David Goyer and Josh Friedman

Apple has come out on top to produce a TV series adaptation of Foundation, the seminal Isaac Asimov science fiction novel trilogy.

The project, from Skydance Television, has been put in development for straight-to-series consideration.

Deadline.com revealed last June that Skydance had made a deal with the Asimov estate and that David S. Goyer and Josh Friedman would steward a sprawling series based on the books that informed Star Wars and many other sci-fi films and TV series.

Goyer and Friedman will be executive producers and showrunners. Skydance’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross also will executive produce.

Originally published as a short story series in Astounding Magazine in 1942, Asimov’s Foundation is the complex saga of humans scattered on planets throughout the galaxy, all living under the rule of the Galactic Empire. The protagonist is a psycho-historian who has an ability to read the future and foresees the empire’s imminent collapse. He sets out to save the knowledge of mankind from being wiped out.

Asimov’s Orthodox Jewish family emigrated from the USSR to Brooklyn when he was three, and he grew up literate in both Yiddish and English. Asimov wrote or edited some 500 books — in nine out of ten of the major categories of the Dewey Decimal System.

His best-known sci-fi works were the Foundation Trilogy and his robot series, led by I, Robot (1950), which propounded the “Three Laws of Robotics,” highly influential in both science fiction and in real-life robotics.

His other books included histories of the Roman Empire and Asimov’s Guide to the Bible (1967 and 1969).

Asimov was an atheist, but was proud of his Jewish heritage. He died in 1992. A crater on Mars was named in his honor in 2009.

Goyer and Friedman are both Jewish. Goyer’s credits include co-writing the upcoming Terminator reboot now in preproduction as well as the The Dark KnightBatman Begins, Ghost Rider and the Blade franchises, while Friedman’s include Avatar 2, the War of the Worlds remake and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

The Foundation series is the latest step Apple has taken to acquire original programming as it competes with more established outlets such as Netflix, Time Warner’s HBO and Amazon.com’s Amazon Studios.

It is unclear when Apple’s shows will be released, and where viewers will be able to see them. The company has not said if it will distribute them through its own iTunes Store, where it sells shows and films by other companies, or on another platform.


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