Foundation season 2: release date, trailer, cast, and more

Lee Pace's Brother Day points his finger at Jared Harris' Hari Seldon's AI construct in Foundation season 2
Foundation season 2 makes its debut on Apple TV Plus in mid-July. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)
Foundation season 2: key information

- Launches on Apple TV Plus on July 14
- New trailers and TV spots feature never-seen-before footage
- Main cast all set to return
- New cast members announced in February 2022
- Plot synopsis released
- Season 2 focusing on Isaac Asimov's first and second novels
- Show not attempting to be Apple's version of Star Wars
- Filming on season 3 has reportedly begun

Foundation season 2 is almost here. The underrated sci-fi TV series finally makes the space jump back onto Apple TV Plus on Friday, July 14, so there's not much time left to learn everything about its next installment before it returns.

In our view, Foundation is one of the best Apple TV Plus shows around – and its second season confirms as much. Be sure to read our spoiler-light thoughts on Foundation season 2's premiere episode before it makes landfall to see why we're so excited for the prestige drama's return. Then, read our extensive, exclusive chat with Foundation's showrunner and its cast on season 2's main theme: inner and outer conflict.

There's plenty more Foundation's news – exclusive to TechRadar and otherwise – where that came from, too. Below, we've rounded up everything worth knowing about its next 10-episode entry, including its cast list, trailers, plot details, the series' future, and more.

Full spoilers follow for Foundation season 1. Potential spoilers for Isaac Asmiov's book series, which the TV show is based on, and Foundation's second season are also incoming. Proceed with caution if you're not caught up.

Foundation season 2 release date

Salvor, Hari, and Gaal stare out of a spaceship's cockpit into space in Foundation season 2

"Salvor, set a course for Foundation season 2." (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Foundation season 2 will debut on Apple TV Plus on Friday, July 14. Its release date was revealed alongside the series' first official trailer, and came four months after Apple confirmed a Q2 2023 release for Foundation's next outing.

The series will return with a one-episode premiere in mid-July, with subsequent episodes released every Friday until the season 2 finale on September 15. Read on for a full rundown on the season 2 release schedule:

  • Episode 1 – Friday, July 14
  • Episode 2 – Friday, July 21
  • Episode 3 – Friday, July 28
  • Episode 4 – Friday, August 4
  • Episode 5 – Friday, August 11
  • Episode 6 – Friday, August 18
  • Episode 7 – Friday, August 25
  • Episode 8 – Friday, September 1
  • Episode 9 – Friday, September 8
  • Episode 10 – Friday, September 15

Foundation season 2 trailer

After an almost 15-month wait for some Foundation season 2 footage to be released, fans have been treated to three official trailers, a teaser trailer, and a first clip over the last six months.

The latest trailer, which you can watch above, contains snippets of new footage that viewers will want to pour over and speculate upon. Well, until the series returns in less than 24 hours (at the time of writing), anyway.

After you're done watching that multiple times, check out the other teasers and trailers, starting with one that arrived in mid-June that teases the huge interstellar war between Empire and Hari Seldon's rebellious colonies we've been waiting for:

Next, watch the first official trailer that debuted in May and teased a colossal, Star Trek-inspired showdown alongside the season's heavenly launch date:

If you still haven't watched the first teaser that arrived in January, you can do so below:

Last but not least, Apple released an extended first clip from season 2 episode 1 on July 11, too, to further whet your appetite for its next installment: 

Foundation season 2 plot

Salvor and Gaal stand on a raft in the ocean world of Synnax in Foundation season 2

Salvor Hardin and Gaal Dornick met for the first time in Foundation's season 1 finale. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Full spoilers follow for Foundation season 1. Proceed with caution if you haven't seen all 10 episodes.

Here's the official plot synopsis for Foundation season 2: "More than a century after the season one finale, tension mounts throughout the galaxy in Foundation season two. As the Cleons unravel, a vengeful queen plots to destroy Empire from within. 

"Hari, Gaal, and Salvor discover a colony of Mentalics with psionic abilities that threaten to alter psychohistory itself. The Foundation has entered its religious phase, promulgating the Church of Seldon throughout the Outer Reach and inciting the Second Crisis: war with Empire. 

"The monumental adaptation of Foundation chronicles the stories of four crucial individuals transcending space and time as they overcome deadly crises, shifting loyalties and complicated relationships that will ultimately determine the fate of humanity."

Fans who have read Isaac Asimov’s books might think we know the direction of Foundation season 2’s story, but the source material can’t be relied on anymore. The novels have been used as a base for the TV adaptation but, by the end of last season, it had diverged from the story in those books.

