Apple TV+’s loose adaptation of the classic Foundation sci-fi novels has just gotten a little looser. Ten new actors have been added to the cast to play 10 new characters on the show—and six of them appear to be very new, having not appeared in any of Isaac Asimov’s seven Foundation novels.
I’ve written off the TV series and thus refuse to get further upset about how it mangles the source material, but I think it is... interesting to see how much further Foundation is willing to deviate from its infamously difficult-to-adapt source material. Here are the actors, characters, and quick bios, all courtesy of Apple TV+:
- Dimitri Leonidas 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.”
- Ben Daniels as Bel Roise: “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.”
- Mikael Persbrandt 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.”
- Kulvinder Ghir as Poly Verisof: “High Cleric 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.”
- Isabella Laughland as Brother Constant: “A cheerfully confident cleric whose job is to evangelize the Church of the Galactic Spirit across the Outer Reach. Constant is a true believer, whose courage and passion make her hard not to love.”
- Holt McCallany as Warden Jaegger Fount: “The current Warden of Terminus and guardian of its citizens against external threats.”
- Sandra Yi Sencindiver 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 counselor.”
- Ella-Rae Smith as Queen Sareth: 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.
- Rachel House as Tellem Bond: “Mysterious leader of the Mentallics.”
- Rounding out the casting is Nimrat Kaur as Yanna Seldon, who didn’t receive a bio.
Let’s go through them, shall we? Foundation book fans will recognize a couple of names here: Hober Mallow is a major character in one of the stories that make up the first novel; he travels to the planet Anacreon, which attacked the Foundation’s planet Trantor in season one. Bel Roise attacks Trantor in the second novel, Foundation and Empire, set about 50 years after Mallow’s time. Their character descriptions sound dead on, even if their timelines don’t match.
Here’s where things get a little funky. Poly Verisof is indeed the name of a character in Foundation—a high priest at Anacreon. So imagine my surprise when I discovered the character was already on the show in season one, as one of the kids running around Trantor. Presuming this is an adult Poly, perhaps he relocated and became a priest? As for the Warlord of Kaglan, there is definitely a planet called Kalgan in the novels, which ends up being the birthplace of the Foundation’s greatest foe. The Warlord is a very minor character comparatively, and without spoiling anything, Apple TV+ is playing its cards very close to the vest. Either way, I’m willing to give Foundation the benefit of the doubt for these two.
However. Brother Constant? Jaeggar Fount? Enjoiner Rue? Queen Sareth? Tellem Bond? And whoever this mysterious member of the Seldon family is? While some of them have obvious connections to families and locations in Asimov’s universe, they all appear to be entirely new characters created for the TV show.
As I said in my review of the first season, Foundation was always going to have to make some major changes to work as a TV series. But then the show made many more bizarre, unnecessary decisions, so that by the end its resemblance to the original novels was passing at best. Whether these new characters will fall into the former camp or become part of the problem remains to be seen, preferably by someone who is not me. They’ll join stars Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Lou Llobell, and Leah Harvey, whenever Foundation’s second season premieres, although Apple TV+ has yet to confirm just when that will be.
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