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Thread: Well, it's happening. Foundation has an adaptation

  1. #1
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    Well, it's happening. Foundation has an adaptation

    I've said for decades that this story is unfilmable; now we'll see if I'm right.

    Still, they struck gold casting Hari Seldon, and if there was any medium at all other than literature that Foundation could exist in, streaming is probably it.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

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    Yes, Ars Technica has an article on it with some fair detail and even some interesting comments (shocking, I know).

    https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/...dation-series/

    They’re modernizing it in some ways, and may be including the three laws robots. In Foundation, Asimov and a couple of other writers worked in the robots very late in the series. It will be interesting to see if the show is recognizable or if they take off wildly in a different direction.

    I am annoyed it is on Apple TV. I already have enough streaming services and have already cut one. I may well subscribe for a month sometime in 2021. I would also like to check out “For All Mankind” when the second season is up. That show is an alternate history where the USSR beat the US to the first lunar landing and thereby pushed the space race further, with the US building a moon base in the early 70s. Here’s a video showing their moonbase, with a real astronaut that provided technical advice. Seems fairly reasonable, but I’d think it would need more radiation shielding (not ignored though):

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3Kp01t...ature=emb_logo
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2020-Jun-23 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Typo

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    I read the trilogy decades ago. Cannot image what they will do with it. I liked the trilogy as it was, inaccurate and messed up, but I am an old person and change frightens and confuses me. Don't turn it into Star Wars, please.

    ADDED: No aliens or robots. They weren't in the original trilogy.

    ADDED: Who will play the Mule? How are they going to handle that?
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2020-Jun-23 at 10:07 PM.
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    Well, they said they couldn't film Lord Of The Rings.
    And they couldn't.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, they said they couldn't film Lord Of The Rings.
    And they couldn't.
    Until they did.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, they said they couldn't film Lord Of The Rings.
    And they couldn't.
    Meh, I realize they made changes to the story, but it was still very recognizable to me and I’ve rewatched the trilogy more than most movies. The first movie especially made a big impact on me, there are few movies I like more. The Hobbit movies on the other hand were almost unwatchable for me (too long for the material and boring), but still recognizable.

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    I think Jackson did as good a job as anyone could with Lord of the Rings and then completely lost the plot with The Hobbit[I][I]. Marketing demands were allowed to overwhelm the story.

    With regards to Foundation the trailer seems to have pulled a few phrases like Psychohistory and some names out of the book and then decided to construct a very different storyline. It did not look like something that I would recognise as being based on the books. Of course, until I see it - only if it leaves Apple - I will not pass a final judgement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Meh, I realize they made changes to the story, but it was still very recognizable to me and I’ve rewatched the trilogy more than most movies.
    I think the first two movies (which are all I've watched) made a decent fist of adhering to the story (I'm not entirely sure, I fell asleep during both). By "couldn't film" I was referring to the difficulty of bringing the tone of Tolkien's narrative to the screen, because the visuals were always going to be a distraction, whether they were done well or done badly. I don't think it's possible to put an Ent on screen, for instance, and have it still be a Tolkien Ent, rather than just an improbably animated stick. So the movies made me sad and bored, and I told my wife she would need to find someone else to accompany here to see the third, restful though my little naps had been.

    Apologies for taking the thread off-course. The problem with Foundation will be different, of course--most of the story happens in wordy dissertations rather than action.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I don't remember much about the Foundation series, but some characters used the Jedi Mind Trick, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    I don't remember much about the Foundation series, but some characters used the Jedi Mind Trick, right?
    Sort of. Possible *spoilers* below for people who haven’t read the stories but plan to watch the series.




    The Mule, who becomes a major antagonist later in the original trilogy, has powerful telepathic powers that he uses to conquer planets, and might have been part of the inspiration for Sith lords and the Force in Star Wars, much like Coruscant is basically Trantor. Of course, he isn’t the only one with such abilities . . .

    In fairness, these abilities are handled quite differently than the Force. Foundation likely provided some inspiration for Star Wars (galactic empire run from Trantor) but is a very different story, and itself was modeled in some ways on the Roman empire.

    More details about the Mule. Again spoiler warning, since I left out a lot of story related details above that you can find here:

    https://asimov.fandom.com/wiki/The_Mule
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2020-Jun-27 at 07:32 AM.

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    I might have the character become a bit like Marvel’s Scarlet Witch in a way—more “his accidency” and less “The Fury”
    More like a person who can leave a building with events of the horror flick Final Destination in his wake. Carrie had the best PK done on film with jump shot close ups anyway.

