Foundation season 2: key information
– Release window revealed
– First trailer released in January 2023
– Showrunner David S. Goyer helming season 2
– Main cast all set to return
– New cast members announced in February 2022
– Season 2 likely to focus on plot in Isaac Asimov’s first and second novels
– Third season yet to be greenlit
Happy Foundation season 2 year, everyone! That’s right, Apple’s sci-fi epic is set to return to our screens in 2023 – and, we don’t know about you, but we couldn’t be more excited.
One of the best Apple TV Plus shows around makes its long overdue return in mid-2023, with Apple confirming as much in the first teaser for Foundation’s second season. Okay, so we don’t have a definitive launch date yet, which is slightly irksome. Still, the fact Foundation season 2 is coming this year is great news, especially as we had no idea when it would be released.
Anyway, our Foundation season 2 hub is packed full of important information about the show’s next installment ahead of its exclusive launch on Apple TV Plus. Below, you can read about its cast, plot details, the show’s future, and more.
Full spoilers for Foundation season 1 follow. Additionally, potential spoilers for Foundation’s next season and Isaac Asimov’s book series of the same name are discussed. Proceed at your own risk.
Foundation season 2 release date
Foundation season 2 doesn’t have an official release date. However, it’ll debut on Apple’s streaming platform in mid-2023, with its production company confirming as much in the first season 2 trailer (more on this later).
The last big reveal we received was way back in February 2022 when Apple unveiled a first-look image for Foundation season 2, which showed Lee Pace’s Brother Day verbally clashing with Jared Harris’ Hari Seldon. Well, the AI construct of Seldon’s consciousness, anyway, what with Seldon dying in the show’s second episode.
Principal photography had been underway since late 2021/early 2022 (there’s some discrepancies over its actual start date), but Apple and Skydance Television didn’t confirm filming had ended. Clearly, Foundation season 2 is further along the production pipeline than we thought, and you won’t hear us complaining about it being released this year. Here’s hoping Apple gives us an official launch date soon.
Foundation season 2 trailer
Foundation season 2’s first teaser dropped on January 4. The two-minute long trailer doesn’t give too much away, but there’s enough we can glean from it.
For one, we know the show’s second season will be set against the backdrop of the second Seldon Crisis. Viewers will remember that the first of these crises formed the backbone to the second half of season 1’s plot, so we can expect more high stakes, sci-fi action and drama to play out in the series’ sophomore year.
Elsewhere, it doesn’t seem like Gaal and Salvor – who met for the first time in the Foundation episode 10 – will stick together. The pair appear to go their separate ways at some point as they become embroiled in different storylines. This teaser is just that, though – i.e. a teaser. It only contains a minute’s worth of season 2 footage, which isn’t enough to confirm whether we’ll see Gaal and Salvor team up throughout the next 10 episodes.
Regardless, Foundation season 2 looks as epic, dramatic, and suspenseful as its predecessor. We also see the Empire flexing its military muscles, new alien beasts, and tons of jaw-droppingly beautiful sci-fi vistas. Color us excited.
Foundation season 2 plot
Full spoilers follow for Foundation season 1.
While fans of Isaac Asimov’s novel series may think they know where Foundation season 2’s story will go, the source material can’t be relied upon. Although the show’s creators used the books as a basis for Foundation’s TV adaptation, the series has largely diverged from the books.
Still, there are plenty of unresolved plot threads and new material to explore. Based on comments made by the cast and crew, we have a few pointers about how they might be concluded and/or examined in greater detail.
Showrunner David S Goyer told Collider (opens in new tab) that answers to some of season 1’s open-ended questions will be resolved in future seasons, saying: “If there’s a question that we haven’t answered, there’s a reason why we haven’t answered it. It’s not because we forgot about it. It’s ‘watch this space.'”
Goyer has been open about how certain season 1 events may impact its successor, too.
One of the biggest moments was the revelation that Brothers Dawn, Day and Dusk – portrayed by Cassian Bilton, Lee Pace and Terrence Mann – are not identical clones of Cleon I. After Eto Demerzel (Laura Birn) killed Dawn’s current incarnation due to genetic differences that supposedly made him an impure clone, it’s revealed that all of Cleon’s clones are genetically unique. An anti-Empire resistance group, which included Dawn’s ex-lover Azura, had tampered with the DNA of Cleon I’s host body decades earlier, meaning none of the Empire’s current rulers are identical clones of Cleon I.
