Foundation season 1: release date, cast, trailer, plot, episode guide and all you need to know about the sci-fi saga

Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick in 'Foundation', an adaptation of the sci-fi series of novels by the late Isaac Asimov.
Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick in 'Foundation', an adaptation of the sci-fi series of novels by the late Isaac Asimov. (Image credit: AppleTV)

Based on the bestselling series of novels, Foundation Season 1 on Apple TV+ is a slick, cinematic-style sci-fi series, full of lavish sets, CGI effects, epic action scenes, and, of course, Jared Harris as its hero Dr Hari Seldon battling clone emperors. 

The fantasy adaption of Isaac Asimov’s groundbreaking Foundation books follows a band of exiles on a journey to save humanity and rebuild civilization based on knowledge and science amid the fall of a Galactic Empire. It's the latest in a succession of fantasy adaptations competing to be the next Game of Thrones.

Foundation was written by Isaac Asimov from the 1940s onwards and became a big influence on many sci-fi classics that came later, including Star Wars with its vast Galactic Empire, the rebellion against it, plus an all-encompassing religious/mystical theory. It's not 'The Force' or Jedis in Foundation, but 'psychohistory' and its guru Hari Seldon (similar to Obi Wan Kenobi or Yoda). You can also see hints of Battlestar Galactica in Foundation too with it's emphasis on building a new civilization! 

So here’s everything you need to know about Foundation Season 1 on Apple TV+, including its epic trailer… 

'Foundation' release date on Apple TV+

The ten-part Foundation series, which has Batman Begins’ David S. Goyer as showrunner, is debuting on Apple TV+ on Friday Sept. 24, with the first three episodes landing initially. Subsequent episodes will drop on each of the following Fridays on Apple’s streaming service.

We also now know that Foundation will be back for a second season on Apple TV Plus, although no timeframe for a Foundation Season 2 release date was given.

Is there a trailer for Foundation?

Yes Apple TV+ released a full Foundation trailer and it’s pretty epic with plenty of big sic-fi action sequences. You can check out the trailer below...

What’s the plot of Foundation on Apple TV+?

The Foundation saga follows revolutionary Dr Hari Seldon, who predicts the impending fall of the Empire, and joins a band of loyal followers to venture to the far reaches of the galaxy to establish 'The Foundation' in an attempt to preserve the future of civilization. But they come up against the ruling Cleons, a long line of emperor clones, who fear their grasp on the galaxy may be weakening.

Foundation is the start of a series of tales set so far in the future that Earth is all but forgotten by humans who live throughout the galaxy in the Galactic Empire. Yet things are going wrong. Its vast size is crippling to it. In particular, the administrative planet, honeycombed and tunneled with offices and staff, is vulnerable to attack or breakdown. The only person willing to confront this imminent catastrophe is Dr Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian and mathematician. Seldon can scientifically predict the future, and it doesn't look great. He foresees a new Dark Age which is scheduled to send humanity into barbarism in 500 years' time. He concocts a scheme to save the knowledge of the race in an Encyclopedia Galactica. But it's project will take generations to complete, and he worries about who takes up the torch after him? 

Isaac Asimov's Foundation is one of the world's most famous sci-fi sagas.

Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' is one of the world's most famous sci-fi sagas. (Image credit: AppleTV+)

'Foundation' cast — Jared Harris as Dr Hari Seldon

In Foundation, Jared Harris plays soothsaying scientist Dr. Hari Seldon, who predicts the impending fall of a galactic regime ruled by clone emperors. 

Mad Men, The Crown and The Terror star Jared, who’s the son of legendary Irish actor Richard Harris, won a Best Actor BAFTA last year for his role in Chernobyl and is all set to star alongside Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, and Eddie Marsan as Professor James Moriarty when Sherlock Holmes 3 hits our screens.

Jared Harris as Dr Hari Seldon in Foundation.