    Having a person just walk by with chaos passing through—I don’t remember too much of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I might have the character become a bit like Marvel’s Scarlet Witch in a way—more “his accidency” and less “The Fury”
    More like a person who can leave a building with events of the horror flick Final Destination in his wake. Carrie had the best PK done on film with jump shot close ups anyway.

    Having a person just walk by with chaos passing through—I don’t remember too much of that.
    The Mule's power in the books is manipulating emotions, not physical effects.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The Mule's power in the books is manipulating emotions, not physical effects.
    But with a Hollywood treatment he'll spin force beams out of his hands and go mano-a-mano with Hari Seldon in a martial arts beat down. :eyeroll:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The Mule's power in the books is manipulating emotions, not physical effects.
    On the other hand, in the expanded series later after the original trilogy, the Solarians have telekinesis, so it isn’t entirely absent from the series.

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    It just needs nuance, not force lightning. Having people start fighting just by passing by, as opposed to just playing with people’s emotions with a mic’

    More than Tholin Soren, have the Mule be that individual who always seemed to have things go his way back in school

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    It just needs nuance, not force lightning.
    Ah yes, nuance. Just what Hollywood does so well. Maybe they'll get Michael Bay to make it! FOUNDATION EXPLOSION
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    I miss the original series.
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    Wasn't Foundation the first science fiction to introduce a galactic empire?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesabrown View Post
    Wasn't Foundation the first science fiction to introduce a galactic empire?
    The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993) says Asimov invented the most influential version in his many early novels (I think Pebble in the Sky--WRONG but whatever, maybe it was the Foundation stories in the 1940s), but minor examples exist back to 1900 or so, with the British Empire being the interstellar empire.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_Empire_(series)
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    My wife tells a story that she says was one of the highlights of her career as a librarian;

    ...someone came in and asked her where they could find Second Foundation,
    and she said
    "It's at the other end of the Galaxy..."

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    I am actually very excited about the presence of Olivaw in this series. Asimov had two, more like three, separate historical space operas on the go, and towards the end of his life he combined them into one. Olivaw was an éminence grise in the background of the united history, and this series seems likely to run with that.

    I’m even happier that Olivaw turns out to be a woman. Olivaw was a robot, and could have looked like anything. A giraffe, if necessary. We need to see what a truly advanced technological civilisation could do - something Asimov only hinted at until the last books, which I enjoyed much more than the early ones.

    Of course, I'd rather it was The Culture...

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    I am actually very excited about the presence of Olivaw in this series. Asimov had two, more like three, separate historical space operas on the go, and towards the end of his life he combined them into one. Olivaw was an éminence grise in the background of the united history, and this series seems likely to run with that.

    I’m even happier that Olivaw turns out to be a woman. Olivaw was a robot, and could have looked like anything. A giraffe, if necessary. We need to see what a truly advanced technological civilisation could do - something Asimov only hinted at until the last books, which I enjoyed much more than the early ones.

    Of course, I'd rather it was The Culture...
    I don't mind the gender interpretation, but in the books I'm pretty sure R. Daneel Olivaw's expressed gender is male. I always thought it was unnecessary to combine everything. It seemed a little ad hoc to me. It's been a while since I've ready any Asimov, and I'm generally open minded. A lot of people complained about the Will Smith/Bridget Moynahan I, Robot. But can you imagine if someone tried to put those stories as movies as they were written? I believe they'd be unwatchable (plus, they'd have to be series of short films). I liked I, Robot (the movie) and saw it as a way of interpreting the story - like imagine the events really happened, and Asimov wrote an interpretation of it years ago, and then the writers and directors of the movie made an interpretation. I know it didn't really work that way, but it helped me get over the change of character (Dr. Calvin!) and enjoy the "Will Smithness" of it. Hopefully the same can be done with Foundation (minus the "Smithness"). Fingers crossed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    I don't mind the gender interpretation, but in the books I'm pretty sure R. Daneel Olivaw's expressed gender is male. I always thought it was unnecessary to combine everything. It seemed a little ad hoc to me. It's been a while since I've ready any Asimov, and I'm generally open minded. A lot of people complained about the Will Smith/Bridget Moynahan I, Robot. But can you imagine if someone tried to put those stories as movies as they were written? I believe they'd be unwatchable (plus, they'd have to be series of short films). I liked I, Robot (the movie) and saw it as a way of interpreting the story - like imagine the events really happened, and Asimov wrote an interpretation of it years ago, and then the writers and directors of the movie made an interpretation. I know it didn't really work that way, but it helped me get over the change of character (Dr. Calvin!) and enjoy the "Will Smithness" of it. Hopefully the same can be done with Foundation (minus the "Smithness"). Fingers crossed.