Speaking to Newsweek (opens in new tab) post-finale, Goyer teased what this shock reveal may mean for this triumvirate in Foundation season 2.
“Part of the fun of the show moving forward [is] we’ll be seeing how different the various Cleons are,” Goyer said. “It’s part of the jazz that we’re playing with Terrence, Cassian, and Lee because, even though they’re the same actors, some of the characters are going to be very different. One of the things that’s exciting about this monkey wrench, that’s thrown into the Genetic Empire, is what does that do when you introduce chaos into that system?”
The Emperor’s aura forcefield can only stop physical pain, not emotional pain. pic.twitter.com/3Pu1lwxcF6November 20, 2021
For Pace, the Great Spiral pilgrimage that Day undertook in episode 8 foreshadowed the season 1 finale’s big reveal. Speaking to The Wrap (opens in new tab), Pace said: “He [Day] looks at his brothers and especially his younger brother [Dawn], who is now shown to be different in all of these ways, and is basically screaming ‘Me too’. I feel the same way you feel. I know we are living under this fantasy that we are all the same man, and I know better now. I can’t un-see what I’ve seen. I can’t forget. I can’t believe that I am Cleon. I have to now believe that I am this person after what I’ve experienced. I think it forever changes the culture inside the dynasty.”
The other major plot point from the season 1 finale confirmed a series-long fan theory: Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) is the daughter of Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell). Season 1’s final scene is reserved for their overdue meeting – albeit 138 years into the future. Gaal froze her embryo in episode 2 and that fertilized egg went on to become Salvor, who lives on Terminus over a century later. The only reason Gaal and Salvor eventually meet is because of the show’s time travel elements, as well as Gaal occasionally entering cryostasis for decades at a time.
Read our Foundation season 1 episodic recaps
While Goyer was coy about whether the duo’s relationship will potentially grow, he provided some context for how Gaal may react to Salvor’s declaration. And, given their respective time travel adventures, how Gaal is strangely younger than her daughter when they’re reunited.
“The story of Gaal and Salvor… I would say the closest analogy would be if someone gave up a child at birth and didn’t even know what happened to them,” Goyer told Newsweek. “And then one day that adult child knocks on their door and says, ‘Hey, mom’. What’s a little different is that, at least biologically, Salvor’s a few years older than Gaal, which is one of the fun things that you can only do in science fiction. I think Salvor’s about 26 or 27 years old, and Gaal is only about 23 years old, 22 years old.”
Hardin additionally told TVLine (opens in new tab): “These two characters are complete strangers and we’ll get to dive into how they navigate this new relationship, as well as the world around them bringing new challenges [in season 2]. They both have traveled years into the future, and for all they know, everything they knew has been left behind. They, potentially, only have each other left. It’s a profound emotion to contemplate, but it is something that requires time to process. Whether or not they have the luxury of time is another question entirely.”
Meanwhile, what about the Second Foundation, which fans of Asimov’s book series already know about? As Hari Seldon teased in season 1’s final episode, he set up two Foundations at opposite ends of the galaxy – one which the Empire knows about and one it doesn’t. Season 2, then, will take us to this Second Foundation, which is teased in the first trailer.
“It’s definitely something we’re going to explore,” Goyer told Newsweek. “I didn’t bring it up just to not mention it again. One of the other things about the Second Foundation in the books is that the Second Foundation also largely develops off-screen, at least in the original trilogy. It appears almost as a deus ex machina. And I thought, for viewers of the show, that wouldn’t be playing fair, that we had to see the Second Foundation develop.”
As the teaser reveals, the second Seldon Crisis will form a large part of the second season. The alliance that eventually formed between Terminus, Thespis, and Anacreon in season 1 allowed the trio of outer-rim planets to navigate the First Crisis. But, as Hari’s AI construct told their populations in episode 10, more challenges will be on the way. The books give some indication about what the second crisis is, but it’s unclear if Goyer and company will use it ad verbatim or make some creative alterations.
