Foundation Season 2 Dives Even Deeper Into the Mysteries of Hari Seldon and Brother Day

Exclusive: Showrunner David S. Goyer and stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace help us make sense of Foundation season 1 and get ready for season 2.

Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey), Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) and Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) in Foundation season 2.
Photo: Apple TV+

The marketing material for Foundation season 2 makes no attempt to hide the fact that the show is in store for a big time jump. While this would be a major twist for many other TV shows, for Foundation‘s eons-spanning narrative it’s pretty standard. Not only did season 1 feature multiple time jumps, but the final moments of its finale actually bring viewers up to roughly 138 years in the future when season 2 is set to begin. That just happens to be the amount of time it takes for both Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) and Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) to reach Gaal’s native planet Synnax.

While roughly no time has passed for atypical mother-daughter duo Gaal and Salvor thanks to the intricacies of suspended animation and interstellar travel, what happened to the rest of the galaxy?

Showrunner David S. Goyer helpfully explained the situation to us when Den of Geek caught up with him, as well as actors Jared Harris and Lee Pace, ahead of the season 2 premiere of the Apple TV+ sci-fi series (and before the SAG-AFTRA strike). In short, the show’s sophomore year will focus in on the battles to come between the Galactic Empire and psychohistorian Hari Seldon’s Foundation, a group tasked with preventing a 30,000-year dark age after the impending collapse of civilization.

“In season one, Foundation was a scrappy little group of a few thousand people on a frigid planet. And by now, they’ve spread out to seven or eight planets, and they’ve started to gain a foothold on some of the worlds that Empire has let go to seed.”

Ad – content continues below

Goyer goes on to note that the second season’s “Second Crisis” (essentially the next phase of the aforementioned collapse) will borrow from several elements in Isaac Asimov’s books, but the primary threat will be the military conflict between Empire and Foundation.

“That’s very much what season two is about,” Goyer says. “Empire ignored Foundation in season one and now they feel like they’ve they’ve gotten established enough that they’re a threat, and they have to get rid of them.”

Meanwhile, in the time between seasons 1 and 2, Hari Seldon…or more accurately the digital likeness of Hari Seldon…has become a religious figure for Foundation adherents. According to actor Jared Harris, Seldon knew such a thing would be inevitable.

“[Seldon] knows, having studied civilizations, that they all go through their religious phase, so he wanted to guide that phase without being there,” Harris says. “But obviously, you don’t want to create a religion that starts to negate or turn its back on science. And there’s quite often a conflict between religion and science.”

That’s where Foundation season 2 picks up. But where will it be going? To answer that question, we’ll have to dive a bit deeper into the mysterious entity that is Hari Seldon.

According to Goyer, many fans of Foundation season 1 picked up on something that will be crucial to the story going forward: the fact that there are now two Hari Seldons. Seldon is perhaps the “least dead” a dead person has ever been because two high fidelity digital recreations exist of him. One of them, which Goyer and company like to refer to as simply “Hari,” is aboard The Raven en route to his home planet of Helicon to establish a secret “Second Foundation. The other, referred to by Goyer as “Dr. Seldon,” is the version that emerged from the mysterious “Vault” on Terminus to prepare his followers for the Second Crisis.

Ad – content continues below

“One of the goals of season 2 was to take Hari Seldon and really dig deep into him as a character and a human being,” Goyer says. “‘Hari’ is the one we’re digging into his humanity. And the other, ‘Dr. Seldon’ is the pure digitized consciousness. That’s the deity and the one referred to as ‘The Prophet.’ And that’s the one that maybe we should start to be a little afraid of.”

Also on the narrative docket for season 2 is the exploration of major Empire questions from season 1. How did the android Demerzel come to be a part of the Cleon Genetic Dynasty? And how does the news that Cleon I’s holy DNA was altered affect each of his clones going forward? Lee Pace who plays “middle” Cleon incarnation “Brother Day,” is eager to explore the latter.

“The Cleon that I played last season, which is many generations before the Cleon that I played this season, he realized that he had an individuality that was outside this fantasy that they were all the same man,” Pace says. “Once that idea was introduced into the culture of the Cleons, you [eventually] get to the Cleon XVII who loves his individuality. He doesn’t want to be like the rest of them. He thinks that he’s better than them, more powerful, more clever, and will be the last one because he’s going to end the whole thing.”

Will Cleon XVII end the whole Cleon dynasty? Hopefully he doesn’t do so anytime soon as Goyer wants Foundation to run for “80 hours” of storytelling and that would be a long time to go without Lee Pace.

Foundation season 2 episode 1 is available to stream on Apple TV+ now. New episodes premiere each Friday culminating with the finale on Sept. 15.