A complex saga of humans scattered on planets throughout the galaxy all living under the rule of the Galactic Empire.
In the summer of 2018, I was in a mini writers’ room for Terminator: Dark Fate. In the midst of breaking the film, David Ellison rushed in and announced that the rights for “Foundation” were in play. “Would you be interested in creating a TV show around it?” – he asked me. Foundation was one of the last white whales of science-fiction yet to be adapted. James Cameron was in the room at the time. He looked at me and said: “Foundation. That’s a hard one”. Ellison said I only had 24 hours to decide – many other interested parties and studios were throwing their hats in the ring.
I thought it over that night. I’d been offered to adapt Foundation a few times prior in my career – but only as a feature, and I knew that would be folly. I also knew I wanted a partner in creating the show. Josh Friedman was one of the other writers in the Terminator room, and I asked him if he was interested. We have very different writing styles, but I hoped they might mesh. After some furious deal-making, Skydance won the rights for Foundation. It was a very short option. We had to develop a show, write a pilot, and get the show green-lit within a single year. The Asimov estate had been in development hell for, literally, decades and was not interested in being handcuffed to a studio for years on end.
I knew it would be immensely challenging. We were facing an extremely cerebral source material, a first book with an episodic structure, lots of action happening off-screen, and a lack of female characters. Not to mention that many elements of the books had been strip-mined by other films in the 70 years since publication. I also knew we had to thread a needle between the die-hard book fans and the broader, global audience we would need to draw in to support such a large budget.
Halfway through writing the 3rd episode, Josh left the show. I’d contemplated us doing it in partnership – but now I was doing it alone. Toss in a global pandemic, and it took nearly four years to bring the show to life. In the end, Apple was elated. I was happy… and best of all, we got a 2nd season. Now we get to play jazz with the characters and themes we introduced in Season One, which promises to be highly compelling.