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First trailer for Apple’s Foundation series captures Isaac Asimov’s epic sci-fi scope

Dark Knight screenwriter David Goyer spoke on his vision at WWDC20

Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, the first in a long-series of sci-fi novels, is an epic of abstract proportions. The story takes place over several thousand years and is highly intellectual, imagining a universe in which massive upheaval is predicted by psychohistoric science. The first volume of stories isn’t super action-packed — but that isn’t stopping blockbuster screenwriter David Goyer from adapting the series for the post-Game of Thrones era.

At WWDC20, Goyer appeared on screen to introduce the first trailer for his original Apple TV Plus series.

“It was the greatest science fiction work of all time,” Goyer says in the footage, released online shortly after the event. “If ever there was a company that was hoping to better peoples’ lives through technology, through connectivity, it’s Apple. And that’s something very much that Asimov was hoping to do.”

Corporate-y! But the footage — eye-popping, dramatic, and expensive-looking — speaks for itself. Maybe there is a take on Asimov’s opus that’s digestible for the mainstream.

In the footage, we get brief glimpses of Jared Harris (Mad Men), who plays Hari Seldon, the creator of psychohistory. Guardians of the Galaxy star Lee Pace appears as Brother Day, the current emperor of the galaxy predicted to fall with his empire. Newcomer Lou Llobell also appears in the trailer, reportedly as Gaal, a mathematical whiz who works with Seldon. Besides that, the trailer goes big, with plenty of spaceship imagery and futuristic razzle dazzle. It’s a play for a streaming service that has spent tons of money on original content, but without seeing much cultural return. Yet.

The trailer teased that Foundation would arrive to Apple TV Plus sometime in 2021.

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