Foundation TV Series Cast: Who’s Who in Season 1?

Loosely based on Isaac Asimov’s novel series of the same name, Apple TV+’s adaptation of Foundation—as showcased in the first season—borrows only the basic premise and then tweaks the storyline rather excessively to maintain coherence. Find out all about the Foundation TV Series Cast here!

Foundation TV Series Cast:

Deviations from the books are understandably unavoidable considering the sheer scale of the novels although the characters remain nearly the same. In the first season, among the major names in Foundation TV series cast and characters are as follows.

Foundation TV Series Cast:

Jared Harris as Hari Seldon

Let us start with the biggest one: Hari Seldon, the person who sets the storyline in motion from the first day. He is the genius mathematician credited with the discovery of psychohistory, an entirely new field of science to make accurate predictions of the behaviors of a large society hundreds of years into the future. Psychohistory is a multidisciplinary field that combines sociology, history, and mathematical statistics to determine how a society will respond to any stimulus. It is the future defined in numbers.

Hari Seldon is portrayed by Jared Harris, an award-winning British actor known for various iconic roles including as King Henry VIII in The Other Boleyn Girl (2003), John Lennon in the 2000 TV film Two of Us, and Ulysses S. Grant in Lincoln (2012).

Terrence Mann as Brother Dusk

Although his reign is over because of old age, Brother Dusk is not a person anybody can underestimate. He is still actively involved in the decision-making process mostly as council to Brother Day. In fact, it is Brother Dusk who proposes the idea to execute Seldon for predicting the fall of the Galactic Empire, but thankfully his suggestion is rejected by Brother Day who sends Seldon into exile instead.

The actor portraying Brother Dusk is Terrence Mann, who has been a professional actor since 1972. Mann has over 33 film and TV show credits including Foundation series.

Foundation TV Series Cast:

Lee Pace as Brother Day

There are always three simultaneously existing clones of Emperor Cleon I. The clone in his prime assumes the name Brother Day and takes the throne, making him the reigning Emperor of the Galactic Empire. He will be replaced one day by Brother Dawn (the younger version of himself) when the time comes. The other clone goes by the name of Brother Dusk, a retired emperor. Brother Day is charming yet ruthless and ill-tempered.

Bother Day is portrayed by Lee Pace, an experienced American actor best known for his role as Thranduil in The Hobbit trilogy and as Ned in ABC’s Pushing Daisies series. He also plays as Joe MacMillan in AMC’s series Halt and Catch Fire. Pace appears as Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel as well.

Laura Birn as Eto Demerzel

Originally an aide to Emperor Cleon until his death, Demerzel continues to serve the empire as council and advisor to Brother Day. She provides care for little Brother Dawn and gives help to Dusk in his twilight days. She is a humanoid robot, the last of her kind in the entire galaxy. Like a typical robot, Demerzel does not age and is loyal to her human master. She is capable of emotion.

Portraying Eto Demerzel is a Finnish actor, Laura Birn. To the American audience, she is best known for her performances as Theresa in The Ones Below (2015) and as Leila Andresen in A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014). Birn also portrays Elena Askeland in the 2018 Netflix series The Innocents.

Lou Llobell as Gaal Dornick

A mathematical prodigy from Synnax, a planet where the deeply religious society distrusts science, Dornick comes to Trantor to study under Seldon. She is recruited by the man himself as a prize for solving the supposedly unsolvable Abraxas Conjecture. Both Dornick and Seldon are arrested by the empire and sent into exile on Terminus. At least in the TV series, Seldon wants her to play the leading role in creating the Second Foundation on Helicon.

Gaal Dornick is portrayed by Lou Llobell, who has only been an actor since 2021. As of 2023 and apart from the Foundation series, her acting portfolio lists three film titles: Voyagers (2021) as Zandie, The Pilgrim (2021) as Claire, and Beach Boys (TBA).

Leah Harvey as Salvor Hardin

A prominent figure in Terminus City, which is the only habitable place on the planet, Salvor Hardin is the only person unaffected by the null field generated by the mysterious floating artifact called The Vault. She is the Warden of Terminus and the biological daughter of Gaal Dornick. Thanks to her connection with and immunity to The Vault, she emerges as the hero during the Foundation’s First Crisis.