Foundation season 2 cast
Here’s who’s returning for Foundation season 2:
- Jared Harris as Hari Seldon
- Lee Pace as Brother Day
- Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick
- Leah Harvey as Salvor Hardin
- Laura Birn as Eto Demerzel
- Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk
- Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn
Season 2 will introduce new characters, too – Goyer confirming that more live-action incarnations of classic characters from Asimov’s novels will appear in October 2021.
“With season two, our audience will get to visit more of Asimov’s indelible characters and worlds, including Hober Mallow, General Bel Riose, and all the Outer Suns,” Goyer explained. “We’re playing the long game with Foundation and I’m grateful to my partners at Apple and Skydance for entrusting me with this epic. Buckle up. We’re about to fold some serious space.”
In a separate announcement, Apple confirmed the identities of 10 new individuals, including those mentioned by Goyer, and actors who will portray them:
- Isabella Laughland (Harry Potter) as Brother Constant, a cheerfully confident claric whose job is to evangelize the Church of the Galactic Spirit across the Outer Reach
- Kulvinder Ghir (Goodness Gracious Me) as Poly Verisof, High Claric of the Church of the Galactic Spirit. Whip-smart and sardonic, he’s also a terrible drunk – intelligent enough to see the path he’s on, but too cynical to change
- Sandra Yi Sencindiver (The Wheel of Time) as Enjoiner Rue, the beautiful, politically savvy consigliere to Queen Sareth. A former courtesan to Cleon the 16th, Rue parlayed her status to become a royal counsellor
- Ella-Rae Smith (Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw) as Queen Sareth of Cloud Dominion. Used to being underestimated, Sareth employs it to her advantage, charming her way into the Imperial Palace with biting wit, all while on a secret quest for revenge
- Dimitri Leonidas (Centurion) as Hober Mallow, a master trader with a sarcastic personality and questionable morals, who is summoned against his will to serve a higher, selfless cause
- Ben Daniels (Jupiter’s Legacy) as Bel Riose, the last great general of the Superliminal Fleet and would-be conqueror of the Foundation. Bel is noble to a fault, but his fealty to the Galactic Empire is waning
- Holt McCallany (Mindhunter) as Warden Jaegger Fount, the current Warden of Terminus and guardian of its citizens against external threats
- Mikael Persbrandt (Sex Education) as The Warlord of Kalgan, a monster of a man, coiled with muscle and possessing powerful psychic abilities, and fueled by hate in his quest to take over the galaxy
- Rachel House (Cowboy Bebop) as Tellem Bond, mysterious leader of the Mentallics
- Nimrat Kaur (Homeland) as Yanna Seldon
Interestingly, Poly Verisof, The Warlord of Kalgan, Bel Riose, and Hober Mallow are the only four characters who appear in the books. So the other six, Yanna Seldon included, are entirely new creations for the TV series.
Foundation season 2: will there be more seasons?
Apple has only renewed Foundation for another 10-episode run, but we’d be shocked if more seasons aren’t forthcoming. Speaking to Lovin Malta (opens in new tab) in January 2021, Goyer revealed his ambitions to tell Foundation’s vast and epic tale – which spans one thousand years of fictional human history – across 80 episodes.
“Game of Thrones was really the first of these big, giant novelistic shows,” Goyer said. “And now, with Foundation, we can tell the story, hopefully, over the course of 80 episodes, or 80 hours, as opposed to trying to condense it all into two or three hours for a single film.”
Goyer also confirmed (via Collider (opens in new tab)) that he initially pitched an 80-episode story to Apple before they greenlit the show’s first run of episodes. And, if Foundation runs for eight seasons, Goyer already has the show’s ending in mind, saying: “I do have an endpoint in mind, at least for now, I do know where all the major characters land and what happens at the end of it. Hopefully, we’ll get there.”
If each season comprises 10 entries, Foundation might run for eight seasons. However, Apple’s continual renewal of Foundation will depend on whether audiences continue to tune in. Apple is notoriously guarded about releasing viewing figures for its in-house movies and TV shows – so much so that no data for Foundations season 1’s episodes is publicly available.
For now, Foundation season 2 is coming, but its future is unknown past that point. Its first season found its feet with each episode and, providing its successor can improve on the series’ first outing, it should be renewed by Apple during (or after) season 2’s release. Fail to attract viewers, however, and Foundation may not survive past its second season.
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