward to seeing them play these roles :
Isaac Asimov had a great talent for imagining the future like his fictional character Hari Seldon, the inventor of Psychohistory. However, he couldn't be a visionary on everything and the times in which he lived did not facilitate the imagination for the lines which will follow.
To some 21st century readers, his writing may seem sexist because it doesn't feature a lot of women as the main characters.
Indeed, let's take for example the books of his trilogy: "Foundation (1951)", "Foundation and Empire (1952)" and "Second Foundation (1953)". With the exception of Bayta and Arkady Darell, there isn't any important women to the story.
Moreover these women don't appear until much later and not in the first book (by publication date) which will be, according to the teaser/trailer of Apple TV+, one of the books that the series will talk about for the Season 1 with probably "Forward the Foundation (1993)" since we know that Eto Demerzel will be present.
So you can easily imagine in 2021 the controversy over a TV Show which would not feature any female actresses. It is therefore for me completely normal that Apple TV+ has chosen to take the liberty in terms of characters genders.
In my personal opinion, it doesn't matter whether the character is male or female. What interests me in an adaptation is the way in which the personality, the emotions and the actions of a character will be transcribed.
Of course, everyone will have their own opinion on the number of characters whose gender has been changed. Some people even thinks that Apple TV+ should have remained faithful to the original work for this point. It is a sensitive subject to what I've read on certain discussion topics but which I couldn't miss in this article.
2. Should we have battle or fight scenes ?
"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" said Salvor Hardin. However, in the first images we have of her in the series we can see her holding a weapon each time. A bit contradictory for a character supposed to be a pacifist in the books. Don't you think ?
One of the sensitive questions is whether there should be battles and fights or not.
This might annoy some people but my answer is YES. This TV Show needs battle and fight scenes BUT not too much. I will tell you why in my opinion !
People who have read the books know that it prioritizes solving different storylines and crises through dialogue and not through epic battles and fights. The big battles are mentioned but we are never ourselves in the middle of one of them.
Indeed, Isaac Asimov was popularizing science and his books remain very intellectual. It uses a lot of concepts like math, science and politics leaving very little room for action.
If Apple TV+ followed exactly what was written in the books on screen, do you think that the most part of viewers who have never read the books are going to get hooked on the show ? And wouldn't someone who knows the works of Isaac Asimov be also disappointed if he was served on television what he has already read word for word ?
It's a big risk to upset the habits of the majority of today's audience. Especially if Apple TV+ wants Foundation to become its Game of Thrones. With this comparison, how do you think those who don't yet know Foundation will react if there is no action but only dialogues ?
In my opinion, they might run away and that would be the best way for Apple TV+ to stop the production of the series after 30 episodes !
I like this sentence which comes from a french article on numerama.com "You have to imagine a Game of Thrones of totally uncluttered space which only political dialogues and those of the Citadel would persist".
Do you think that most people would have enjoyed a series on this path and that it would have been so successful ?
Let's not lie to each other and we even see it with discussions on Reddit : the fan community isn't large. I'm sorry if I sounded harsh but I doubt that the ambitions of Apple TV+ are to satisfy only the r/asimov (8500+ members) and r/The Foundation (300+ members) subbredit.
And by the way also foundation-tv-show.com/forum that I invite you to participate. Support the little fan projects and not only the big discussion platforms. Don't let die the good old fan websites !
In my personal opinion it is therefore essential that the production adds battle and fight scenes ! I think Apple TV+ wouldn't take any risk doing this because Isaac Asimov just mentioned them and never described them in his books. This would allow the average viewers to satisfy their desire for action and to be able to imagine it later if they decide to read the books.
Of course I'm not saying that it will be necessary to put battles or fights in each episode because the goal isn't to make a cinematographic work like Star Wars but to find the right balance to put forward the Isaac Asimov's work and genius for everyone.
For example, leaving room for the imagination to the producers for the scenes which are not described precisely in the books as the battles and fights but in return faithfully respect the events and dialogues which are carefully detailed by the author. In any case, never kill a main character in a battle or fight ...
3. Will the series follow the chronological order of the books ?
At first glance, Apple TV+ seems to follow this path according to its teaser/trailer released in June 2020. Indeed, if we follow the chronological order of the books (not their publication date) the series seems to deal with books "Forward the Foundation (1993)" and "Foundation (1951)".
As a reminder, here is the chronological order of the books :
We can guess it with the presence of Eto Demerzel portrayed by Laura Birn as well as the presence of Hari Seldon portrayed by Jared Harris, Gaal Dornick portrayed by Lou Lloubel and Salvor Hardin portrayed by Leah Harvey.
We could imagine flashbacks from the book "Prelude to Foundation (1988)" perhaps in Hari Seldon's memories regarding the beginning of the psychohistory creation. Which could be an interesting idea from my point of view but which is only pure speculation from my part ... :)
Unfortunately for the moment we haven't a lot of information to imagine very relevant theories on the continuation which could take the series about the chronological order of the events even concerning the book "Foundation (1951)".
However, if you're interested in having a theory on how the series would be separated with 8 seasons, you can read this comment posted by Cosmo Explorer on a video from Foundation Era's Youtube channel :
4. Will the series really end after 80 episodes ?
My theory about it is that the 80 episodes will follow the books from Isaac Asimov but if the TV Show works very well we could have maybe more episodes.
But what end could we imagine to Foundation when we know that Isaac Asimov himself hadn't written it ?
Here are the 2 possibilities I am thinking of :
The least risky
Apple TV+ decides to work with a talented author who has already proven himself with the Isaac Asimov's universe. I am thinking in particular of David Brin whose book "Foundation's Triumph" was adored and validated by Janet Asimov herself.
As a reminder, HBO had proposed an ending for Game Of Thrones that the author of the books, George R. R. Martin, still alive hadn't yet written himself. With the disappointment of the fans he had made it clear in the media that it was an end but not THE END.
There you have it ! My first article of opinions and theories about the series is finished. I hope you enjoyed reading it and that you will be kind to my English. My main language is French and I do my best to try to formulate my sentences in the best possible English ...
Of course, feel free to react to this article in the comment section below to give your own opinion and/or theory about the series !