Still, there are plenty of unresolved plot threads and new material to explore in the series' next outing. Thanks to its cast and showrunner David S Goyer, we know more about how they might be examined in greater detail.

For starters, Goyer exclusively told TechRadar that Foundation isn't trying to be Apple TV Plus' version of Star Wars. His response comes amid claims that the series is taking its cues from Lucasfilm's legendary franchise heading into a more action-packed season 2. That despite Asmiov's works, which were released in the 1950s actually influencing Star Wars' creation two decades later.

In a chat with IGN, Goyer also explained why expanding the scope of Foundation's story was one of his primary objectives for season 2: "Broadly speaking, I wanted to showcase the scope, the grand sense of adventure, and that it was an epic with a capital E. And to also show that there are humans at the heart of it. That's why the trailer very deliberately starts off in a darker place."

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Meanwhile, speaking to Collider in 2021, Goyer confirmed that answers to some of season 1’s open-ended questions will be resolved in future seasons. "If there's a question that we haven't answered, there's a reason why we haven't answered it," he teased. "It's not because we forgot about it. It's 'watch this space.'"

One of the biggest story points we need more details on is the revelation that Brothers Dawn, Day, and Dusk are not identical clones of Cleon I. After Eto Demerzel (Laura Birn) killed Dawn’s current (or, rather, previous) incarnation due to the genetic differences that made him an impure clone, it’s revealed all of Cleon’s clones are genetically unique. An anti-Empire resistance group, which included Dawn’s ex-lover Azura, had tampered with the DNA of Cleon I’s host body decades earlier, meaning none of the Empire’s current rulers are identical clones of Cleon I.

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

"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 [Mann], Cassian [Bilton], and Lee [Pace] 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?"

Brother Day stands in a room with a silk blue robe on in Foundation season 2

Cleon XVII has a lot on his plate heading into season 2. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

For Pace, the Great Spiral pilgrimage Day undertook in episode 8 foreshadowed the season 1 finale’s big reveal. Speaking to The Wrap, Pace said: "He [Day] 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."

But Day and company will have more problems to contend with than the fact they're not genetically linked to one another. As Goyer told IGN: "This [season] is more about the people that are in opposition to Empire, and the people that are trying to stop the darkness that's going to happen once Empire falls."

The other major plot point from the season 1 finale confirmed a series-long fan theory: Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey) is the daughter of Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell). Its final scene is reserved for their overdue meeting – albeit 138 years into the future. Gaal froze her embryo in episode 2, and that fertilized egg went 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 occasionally entering cryostasis for decades at a time.

Goyer has been coy about whether the duo’s relationship will potentially grow – the season 2 trailers tease they'll team up for a time before potentially embarking on separate missions. However, he's also provided some context about 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."

Pleasingly, Gaal will get a bigger character arc in Foundation season 2, with Goyer telling IGN: "Gaal's story was kind of siloed in season 1 after episode 2, and now it's no longer. She's reunited with Salvor. And I can't tell people just exactly how she's reunited with Hari, but she is…" Oh, David, you tease.

Despite the first two trailers teasing that Gaal and Salvor wouldn't spend too much time together, the two latest teasers suggests that won't be the case. Goyer confirmed that the duo will join forces in early episodes, especially on a voyage to a desert planet – that a mysterious character in episode 1 sends them on – that might offer more insight into tackling the Empire. 

"I can't say who that [individual] is yet," Goyer told IGN. "But they [Gaal and Salvor] are drawn there for a very specific reason. Audiences will understand what happens on this world by the end of episode 3. There is a very big surprise in store for them."

Eto Demerzel stands in a grand room with her hands clasped in Foundation season 2

Eto Demerzel will return in Foundation season 2. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Hardin additionally 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."

Meanwhile, what about the Second Foundation, which fans of Asimov’s book series already know about? As Hari Seldon teased in season 1's final episode, he set up two Foundations at opposite ends of the galaxy – one which the Empire knows about and one it doesn’t. Foundation season 2, then, should take us to this Second Foundation, which is teased in the first trailer.

"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."

Elaborating further in his talk with IGN, Goyer said: "By the time season 2 has come around, the Foundation has actually spread to seven or eight worlds. They're not just a single enclave on a single planet, so now they're not just up against a few so-called barbarian planets. [The Foundation is] up against the entire might of Empire and the superluminal fleet. So the question is, how in Seldon's name is the Foundation going to survive a direct threat from Empire itself?"

The second Seldon Crisis will form a large part of the 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 their populations in episode 10, more challenges will be on the way. The books give some indication about what the second crisis is, but it's unclear if Goyer and company will use it ad verbatim or make some creative alterations.

