'Interstellar' Screenwriter Jonathan Nolan Developing 'Foundation' TV Series For HBO

Isaac Asimov's trilogy of Foundation novels — Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation — is among the landmark works in science fiction. (There are further sequels and prequels, too.) We've watched development efforts come and go, with various people hoping to create a Foundation film adaptation. (Most recently, Roland Emmerich raised the ire of sci-fi readers by taking on the project.) But there's a new wrinkle to the story: a Foundation TV series is in development at HBO, with Interstellar writer Jonathan Nolan on board to write and produce.

Asimov's trilogy, which won the Hugo in 1966, is about "a mathematician named Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian who is able to predict large-scale events using scientific principles. When Seldon foresees the downfall of the Galactic Empire, which will precipitate a dark age lasting 30,000 years, he establishes two human oases ("Foundations") in an effort to preserve human knowledge."

While promoting Interstellar, Nolan told The Playlist,

Well, I f***ing 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 f***ing 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 f***ing hair on fire.

Turns out that was a giant hint. (And for those taking offense at the idea that Foundation isn't that well-known, I think the series has been around long enough that people recognize the name, but that a great portion of sci-fi fandom under a certain age — say 30, or 35 — probably hasn't read the books.)

The Wrap reports that Nolan is working on the series, the rights to which HBO picked up earlier this year when Sony's option expired. So, yeah, the Emmerich version is dead. Nolan has already been developing the new Westworld series for HBO, and with the network enthusiastically behind that show, it's no surprise to see Nolan get a shot at making a truly huge series.