Salvor Hardin is portrayed by Leah Harvey, also a newcomer to acting best known for the roles of Hannah in the 2019 film Fighting with My Family. Harvey portrayed Lisa in a 2022 play The Wonderful World of Dissocia (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and starred as Hortense in Small Island (National Theatre).

Cooper Carter and Cassian Bilton as Brother Dawn

As the youngest of the three ruling Emperors of the Galactic Empire, Brother Dawn is still in his learning days to prepare for the ascension. He is primarily mentored by Brother Dusk and only has minor involvement in government affairs. When Brother Dawn ascends to the throne, another (infant) Dawn takes his position. Brother Day becomes Brother Dusk, whereas the previous Dusk becomes Brother Darkness to be euthanized.

Brother Dawn as a child is portrayed by Cooper Carter, the actor who also plays as Flynn in a 2020 drama Beyond the After. As Dawn grows into a young man, the role is given to Cassian Bilton, who has mostly worked in short films such as A Battle in Waterloo (2019) and Shoal (2020).

Alfred Enoch as Raych Foss

Seldon’s adaptive son, Raych Foss, takes part in two of the major plot points in the first season. He kills Seldon as part of the grand plan for the Foundation and sends Dornick on her way to Helicon. Foss is portrayed by Alfred Enoch, a well-known actor among Harry Potter film series thanks to his role as Dean Thomas.

Daniel MacPherson as Hugo Crast

Hardin’s lover and an interplanetary trader, Hugo Crast helps Terminus tackle its First Crisis. During the battle on the Invictus against the Anacreons, he establishes contact with his people and calls for help. To play as Hugo Crast is Daniel McPherson, an Australian actor and TV star. His film credits include A Wrinkle in Time (2018), The Osiris Child (2016), Infini (2015), and The Cup (2011).

Clarke Peters as Abbas

The first Warden and Mayor of Terminus, Abbas volunteers to follow Seldon into exile. He sacrifices himself to destroy Anacreons’ fleet during the First Crisis. A veteran actor, Clarke Peters, portrays Abbas in the series. He is best known for his role as Police Chief Abercrombie in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) and as Otis in Da 5 Blood (2020).

Kubbra Sait as Phara Keaen

One of the biggest antagonists in the first season, Phara Keaen is the Grand Huntress of War who leads the Anacreons’ fleet invasion to Terminus. She is portrayed by Kubbra Sait, a popular Indian actor thanks to her role as Kukoo in Netflix’s Sacred Games.

We think the showrunners make the right decision to get creative with the storyline. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series consists of multiple interlocking novellas and short stories, spanning centuries and covering beyond an entire Milky Way galaxy. Instances of massive time jump are nothing unusual; some characters in one story might be long deceased in the next, and much of what happens between the stories are not always elaborated in details. All those elements present monumental challenges to the screen adaptation, requiring imaginative deviations. While the changes make the series lack faithfulness to the source material, they deliver better coherence between episodes in a TV show format.

What do you think of the first season cast? Is there anyone you admire the most? We’d love to hear from you.

Other things you might want to know:

Will there be any changes or new cast for the second season?

Apple has already confirmed the addition of 10 new cast members for Season 2 including:

  • Isabella Laughland as Brother Constant
  • Kulvinder Ghir as Poly Verisof
  • Sandra Yi Sencindiver as Enjoiner Rue
  • Ella-Rae Smith as Queen Sareth
  • Dimitri Leonidas as Hober Mallow
  • Ben Daniels as Bel Riose
  • Holt McCallany as Warden Jaegger Fount
  • Mikael Persbrandt as The Warlord of Kalgan
  • Rachel House as Tellem Bon
  • Nimrat Kaur as Yanna Seldon

Do all the characters fit the descriptions in the books?

Changes in the plotline also call for some alterations in the characterizations. To name a few, Dornick, Demerzel, and Hardin are gender-swapped; Hardin is the first Mayor of Terminus in the book, whereas the series gives the spot to Abbas; in the original story, Dornick and Raych never have a face-to-face encounter, let alone develop a romantic relationship.

How do the critics respond?

Most critics (and general audience alike) mostly agree that Foundation (TV series) is an impressive visualization of the world described by Isaac Asimov, but the adaptation is too shallow to where the TV show feels like an entirely different story after the second episode.

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