Episode 3 of The Foundation jumps into the timeline with impunity, but it’s an essential part of the adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s novels and short stories.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for Foundation episode 3.
that of David Goyer Foundation has three time jumps in Episode 3, but with good reason. Writer Isaac Asimov is rightly considered one of the founding fathers of science fiction, and so many of his ideas have become staples of the genre. The Foundation novels and short stories are the jewel in its crown, a much-loved tale that spans millennia and details the future of the entire galaxy. They include so many innovations that would inspire the fundamentals of science fiction, from Galactic Empires to Foundationinspiring Jump Drives Star wars‘hyperdrive.
Showrunner David Goyer has finally brought Foundation to life on the small screen, in a lavishly produced television series for Apple TV +. The first two episodes starred Jared Harris’ Hari Seldon and Lou Llobdell’s Gaal Dornick, the only two mathematicians capable of unraveling the mystery of psychohistory, an area of mathematics that predicts the future. The end of the cliffhanger of Foundation Episode 2 saw Hari Seldon murdered by his protégé Raych, while Gaal Dornick was kicked out of the Foundation in a cryogenic escape pod. However, rather than repeat this story, Foundation Episode 3 begins to jump in the timeline.
Related: Foundation Episode 3 Ending Explained: The Vault & Salvor Hardin
Quite appropriately, Foundation Episode 3 takes place over three different time periods: (1) 400 years ago, when Cleon the First began building the Starbridge and initiated the cloning projects that would maintain her Empire; and (2) 15 years after episodes 1 and 2, which saw the Starbridge hit in a terrorist attack, the current Emperor choosing to destroy its remains as its orbit is unstable and it has become a threat to the galactic capital from Trantor – this section also sees Brother Dusk pass, with a new Cleon clone created; and (3) another 17 years later, with Salvor Hardin sensing the onset of the first so-called Seldon crisis.
Time jumps may surprise many viewers, but in truth, they are an inevitable part of Isaac Asimov’s film adaptation. Foundation. As David Goyer explained in an interview, “The first book is kind of an anthology, and there’s these huge time jumps that happen between stories, and a lot of the characters don’t repeat themselves from story to story.“The first two episodes were essentially a prelude to the main story, and the focus of Foundation has now passed to the time of Salvor Hardin.
Attentive viewers will notice that David Goyer has subtly changed Foundation to create a stronger sense of continuity. Emperors are never seen in Asimov’s stories, and the Empire’s collapse actually happens off the page. The Cleons are an attempt to put a human face on the fall of the Empire, with cloning meaning the actors can stay and viewers can see familiar faces. During this time, Foundation Episode 3 also reveals that someone can be kept in cryogenic suspension for decades, meaning Gaal Dornick can be brought back into this later period as well – something Asimov never even considered. These changes allow Foundation honoring Asimov’s original concept while keeping recurring characters, though Gaal doesn’t return in Episode 3.
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