Foundation’s David S. Goyer Talks Season 2’s Shocking Finale, And How Cast Members Learned Who Lived And Who Died

Foundation’s David S. Goyer Talks Season 2’s Shocking Finale, And How Cast Members Learned Who Lived And Who Died

Warning: spoilers for Foundation Season 2 are in play. If you haven’t watched Episode 9 - "Long Ago, Not Far Away" and Episode 10 - "Creation Myths,” you’ve been warned.

The final two episodes for the second season of Apple TV+’s sci-fi hit Foundation are the latest examples of how executive producer David S. Goyer’s secretive planning has led to some amazing surprises. With an eight-season plan firmly in his mind, the co-creator of this ambitious Isaac Asimov adaptation continues to play his cards close to the vest. In discussing the finale to this most recent season with CinemaBlend, Goyer revealed to me just how close he’s keeping the secrets of the future to himself. 

Jared Harris comforts an upset Lou Llobell near a rock formation in Foundation Season 2.

(Image credit: Apple/Skydance)

Foundation’s Shocking Season 2 Shocking Finale, And The Unexpected Death That Resulted

If you’re not caught up with Foundation Season 2, this is your last chance to bail out before we spoil the goods. I get it – the 2023 TV schedule has been pretty busy, and you might not be caught up. Or you might be a curious viewer who hasn’t started the series at all and wants to catch up. 

That's your cue to access your Apple TV+ subscription and do your homework. Trust me, it's worth every single moment. If you’re still with me, it’s time to mourn the loss of a major character who has been confirmed to have drawn their last breath.

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As the events of Episode 10, “Creation Myths,” drew this chapter to a close, Gaal Dornick (Lou Llobell) was saved from a last minute assassination attempt by her daughter Salvor Hardin (Leah Harvey). Throughout the majority of this season of Foundation, the huge question that had been looming was whether or not Gaal could save her child from a death foretold to happen 152 years in the future. In one heartbreaking, yet hopeful twist, that concern became something greater: inspiration for the future.

Keep in mind, this is the same episode that saw the heartbreaking deaths of enemies-turned-last minute friends Hober Mallow (Dimitri Leonidas) and Bel Riose (Ben Daniels). So at that point in the episode, I (and likely most audience members used to the rhythm of these sorts of epic series) figured those were the major departures of the season. 

However, as pointed out by David S. Goyer, that was exactly the sort of rhythm he wanted to throw off. As the Man of Steel writer revealed in his talk with CinemaBlend, his surprise decision even had the Foundation writers room questioning the choice: 

That was a decision that we made kind of in the middle of writing the season. That was not preordained. What happened to Bel and Hobar was. We knew that was going to happen even at the start, when we were writing the season. But Salvor was an idea that I had, and I adore the character and I adore the actor … I pitched it to my other writers, and they were very resistant. And I said, ‘Well, let me try it.’ So I wrote the last 10 pages of Episode 10, and I showed it to everyone, and I said ‘What do you think?’ And they were like, ‘Damnit. It works.’

With his writers convinced that Salvor Hardin’s death would not be in vain, they were ready to commit to the bit full throttle. In true Foundation fashion, since David S. Goyer doesn’t want his actors playing to the future, this meant that the decision needed to be hidden until the right moment. Not only did that mean that he had to keep Leah Harvey in the dark, but Goyer also kept this knowledge from some parties pretty high up.

Leah Harvey walking through a fire lit tunnel while armed in Foundation Season 2.

(Image credit: Apple/Skydance)

The Steps David S. Goyer Took To Hide Foundation Season 2’s Ending

Continuing his story of just how secretive his Season 2 finale shocker was, David S. Goyer revealed a sort of cascading level of sneakery. Ranging from the entire cast to the executives in charge and the crew that would shoot “Creation Myths,” a wide swath of people didn’t know the fate of Salvor until pretty late in the game. How late was revealed by Goyer, as he continued to speak with CinemaBlend: 

I didn’t let the cast read [Episodes] 9 and 10 until relatively late in the game. … But even then, we did not show that ending. We wrote a fake ending to Skydance or Apple, and we sat on it for about six months. … I didn’t even tell the director, Alex Graves, who directed Episode 10. It was only about two weeks before we had to film that that I told Alex Graves and Leah Harvey what we were going to do. And I had Leah read it, and she agreed it was also right for the story. Everyone was the most shocked about that twist of events.

Of course there was a greater purpose to killing off Salvor Hardin in the grand scheme of things, and it had to do with her previously foretold demise. On a personal and emotional level, seeing Gaal Dornick losing the daughter she was just getting to know and love is a gut punch and a half. But even in her final breath on screen, Salvor used her death as a message of hope. 

If she could die 152 years ahead of schedule, that meant that, in the words of the Terminator series, the future was not set. With this season opening with not only Salvor’s end in mind, but also a catastrophic timeline projected by the Prime Radiant that saw the purpose of both Foundations knocked wildly off course, this moment of self-sacrifice proved that the long game of shortening the impending dark ages is far from over. 

To say that Salvor Hardin’s death at the end of Foundation Season 2 was shocking is a huge credit to that event. After all of the twists and reveals that dropped throughout these ten captivating episodes, this is one of a handful of moments that will greatly impact the potential future of this series. All that needed to happen was to make sure that the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing; just as Hari Seldon had done when creating the two Foundations.

It’s hard to believe that just a couple of months ago the huge shocker was Lee Pace’s "magic" nude fight scene. But here we are, staring into the darkness of an uncertain future. David S. Goyer is right there with us, as a potential Season 3 for Foundation hasn’t been confirmed or greenlit. There are some developments that its grand architect has shared with us, however, and we’ll be revealing those clues in the near future. 

For now, if you want to know how to watch Foundation Season 2, as well as revisit Season 1, you can run through all twenty episodes streaming on Apple TV+. All other questions will unfortunately have to wait, as Psychohistory can't predict the path of individual episodes, but it does have ideas on where the entire run of this show's timeline will go.