Jonathan Nolan Writing & Producing TV Adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ Trilogy

By November 10, 2014
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While audiences and critics debate various elements from plot holes to the actual science of Interstellar, co-writer Jonathan Nolan, who already has a TV remake of “Westworld” set up at HBO, is setting up an ambitious new sci-fi project on the small screen at the same cable network.

The Wrap reports Nolan, brother of Interstellar and The Dark Knight trilogy director Christopher Nolan, is teaming up with Warner Bros. Television and HBO to produce a TV series based on Isaac Asimov’s revered “Foundation” book trilogy. Just as he’s done with “Person of Interest,” Jonathan Nolan will write and produce the new series that has been quietly developed for several months now.

The book series was once in line for a feature film adaptation with Independence Day helmer Roland Emmerich involved, but HBO now has the rights to the books. Funnily enough, Nolan recently gushed about his love for the Foundation book series to Indiewire:

Well, I fucking love the ‘Foundation’ novels by Isaac Asimov. They’re certainly not well-known, but that’s a set of books I think everyone would benefit from reading. That’s a set of books where the influence they have is just fucking massive. They have many imitators and many have been inspired by them, but go back and read those, and there are some ideas in those that’ll set your fucking hair on fire.

Foundation Trilogy

For those who don’t know, the trilogy focuses on mathematician Hari Seldon, who has dedicated his life to developing psycho-history, a concept that uses the laws of mass action to predict the future on a large scale. But when he sees a future that shows the fall of the Galactic Empire and a forthcoming dark age that will last 30,000 years, he decides to round up a group of talented artisans and engineers to preserve and expand on humanity’s collective knowledge in order to preserve humanity and establish a new empire.

The original trilogy of books won the Hugo Award for Best All-Time series back in 1966, and Asimov followed up with more stories 15 years later with books like Foundation’s Edge and Foundation and Earth. (There are a couple of prequels, too.) It’s not clear if the TV series will use all these books or just the original trilogy, but either way, there’s plenty of great material for an HBO series.

Nolan has shown immense talent for writing grounded sci-fi that is fantastical but not completely unbelievable (at least in this writer’s opinion) on the big screen, so it’ll be interesting to see how he fares with “Westworld” and now “Foundation.” It sounds like it’s still early days on the series though, so stay tuned to see how it develops.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.