- ""You came here hoping to save your world. I’m asking you to dream bigger. Why stop at one world? Why not save the galaxy?""
- —Hari Seldon to Gaal Dornick[src]
Hari Seldon is one of the main characters of the Apple TV+ series Foundation. An eccentric mathematical genius, Hari Seldon develops Psychohistory, an entirely new science that allows him to calculate the future with stunning accuracy. His predictions foresee the fall of the Galactic Empire within five hundred years, followed by a period of barbarism that would plunge the galaxy into darkness for thirty thousand years. Hari sets out to create a Foundation to soften the fall and preserve science and civilization for future generations. He is portrayed by Jared Harris, first appearing in the episode "The Emperor's Peace".
Hari Seldon, born on the planet Helicon, is one of the foremost mathematicians in the galaxy. He is the Professor of Probability Theory at Streeling University on Trantor, and the creator of the science known as Psychohistory. With Psychohistory's ability to predict the behaviour of large populations, Hari reaches the conclusion that the Galactic Empire is doomed and will fall within five hundred years. Following that event, a period of thirty thousand years of war and barbarism would follow. Knowing that the fall is inevitable, Hari sets out to soften the fall by creating a Foundation, an organization that would seek to safeguard civilization and science by creating the Encyclopedia Galactica to preserve human knowledge and experiences. He hopes that his actions will reduce the dark ages to a mere one thousand years before a new Empire can arise. Hari's predictions come to the attention of the Cleon Emperors, who worry that Hari is a revolutionary and seeking to undermine faith in the Empire.
Knowing the Empire is watching, Hari begins planning with his associate, Raych Foss. A mathematics contest is held to solve the Abraxas Conjecture to find someone with the same level of mathematical understanding as himself. The contest is won by Gaal Dornick from Synnax, who travels to Trantor to work with Hari. Hari welcomes her to Trantor and then reveals they are due to be arrested the following day. At the Tribunal, the Empire does exactly what Hari hopes; they try to debunk his findings by letting Gaal—the only other person in the galaxy capable of understanding his equations—examine the Prime Radiant. However, she agrees with Hari's findings. As the Emperors decide Hari's fate, careful not to make him a martyr, a terrorist attack on Trantor's Star Bridge brings attention to the notion that the Empire is beginning to crack. Brother Day exiles Hari and his Foundation to the planet Terminus; if the predictions are wrong, the Foundation would be left to wither. But if the predictions prove correct, then the Empire would be seen to be supportive and use the success to uphold their regime. Hari reveals to Gaal that this was his plan all along, and bringing her to Trantor was the key to it succeeding.
The slow ship Deliverance takes Hari and over seventeen hundred colonists to Terminus, a trip that would take several years without a jumpdrive. On the voyage, Hari oversees the training of the colonists and admits that while he planned for this exile, he never imagined himself among the crew of the ship heading to Terminus. He begins to rely more on Gaal, pushing her into a role of leadership. Several months into the voyage, he requested that Raych kill him, believing that it was for the good of the Foundation, telling him that his death at the hands of Raych was the only way that Gaal could be saved. Gaal witnessed Raych in the act of killing Hari, shocked at seeing her lover murder his own foster father and her mentor. Gaal was ejected from the ship in stasis fluid, while Raych was apprehended by the members of the Foundation and eventually executed for his apparent murder of Hari. It was also publicly believed that Gaal was responsible for Hari's death. In spite of his demise, the Foundation endured, and vowed to carry on Hari's principles once the Foundation reached Terminus.
A digitized version of Hari is present on The Raven, as part of the Quantum Consciousness Protocol. His form is not complete and is writhing as he was after being stabbed by Raych Foss. The computer aboard the Raven states that this is due to an incomplete neural uplink, with the source being the Raych Foss Arrival Protocol. Hari begs Gaal to help him and is asked to concentrate to Gaal's voice to break himself from the loop of past events. After exiting the loop, he explains to Gaal he had a data unit implanted in his brain after leaving Trantor which was synchronised with the knife Raych used to kill him. It contained all Hari's memories, thoughts, and other things up to the moment he died. He says something must have gone wrong with the uplink.
