On a Foundation Movie

A recent announcement from Locus:

“The film version of [Isaac] Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ trilogy optioned in 2000 by Fox, is moving forward, with a screenwriter assigned, and will likely appear as two films, ‘Foundation’ and ‘Second Foundation.'”

You want my honest opinion? I think Foundation is pretty much unfilmable. But I’d have said that about The Lord of the Rings, and that turned out very well. The problem with Foundation? Structure. So…

I’ve given a lot of thought to how to approach adapting the Foundation trilogy as a film (or, rather, several films). One of the problems is the trilogy’s episodic structure due, naturally, to the manner in which it was written–as a series of short stories across the span of a decade. Each short story is essentially independent of the others. Character reappearances are few–in the Salvor Hardin and Mule stories; the rest use the universe as the backdrop, and the characters flow from that. As a series of films, this poses few problems–each film could concentrate on one or two related stories from the trilogy. As a single film, the lack of any central character (beyond the Hari Seldon hologram, which has all the character depth of paper) and the span of four centuries the stories encompass, would pose serious structural problems.

If I were making a Foundation movie, I believe that I would begin with the Mule story, taking the second half of Foundation and Empire and the first half of Second Foundation and developing a single script that combined the two stories into one. Then, if this film were successful, I would make a Salvor Hardin movie, utilizing the two stories from Foundation as the source.

I wish the producers of a Foundation movie luck. They will need it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *