Apple TV Plus' Foundation hires Game of Thrones star to play The Mule in season 3 cast shake-up

Gaal Dornick looks stunned as she sees something off camera in Foundation season 2 episode 10
Foundation season 3 has received a big cast upgrade. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

Apple has revealed a spate of new hires for season 3 of its hit sci-fi series Foundation, and one of its new actors is taking over the role of the villainous Mule.

Per Deadline, the popular Apple TV Plus show's ranks have swelled in recent weeks with the addition of eight new faces. Among that contingent are Pilou Asbaek, who played Euron Greyjoy in HBO's TV adaptation of Game of Thrones, and Emmy winner Cherry Jones, who cameoed as Nan Pierce in Succession, another hit drama for HBO.

Curiously, Asbaek has been drafted in to play The Mule, a powerful psychic mutant warlord who'll pose the greatest threat yet to Hari Seldon, Gaal Dornick, and the rest of the show's merry band of heroes. Mikael Persbrandt, who was cast as the prescient villain in the series' second season, was expected to return to portray the same character again in Foundation season 3. Clearly, that's no longer the case, although Deadline hasn't specified why Persbrandt won't be back to play The Mule once more.

TechRadar has reached out to Apple for an official comment on the recasting, and we'll update this article if we hear back. For now, here's the lineup of new faces you can expect to see in Foundation's third season, and where you might have seen them previously:

  • Pilou Asbaek (Game of Thrones, Uncharted)
  • Cherry Jones (Succession, 24)
  • Synnøve Karlsen (Last Night in Soho)
  • Cody Fern (American Horror Story)
  • Brandon P. Bell (Dear White People)
  • Tómas Lemarquis (Blade Runner 2049)
  • Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing (Really Love)
  • Leo Bill (Becoming Elizabeth)

More woe for Apple's flagship sci-fi show

Hari Seldon consoles Gaal Dornick in Foundation season 2 episode 10

Foundation season 3 has been beset with production problems throughout 2024. (Image credit: Apple TV Plus)

The Mule's surprise recasting in Foundation season 3 is just the latest production issue to plague the beleaguered series on one of the world's best streaming services.

Last December, all seemed well for one of the best Apple TV Plus shows' future, with Apple renewing Foundation for a well deserved third season. Since then, though, things haven't been plain sailing.

In early February, we reported that Foundation season 3 faced an agonizing filming delay amid numerous production problems, which included the slashing of the series' production budget. Less than two weeks later, it seemed things were back to normal – with a filming restart date announced, Foundation season 3 was no longer in limbo.

But the show's problems were far from over. In what proved to be a chaotic February for the big-budget sci-fi series, showrunner David S. Goyer was said to have stepped back from leading production on Foundation season 3. Goyer was not only its showrunner, but also the series' head writer, main director, and one of its executive producers. Reports indicate that he's still involved in the third season's production, but Bill Bost – one of Goyer's fellow producers – is now in charge of handling its filming schedule and post-production phase.

Given the amount of upheaval it's faced, it'll be a long time before Foundation makes its return on Apple TV Plus. In the meantime, read our Foundation season 2 ending explained article to see what its finale set up for the season to come.

You might also like

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.


Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.