Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Skydance Television is having a go at adapting Isaac Asimov’s iconic science fiction series, “Foundation,” to the small screen. David Goyer, who was involved in the “Batman.” “Ghostrider,” and “Blade” series of films and Josh Friedman, who did the “War of the Worlds” remake and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” will develop the project. The deal has been reached with the Asimov estate, but thus far the project has not come to the stage of pitching it to markets.

What is ‘Foundation?’

Back in the 1940s, Isaac Asimov read “Decline And Fall of the Roman Empire” and hit upon the idea of exploring the story and themes related in the massive historical tome to a science fiction context. The “Foundation” series, which started as a number of short stories, began in the far future when the Galactic Empire has reached the zenith of its power. A scientist named Hari Seldon develops a new discipline called psychohistory that can be used to predict future history.

Seldon predicts the decline and fall of the Galactic Empire and sets about establishing the Foundation, a colony of scientists and other experts, who will preserve human knowledge and shorten the dark ages that will occur before the Second Empire arises.

The events in the series, which has continued written by other authors after Asimov’s death, track in many ways to the history of the decline and fall of Rome.

“The Foundation” dwells of themes of politics, religion, biology, and the effects of great men in the course of history. The epic is sprawling and contains numerous interesting characters throughout the centuries.

Previous attempts to adapt have failed.

“Foundation” has had three previous attempts to bring it to the big or small screen over the past 20 or so years. In the 1990s, New Line Cinema made an attempt before abandoning the project for “The Lord of the Rings.” Roland Emmerich and Jonathon Nolan each gave it a try in the 21st Century to no avail.

The Foundation books were written over decades during which understanding of both science and history have changed. In the 1940s, when Asimov started the series, he placed the capital planet of the Galactic Empire, Trantor, at the center of the galaxy. Modern cosmology suggests that for a number of reasons habitable planets at the galactic core are very unlikely. Other theories explaining the fall of Rome have arisen since Gibbon first published his book centuries ago.

Still, other previously thought to be unfilmable books have made it to the big or small screen. Besides the already mentioned “The Lord of the Rings” another epic, “Game of Thrones,” comes to mind. So perhaps the fourth time will be a charm.

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