He converses with Gaal about what is happening as understands they are going to Helicon. When he asks how long they have been travelling, Gaal says 34 years. He realises at this point that Gaal is not supposed to be there and wonders where Raych is. He tells Gaal she should have gone to Terminus, and thinks Lewis Pirenne - now in charge of the Foundation - will not be able to get the Foundation beyond the settlement phase. He is shocked to hear Raych dies, and his digital self begins to glitch. This leaves life support systems turning off, with Gaal suffocating. Hari authorizes life support systems to reactivate and begins communicating with Gaal again.
Hari explains to Gaal how his death was essential to the plan succeeding. The Foundation needed more than just him leading it, it needed a long standing myth to inspire the citizens. He states that this worked with the mortality rate projected at 34.2% for Foundation members predicted initially being nearly half that. When questioned about his motives for killing himself, he says to Gaal he had Lethe Syndrome, inherited from his father. The plan was for Hari to kill himself and for Raych to explain why, but Hari tells Gaal that it was Raych's love for her that changed that. In order to get Raych to leave Gaal, he had to kill Hari and then leave afterwards. After Gaal gets angry with him, Hari tells Gaal how she made a choice to be involved in this.
Hari wants to establish with Gaal why she went to Hari's apartment on the day of his death. Together they deduce Gaal can tell the future, and knew about Hari dying. Hari explains to Gaal about the second Foundation, with the first one drawing fire and the second one being kept a secret. He does not tell Gaal any more, but does cite on Helicon they can study Gaal's abilities. This causes her to want to leave the ship and Hari watches on. He hears one last plea from Gaal as she threatens to destroy the heat transfer system that is keeping the interior of the ship from getting too hot. He says to her that if he tells her everything, the second Foundation will be put at risk. After she destroys it, thus risking her life, he tells Gaal he could program the cryopod to go where he wants it to go. After hearing Gaal state her reasons for leaving, he opens the door and let's her leave the ship.
Later, another digitized version of Hari came to reveal himself on Terminus via the Vault to members of the Foundation, Anacreons, and Thespis soldiers. Hari Seldon emerges from the Vault and reveals why Anacreon and Thespis have been in conflict for many centuries: a plot by Cleon II to keep the Outer Reach kingdoms in check known as "The First Betrayal". The legend goes that A Thespin King married an Anacreon Huntress, and the king murdered the Huntress on their wedding bed. Hari goes on to say it was Cleon II who orchestrated the plan to implicate the Thespin king and start the conflict to stop the clans uniting against the Empire. Hari urges the three groups, Anacreons, Thespins, and Termini, to band together to face the Galactic Empire using the Invictus. The group do not like this idea, arguing they are not revolutionaries. Hari admits he lied abaout the initial idea of gathering information. He argues in order for more stories to be told, the Genetic Dynasty must fall.
Hari reveals a plan to get the Empire away from the Foundation. The Foundation must fake its death by using the Invictus and activating the quantum drive on the other side of the star, to fake the planet - this the Foundation - being destroyed. This sets them free. Hari speaks to Poly Verisof who asks him how he got here. Hari explains How long before he died, he took a pill that coontains millions of self replicating molecular machines. When his casket was jettisoned into space, the machines broke down his body tissue into various elements, and the machines recycled those picking up more elements that formed the Vault's structure. Hari remained dormant in the Vault as remaining sentient for so long would put too much of a strain on his mind, and his awakening was triggered by the Anacreon attack. Hari explains the null field expansion meant he was regaining consciousness. As he walks away to leave the Foundation to build, Salvor stops Hari to ask about the messages she has been receiving. Hari says those messages have not come from him.
From the Foundation Books
Hari Seldon is the hero of of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Born on the planet Helicon, Seldon showed a prodigious talent for mathematics at an early age, leading him to become a mathematics professor teaching at Streeling University on the planet Trantor. He develops a new science known as Psychohistory combining history, psychology and mathematical probabilities and statistics to predict the future behaviour of societies.
Seldon’s use of Psychohistory predicted the collapse of the Galactic Empire, and an ensuing period of barbarism that would last for thirty thousand years before a new empire would arise. Using his new science, Seldon knows the collapse of the Empire can not be stopped, but events can be deflected just enough to limit the intervening dark age to only a thousand years. Seldon establishes the Foundations, two groups of scientists and engineers tasked with preserving science and civilization to become the basis of the new empire.
- Season One