that of Isaac Asimov Foundation arrives on Apple TV Plus almost 80 years after it was first published. It’s the first major adaptation of the famous sci-fi novels – but the series of showrunners David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman goes beyond the events of this original 1951 novel to incorporate elements of the sprawling, reconnected universe. of Asimov. Including the subject he is most famous for: robots.
During his career, Asimov is probably best known for both Foundation, and his stories and novels on robots, from which his âThree Laws of Roboticsâ are taken. Although he kept these two great stories separate for most of his career, he ultimately merged them into one timeline. To better understand how it happened, you have to go back and look at the course of Asimov’s career.
The author began writing what would become the Foundation series in 1941, as a science fiction version of Edward Gibbon’s work. The story of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. His editor at Breathtaking science fictionJohn W. Campbell Jr. was excited about the idea and sent Asimov to describe not a short story, but a glimpse into a much larger future story, which will be told in separate installments in the magazine.
Around the same time, Asimov was also having some success writing a series of robot stories. In his introduction to his collection of robot stories from 1990, Visions of robots, the writer explained that he wanted to reverse the script on the types of robots he grew up reading in blockbuster magazines: did the job he was supposed to do. His first story was “Robbie,” published in 1940, and he followed it with others, exploring all of the safety limits the Three Laws placed on robots.
First: a robot cannot injure a human being or, by inaction, allow a human being to be harmed.
Second: A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, unless such orders would conflict with the First Law.
Third: a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Asimov eventually brought together the various short stories that made up the Foundation and Robot worlds into two novels. I robot brought together nine of these original Robot Stories and came out in 1950, while The Foundation Stories were published in three volumes called Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. But he kept the two series separate, noting in his memoir, “If I was fed up with one of them (or readers did), I could continue with the other with minimal overlap.” disturbing. Indeed, I got tired of the Foundation.
The Robots and Foundation series catapulted Asimov to incredible fame within the sci-fi fandom, but he left the Foundation behind to produce over 30 robot short stories and novels, including a few books about a robot named R. Daneel Olivaw who solved mysteries with Detective Elijah Baley in the 1954s Steel caves and 1957 The naked sun.
In the mid-1960s, Asimov ended up taking a break from writing sci-fi novels, but was eventually drawn in the early 1980s to his publisher, Doubleday. In his memoirs, he recounted the scene:
âIsaac, we want you to write a novel for us,â editor Betty Prashker told him. A follow-up call clarified her marching orders: âWhen Betty said ‘a novel’ we meant a ‘science fiction novel’; and when we say “a science fiction novel”, we mean “a Foundation novel.'”
Dutifully, Asimov opened his own book and began to imagine a continuation of the story, which would eventually become Foundation edge, the fourth installment of the series. When it hit bookstore shelves in 1981, it was an immediate bestseller, which prompted Doubleday to have him write another book. He was not particularly interested in returning to the world of Foundation, however, and he chose to return to his Robot series, production Dawn robots in 1983, which became another bestseller.
As he got ready to prepare his fourth Robots book, he decided it was time to start tying these two universes together, despite his publisher’s objections. As “my robots got more and more advanced with each book on robots,” he wrote, their absence in the Foundation universe became more and more pronounced.
In this fourth book, Robots and Empire, Asimov began to explore some of the greatest limitations of the Three Laws, and eventually established a Law of Zero, one that makes his robots look to the greater good of mankind. Over the course of the book, its two robotic protagonists, R. Daneel and R. Giskard Reventlov, established the basic tenets of psychohistory, setting up the science that Hari Seldon would later pick up on thousands of years later in Foundation.
Subsequently, Asimov returned to the Foundation for three more novels: the sequel Foundation and Earth, as well as two prequels, Prelude to the Foundation and Advancing the Foundation, which details Hari Seldon’s youth and how he came to develop psychohistory. Eventually, Seldon comes face to face with R. Daneel, who was Emperor Cleon I’s chief of staff under the name Eto Demerzel. After learning that Seldon was trying to devise a mathematical method to predict the future of mankind, Demerzel / Daneel tells him that he would like to help Seldon in an attempt to advance the Zeroth Law by developing a method to help protect the ‘humanity.
[Ed. note: The rest of this piece contains spoilers for Foundation on Apple TV Plus.]
According to Goyer, while working on the development of Foundation for Apple, he landed on a rough plan of eight seasons (80 episodes in all), and that there will be some big plot points during that run – if that happens. Talk with Reverse, Goyer took it a step further, noting that their approach was essentially to remix the original novels, sequels, and prequels. “Some elements of the sequels will appear in Season 1,” he says, “and some of the elements of the prequels will appear in Season 2.” (Apple has yet to give the green light for a second season of Foundation.)
Evidence for these robot stories emerges within the first two minutes of Foundations second episode, in which Hari Seldon (played by Jared Harris) makes an interesting reference to world history: “There is an apple orchard in the Imperial Gardens which is older than the robot wars,” he says to Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell), a tantalizing allusion to the wide world and history that Goyer has set up.
There is also an even more explicit reference to these stories, as we meet Demerzel, an advisor to the Trio of Emperors, who is revealed in the second episode to be a robot hiding like a very realistic-looking human.
Goyer explained to Polygon that he’s got big things planned for the show’s first season and beyond: “By the end of season one, we’re going to be answering a lot of important questions,” he says, “but there are some questions we’re not going to ask answered, or there are things we’ve alluded to, like robot warfare, which the plan is we’re going to get into. Clues and Easter eggs that are deposited for future seasons. Hope this will reward multiple views as well.