    CJSF
    Right. Watching an adaptation means appreciating it as appropriate to its own medium. A painting is not a YouTube video, and should not be viewed as if expecting one. "It's not moving, man!"
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    I’m thinking that it may resemble Mailer’s novel Harlot’s Ghost, with the Olivaw character wondering about the birth of the foundation.

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    Well, here are some points from later book, and possible *spoiler* territory for the series, if it picks up some plot points from those books:



    Asimov tied the robot/spacer stories to the Foundation universe even though in the earlier Foundation stories robots are never seen. In the Robot/Spacer stories, robots became something of a dead end for humanity. Spacers had stopped expanding and had gone a bit strange, some societies dying out. Earth had gone inward too, living in what we would probably now call arcologies. The more advanced robots reasoned their way to a zeroth law, that they needed to protect and help humanity as a whole. Robots decided that since their direct action was harming humanity, they needed to hide themselves and only work from the shadows. They saw to it that even the knowledge of robots like them eventually faded away, but were always there, guiding and helping humanity. They also saw to it that reinvention of advanced robots didn’t occur, but the robots secretly built new ones of their kind. The expansion into the galaxy that resulted in the human empire was largely due to the robots. For one thing, they saw to it that the much of the Earth would become uninhabitable, forcing most Earth humans to leave.

    Sometimes the zeroth law had more nightmarish consequences. Unknown to humanity, massive robot fleets went ahead of human exploration, terraforming worlds and removing possible threats. There is a strong hint that intelligent aliens were found in the galaxy but weren’t considered human enough to trigger three laws protections. As possible eventual threats, they were destroyed by robots. Some alien ecologies were also wiped out, since they wouldn’t be useful to humans and again didn’t fall under three laws.

    Humanoid robots were always around, operating secretly, similar to Olivaw but much better at acting human and with mostly biological bodies difficult to distinguish from regular humans. Hari Seldon married one, only learning his wife was a robot much later on. She helped him develop psychohistory.

    If Olivaw is now to be a woman, I’m curious if they are going to fit Olivaw into this role.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2020-Jul-05 at 08:09 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    I am actually very excited about the presence of Olivaw in this series. Asimov had two, more like three, separate historical space operas on the go, and towards the end of his life he combined them into one.
    Three? That’s interesting. I remember two, plus another book that he hinted was tied into the Foundation universe. He had the Foundation trilogy and other early books set in that universe (Pebbles in the Sky, The Stars, like Dust, The Currents of Space). Then he had the Robot/Spacer stories, with the Spacer stories being a continuation of the earlier robot stories set on Earth or in the solar system.

    But he did have the time travel book, The End of Eternity. Part of the plot (again, spoiler warning if you haven’t read the book):

    In the story, people in a kind of pocket universe largely unaffected by time travel manipulate history to maximize safety for humanity. Time travel is common with even trade between forward and backward time eras. The story takes place on Earth, and development of space travel is often edited out by time travelers as being unsafe. A mystery in the story is that part of the future is inaccessible with their time travel technology and at a certain point further in the future reachable by time travel, humans have disappeared. It is eventually learned that humans did finally develop and keep space travel but by then aliens had taken over the galaxy, so humans were still stuck on Earth. Without expansion, humans slowly died out. The main characters found a way to stop development of time travel in the first place, leading to a different future. The hint in a late Foundation book is that the galactic empire and later developments is that other future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post

    ADDED: Who will play the Mule? How are they going to handle that?
    Oh they'll just hire Doug Jones like everyone else.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

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    Ha!

    Maybe go the other way and make him grumpy, like Karswell the diabolist, when he was dressed ragamuffin—or the Mule could be two people...Harlequin and Reaver...sounds better than the mule. something exotic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    But he did have the time travel book, The End of Eternity.
    ... The hint in a late Foundation book is that the galactic empire and later developments is that other future.
    That's it. The smart way to develop the Foundation universe would be to use the Mule as an obvious antagonist, the robots as hidden antagonists, while keeping the Eternity universe even more deeply hidden, and only revealed as hints and mysteries.

    Basically the way that soap operas/space operas tend to work on television is that they just go on and on, never fully revealing the threats faced by the protagonists. I call it the 'shaggy dog story' rule of television. Given enough changes of writers they could keep this stuff running for years. Only when the shaggy dog story comes to an end, and there are no more hidden antagonists, can the watching public come to realise how shallow it all was, like in Game of Thrones.
    Last edited by eburacum45; 2020-Jul-08 at 11:55 AM.

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