Jared Harris as Dr Hari Seldon in 'Foundation'. (Image credit: AppleTV+)


'Foundation' star Jared Harris won many plaudits for his Soviet scientist role in Chernobyl. (Image credit: Liam Daniel)

'Foundation' cast — Alfred Enoch on playing Raych Foss

Alfred Enoch (How To Get Away With Murder, Troy: Fall Of A City) plays Raych Foss, who is Hari Seldon’s adoptive son and right-hand man. His romantic entanglement with Hari's mathematics prodigy Gaal Dornick however brings danger to them both. 

“Raych is a practical, street-smart guy who knows how to get things done,” Alfred Enoch says. “He’s a bit of a fixer and a bit of a gofer, and his relationship to Hari has both a personal and professional element. His objective is to serve Hari in carrying out his plan. But there’s a kind of conflict there as well. Raych is also concerned about Hari’s safety and well-being, and their relationship exists on a kind of emotional, father/son level as opposed to just the practicalities of what they have to face. There’s a tension between his responsibility, his duty and his personal feelings.” 

That tension is heightened by the developing closeness between Raych and Gaal. “When Gaal arrives on Trantor, Raych is the first person there to welcome her,” says Enoch. “I think there’s an immediate interest. Knowing what is going to be required of Gaal, Raych is sizing her up from the beginning. But he absolutely comes to respect her, which is a big part of that relationship. There is a mutual admiration and respect, then there’s a closeness that comes out of the shared purpose that they have.”

Alfred Enoch as Raych Foss in Foundation.

Alfred Enoch as Hari Seldon's son Raych Foss in Foundation. (Image credit: AppleTV=)

Alfred Enoch in Foundation.

Foundation love? Alfred Enoch as Raych Foss becoming close to Gaal Dornick. (Image credit: AppleTV+)

Alfred Enoch in How To Get Away With Murder.

Foundation star Alfred Enoch played Wes Gibbins in How To Get Away With Murder. (Image credit: Sky)

Who else is starring in 'Foundation'?

Lee Pace (Lord of the Rings, Guardians of the Galaxy) is joining Jared Harris as Brother Day, the current emperor of the Galactic empire, while Lou Llobell (see main image above) (Voyagers) will play maths and scientific genius Gaal Dornick and Leah Harvey (Fighting With My Family) is Salvor Hardin, the first mayor of Terminus. Also among the cast are Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk, Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn.

Leah Harvey in Foundation,

Leah Harvey is Salvor Hardin, the warden of Terminus, in 'Foundation'. (Image credit: AppleTV+)

'Foundation' — locations and other news

Foundation is the largest scale production ever to be filmed in Ireland near Limerick. Although filming at Troy Studios started in 2019 it was hit badly and closed for a long period by the pandemic. The production was estimated to have created around 500 jobs in the area.

'Foundation' episode guide (Spoilers)

Here are our Foundation Season 1 episode reviews and recaps below, with spoilers...

Foundation 1.01 and 1.02 Review
Foundation 1.03: The Mathematician's Ghost
Foundation 1.04: Barbarians at the Gates
Foundation 1.05 review: Upon Awakening
Foundation 1.06 review: Death and the Maiden
Foundation 1.07 Review: Mysteries and Martyrs
Foundation 1.08 Review: The Missing Piece
Foundation 1.09 Review: The First Crisis
Foundation 1.10 Review: The Leap

A Terminus citizen on 'Foundation'

Salvor's mother on Terminus. (Image credit: Apple TV+)

Lee Pace as the clone ruler Brother Day in 'Foundation'.

Lee Pace as the clone ruler Brother Day in 'Foundation'. (Image credit: Apple TV+)

A brief guide to 'Foundation' writer Isaac Asimov and other adaptations of his works

Isaac Asimov.

Isaac Asimov, the prolific American sci-fi author who wrote the Foundation novels. (Image credit: Getty)

American professor of biochemistry Isaac Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 sci-fi books before his death in 1992, including the bestselling Galactic Empire series and the Robot series. The first book in the Robot series, I, Robot, loosely inspired the 2004 film starring Will Smith. Asimov’s works are said to have influenced other major sci-fi films including Star Wars and the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

More Foundation season 1

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.