EPISODE NOTES 204 – “Where the Stars are Scattered Thinly”

The title of this episode is a direct lift from an early exchange in “The General” between Bel Riose and Ducem Barr.

This was a tricky episode. For a variety of reasons we had to reshoot about a quarter of the material. Nevertheless, I enjoy it quite a bit – not the least because we briefly focus the attention more on our new characters.

We also get to meet Dr. Seldon for the first time this season – the digital version of Hari that has been haunting the Vault for the last 170 years or so. Pay attention to the subtle differences Jared Harris infuses Dr. Seldon with and how he begins to diverge from “Hari”.

During a season of Foundation we have to take dozens and dozens of flights between the various countries and islands. This was a flight heading over Gran Canaria. It can be a slog, but I try to stay in the present and remember sunsets like this…

Here’s a very early conceptual sketch of a Bishop’s Claw…

The bridge set for Bel’s ship The Destiny was pretty damn big. Technically, this was from I scene I was directing in 203, but it helps give the scale for the 204 scenes.

Ducem Barr, a character I enjoyed from “The General” (the novella that kicks off Foundation and Empire) was played by Danish actor Jesper Christensen. Jesper is probably best known for playing Mr. White in the Bond films. I loved Asimov’s dialogue in the scene between Ducem and Bel Riose and I tried to preserve as much as possible for their scenes in the episode.

With “The General” you can really see Asimov growing as a writer. There is elegance in the dialogue. I loved the wistfulness of the scene between these two characters. And even though I got repeated notes from the studio to cut these scenes, I fought to protect them because it was an opportunity to showcase the beauty in Asimov’s writing.

These are some set dressing details in Ducem’s office…

And, of course, our version of the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu scripture, which is one of a few subtle clues indicating that our show does, indeed, take place in the same galaxy as Earth.

Near the end of each season we inevitably re-shoot certain scenes for one reason or another. For 204 we had to re-shoot the bulk of the scenes on the whispership that open the episode. But Izzy and Kulvinder were great sports.

Here’s Oliver Chris and Izzy Laughland in the moment before they enter the Vault. Every time we were up here it seemed like someone would sprain an ankle…

And the moment at the very end of the episode, when Constant is longingly looking up at the whispership as Hober departs Terminus. This is another moment we had to re-shoot, but we had already left the Canaries – and in this case, we shot it on the soundstage, sprinkling a lot of the red and gray volcanic soil over the floor to match.

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