As for other big plot points, the season 2 synopsis reveals that Empire will have to deal with a whole host of other threats. From Queen Sareth's quest for vengeance to the emergence of the Church of Seldon, and the political infighting to even being attacked by galactic monsters (things don't look good for Day in that final shot of the second trailer), the Cleons have their work cut out. That said, Hari and company do, too, with the Mentalics, the Empire's oppressive nature, and the Second Crisis sure to have a big say in Terminus' (and the wider galaxy's) future. Color us excited.

Foundation season 2 cast

A close up of a concerned Hari Seldon sitting down in Foundation season 2

Hari Seldon's digital consciousness will have a big role to play in Foundation season 2. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Here's who's returning for Foundation season 2 from its first installment:

  • 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

The second season also introduces new characters, including some from Asimov's works as well as original characters specific to the show.  First, in October 2021, Goyer confirmed more live-action incarnations of individuals from Asimov’s novels will show up.

"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."

In a separate announcement, Apple confirmed the identities of 10 new individuals, including those mentioned by Goyer, and actors who will portray them:

  • Isabella Laughland (Harry Potter) as Brother Constant, a cheerfully confident claric whose job is to evangelize the Church of the Galactic Spirits across the Outer Reach
  • Kulvinder Ghir (Goodness Gracious Me) as Poly Verisof, High Claric of the Church of the Galactic Spirit. Whip-smart and sardonic, he’s also a terrible drunk – intelligent enough to see the path he’s on, but too cynical to change
  • Sandra Yi Sencindiver (The Wheel of Time) as Enjoiner Rue, the beautiful, politically savvy consigliere to Queen Sareth. A former courtesan to Cleon the 16th, Rue parlayed her status to become a royal counsellor
  • Ella-Rae Smith (Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw) as Queen Sareth of Cloud Dominion. Used to being underestimated, Sareth employs it to her advantage, charming her way into the Imperial Palace with biting wit, all while on a secret quest for revenge
  • Dimitri Leonidas (Centurion) as Hober Mallow, a master trader with a sarcastic personality and questionable morals, who is summoned against his will to serve a higher, selfless cause. Goyer says he'll play a big part in the show's sophomore outing
  • Ben Daniels (Jupiter's Legacy) as Bel Riose, the last great general of the Superliminal Fleet and would-be conqueror of the Foundation. Bel is noble to a fault, but his fealty to the Galactic Empire is waning
  • Holt McCallany (Mindhunter) as Warden Jaegger Fount, the current Warden of Terminus and guardian of its citizens against external threats
  • Mikael Persbrandt (Sex Education) as The Warlord of Kalgan, a monster of a man, coiled with muscle and possessing powerful psychic abilities, and fueled by hate in his quest to take over the galaxy. Goyer says this character will be a "menace" for Gaal to deal with
  • Rachel House (Cowboy Bebop) as Tellem Bond, mysterious leader of the Mentallics
  • Nimrat Kaur (Homeland) as Yanna Seldon

Poly Verisof, The Warlord of Kalgan, Bel Riose, and Hober Mallow are the only four characters who appear in the books. The other six, Yanna Seldon included, are entirely new creations for Foundation season 2. Little is known about these individuals, but we don't have much longer to wait to find out how they factor into season 2's, and that of the wider TV series', story.

Will Foundation return after its second season?

Brothers Dawn, Day, and Dusk sit on their thrones in Foundation season 2

Expect the Cleons to play a massive role in shaping Foundation's future. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Apple has only publicly renewed Foundation for another season, but we’d be shocked if more aren’t forthcoming. Speaking to Lovin Malta in January 2021, Goyer revealed his ambitions to tell Foundation’s vast and epic tale, which spans one thousand years of fictional human history. Goyer also confirmed (via Collider) that he initially pitched an 80-episode story before Apple greenlit the show’s first season. And, curiously, Goyer already has the its ending in mind.

If each season comprises 10 episodes, Foundation might run for eight seasons. However, its continual renewal 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 Foundation season 1’s episodes, or any of its movies and TV shows, is publicly available.

Is a third season in the offing, then? Apple hasn't said as much and, speaking exclusively to TechRadar, Goyer and Foundation's cast weren't willing to confirm if filming had secretly begun. That's in spite of reports from The Midgard Times and The Prague Reporter suggesting principal photography was underway on Foundation season 2.

So the show's future (the above reports notwithstanding) is unknown past that point. Its first season found its feet with each episode and, providing its successor can improve on the series’ first outing, it'll surely be renewed (if it hasn't already) for another season.

For more Apple TV Plus content, check out our Apple TV Plus review, everything we know about Severance season 2, or get the lowdown on the best Apple TV Plus movies.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

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