Foundation season 2: cast, plot and everything we know so far

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Foundation season 2 is in the works for Apple TV Plus. The streamer’s flagship sci-fi series was renewed for another outing in October 2021 – which isn’t a huge surprise, given how much money, time and effort has been poured into the show thus far.

Still, it’s pleasing to read that Foundation season 2 is in development. In our view, the show initially suffered from teething issues. But its first season grew stronger as it progressed, culminating in an absorbing season finale that, well, lays the foundations for even more enthralling episodes to come.

So what do we know about Foundation’s second season? Not a lot. There’s no confirmed release date yet, nor does it seem like any major developments have taken place.

Based on how season 1 ended, which characters were still alive after its finale, and Isaac Asimov’s beloved novels, though, we can build a picture of what Foundation season 2 might contain. Below, we’ve compiled everything we know about Foundation’s second season, including potential plot points, which actors are expected to return, the series’ future, and more.

Here’s everything you need to know about Foundation season 2 on Apple TV Plus

Foundation season 2 release date

Foundation season 2 release date: 2023?

Salvor Hardin goes to touch the Vault in Foundation episode 10

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

It’s unclear when Foundation season 2 will be released. As we mentioned, there’s no in-depth information on where the show’s creative team is with its development, or when the cast and crew will begin filming.

What we do know is that showrunner David S. Goyer is ready to get to work as soon as possible. Speaking to Collider, Goyer revealed that season 2 could enter production in 2022 if everyone was readily available, but declined to elaborate further on how much of season 2 had been written so far.

Fortunately, one of Foundation’s main cast members was more forthcoming about where season 2 is on the production line. Leah Harvey, who plays Salvor Hardin, told TVLine that “we’ve already started work on season 2,” so some aspects of development have started to move into gear.

Providing principal photography begins on Foundation season 2 this year, it wouldn’t be released until 2023 at the earliest. Foundation is a massive undertaking for everyone involved, so there’s plenty of storyboarding and script writing to conduct, filming to complete and post-production work to be carried out before it’s ready to be released. Our opinion? Don’t expect its arrival before mid to late 2023.

Foundation season 2 plot

Foundation season 2 plot: what will the story be about?

Salvor and Gaal finally meet in Foundation episode 10

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Full spoilers follow for Foundation season 1.

While fans of Asimov’s novels may think they know where season 2’s story will go, the source material can’t be relied upon to divulge any major story beats. Why? Because, although the creators used the books as a basis for Foundation’s TV adaptation, the show had largely diverged from Asimov’s novels by its season 1 finale.

Still, there are plenty of unresolved plot threads and storylines that need to be picked up and addressed in Foundation season 2. And, based on comments made by the cast and crew, we have a few pointers about where certain storylines and character arcs may go.

For his part, Goyer explained that answers to some of season 1’s open-ended plot points will be resolved in future seasons, telling Collider: “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 was, though, happy to tease how certain season 1 events may impact its successor.

One of the biggest moments in the season 1 finale 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, that included Dawn’s ex-lover Azura, had tampered with the DNA of Cleon I’s host body decades earlier, ensuring that none of the Empire’s current rulers are identical clones of Cleon I.

Speaking to Newsweek post-finale, Goyer teased what this shock reveal may mean for this triumvirate in season 2.

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“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?”

For Pace, the Great Spiral pilgrimage that Day undertook in episode 8 foreshadowed the season 1 finale’s big Empire reveal. Speaking to The Wrap, Pace said: “He 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 episode 10 confirmed a series-long fan theory: that Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) is the daughter of Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell). The episode’s final scene is reserved for these two key characters finally meeting – albeit 138 years into the future. As viewers will remember, Gaal froze her embryo in episode 2. That fertilized egg would go 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 entering cryostasis for decades at a time.

While Goyer was being coy about whether the duo’s relationship will potentially grow in season 2, the series’ showrunner did provide 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.”

Hari Seldon's digital construct emerges from the Vault in Foundation episode 9

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

As for Hardin, the actor told TVLine: “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.”

And what of the Second Foundation, which fans of Asimov’s book series already know about? As Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) teased in season 1, he set up two foundations at opposite ends of the galaxy – one which the Empire knows about and one that it doesn’t. So will Foundation season 2 deliver on showing viewers where the secret society is and what its purpose is?

“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.”

Expect the Second Foundation to play as prominent a role in the new season as the First Foundation did in season 1, then. Not only that, but a Second Seldon Crisis is likely to form a large part of the series’ second season, too. 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 all three races in episode 10, more challenges will be on the way. So it’ll be interesting to see how those Seldon Crises are adapted from the novels for TV purposes.

Foundation season 2 cast

Foundation season 2 cast: who is returning?

Brother Dusk scolds Dawn for leaving the palace in Foundation episode 9

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Again, there’s no confirmation on this front yet. But, based on who appeared in the show’s first season, and where season 2’s multiple story threads could go, these are the most likely candidates to return: 

  • 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. As part of Foundation season 2’s announcement, Goyer confirmed (via an Apple TV Plus press release) that more live-action incarnations of classic characters from Asimov’s novels will appear in the show’s next instalment.

“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.”

Unsurprisingly, no announcements have been made about who will portray these characters. Once we learn more, we’ll update this section.

Foundation season 2 trailer

Foundation season 2 trailer: is there one?

Salvor Hardin looking shocked in Foundation episode 7

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

No, and there won’t be for some time. Season 2 hasn’t officially entered production, so a trailer is a long way off. As soon as one is released, though, we’ll add it here. 

Foundation season 2: the future

Foundation season 2: will there be more seasons?

Gaal Dornick finds out she can predict the future in Foundation episode 7

(Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

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 back 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) that he initially pitched an 80-episode story to Apple before they greenlit the show’s first run of episodes. And, if Foundation does run for eight seasons as Goyer hopes, he 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 season 1’s episodes is publicly available.

For now, then, Foundation will get a second season, but its future is unknown past that point. Its first season found its feet with each episode and, providing season 2 can improve on the series’ first outing, it should be renewed by Apple during (or after) season 2’s release. Should it fail to attract viewers, however, Foundation may not survive past its second season.

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