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Filmmakers have been trying to crack Isaac Asimov’s FOUNDATION series for decades, but that’s because Asimov’s series of novels, beginning with Foundation in 1966, have been some of the most respected and influential science fiction books possibly ever.
It obviously made more sense to turn Asimov’s expansive epic into a television series, and Apple has won the TV series adaptation in a competitive situation. The project was put together by Skydance Television, who made a deal with the Asimov estimate and put writer/producers David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman on the job of figuring out how to adapt Asimov’s influential series.
Goyer and Friedman will be executive producers and showrunners on the show with Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross exec. producing.
Originally, Foundation was written by Isamov as a series of short stories published in Astounding Magazine way back in 1942 that were eventually developed into the first novel. It’s a complex saga involving humans being scattered across the galaxy on different planets under the influence of the Galactic Empire. It was a clear influencer on George Lucas’ original Star Wars movies, and even the likes of Game of Thrones author George RR Martin might acknowledge the influence the epic film had on his own work, as well as on all literary science fiction.
Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony have all tried to crack the nut that is Asimov’s Foundation, the last attempt being by filmmaker Roland Emmerich. Top science fictions writers have also attempted to turn Asimov’s saga into a feature film, while HBO previously tried to do a series with Emmerich and Westworld exec producer Jonathan Nolan.
Apple’s programming team, led by Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, has been developing and buying content for its streaming network, including a morning drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. It received a straight-to-order series, as did the retooling of the Steven Spielberg anthology Amazing Stories. Other series are being developed with Battlestar Gallactica‘s Ronald D. Moore and with La La Land‘s Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle, as well as a comedy starring Kristin Wiig, the drama See from Steven Knight and Francis Lawrence, as well as a psychological thriller from M. Night Shyamalan. In other words, Apple is stepping up to be a big player in the television and streaming world with so much strong competition from the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.
Skydance Television previously developed Netflix shows Altered Carbon and Grace and Frankie, as well as he upcoming Amazon series Jack Ryan and AMC’s Dietland. Skydance is also producing the upcoming Terminator reboot with James Cameron and director Tim Miller.
Goyer has a slew of film and television credits in his bio, having co-written Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, as well as being pivotal to New Line’s Blade franchise, directing the last of the three movies. Friedman has been a writer on the War of the Worlds remake, James Cameron’s Avatar sequel and a creator of television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Emerald City and the in-development Snowpiercer series.
Deadline first reported on this news.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor