Isaac Asimov’s Foundation is a science fiction classic that has yet to have a big screen or small screen adaptation despite many attempts. Sony tried a movie with Independence Day director Roland Emmerich. New Line Cinema was going make a movie or trilogy of movies with Michael Lynne and Bob Shaye, the executives who greenlit Lord of the Rings. HBO bought the rights and Jonathan Nolan was attached to it, but is doing Westworld instead.
The latest attempt will be carried out by Skydance Television, Deadline reports. David S. Goyer, writer and producer, is attached to the project, which is going to be a TV series. He is known for Batman, the Blade movies, and Constantine. Unfortunately, he also co-wrote Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Josh Friedman is on board. He was involved in Emerald City, and its cancellation leaves him available for another project. He was also the creator of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which was cancelled all too soon.
Foundation started out with a short story series in Astounding Magazine. It became a book, then a trilogy. It was so highly regarded that it won a special Hugo Award in 1966 for Best All Time Series. Almost thirty years later, Asimov wrote two sequels and two prequels to the original trilogy, making a total of seven books. The later books connect some of his other stories to the Foundation world. The work is grand in scale. Mankind is a vast empire that spans millions of worlds. There is a wealth of material and ideas for a series.
The books, which were said to be inspired by The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, are the history of the future of mankind. A psycho-historian predicts the empire will fall and be followed by 30,000 years of barbarism. Hari Seldon, the first protagonist, creates the foundations to save art, music, science and other products of human civilization from being lost. It is a story that shows a firm belief that science can save us from ourselves.
There are two challenges with adapting Foundation into a TV series. One is making it timely and relevant. People of the electronic age think a computer that takes over the world that occupies a city block is hilarious, as happened in one of Asimov’s short stories. The other is that it has influenced so many other works, from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Futurama to Star Wars, that it’s hard to keep the series from looking like it’s the derivative work.
Skydance Television is reaching for the stars. Let’s hope that we actually get a Foundation series this time.