In the beginning of Foundation TV series, Hari Seldon warned Emperors about Clone Dynasty and instructed them to end this program. At that time, I thought that Emperors had authority to do that. They just weren't willing to do it.

But, the last episode left me speechless. Brother Day (The Prime) who had supreme authority even among Emperors was helpless. Demerzel (who was programmed to follow orders of Emperors) ignored his words and killed an Emperor to protect the Clone Dynasty and then cried later.

How does the system work? Can Clone Dynasty be ended without external brute force?

  • 2
    You're assuming that it wasn't lawful order... The show is such a mess at this stage that it should be renamed and just mention it's inspiration was the book. I think what happened was Zeroth Law of Robotics in play, but as far as I know, this should be impossible (at least according to books), so it may be explained later. FYI, in books word robot and/or android is no longer used as no one even knows this technology exists. Robots are a myth, children's tale...
    – AcePL
    Nov 23, 2021 at 12:05
  • 2
    "Clone Dynasty" in the Foundation stories? Sounds like the producers pulled a Starship Troopers stunt - kept the names, threw away the story, wrote a new (crummy) story in its place.
    – JRE
    Nov 23, 2021 at 12:51
  • @JRE Yeah, that's completely different from the books, but I liked it. The show presents it very well. A futuristic culture and system designed around it. Nov 23, 2021 at 12:56
  • > How does the system work? I don't think even the writers know at this point...
    – Hans Olo
    Nov 23, 2021 at 15:37
  • @JRE It’s an interesting addition that creates some on-screen emotional and physical conflict to augment the books’ social conflict, which doesn’t work as well on-screen. The core story of the books, though, is still quite recognizable (so far).
    – StephenS
    Nov 23, 2021 at 18:48

2 Answers 2


It could be ended by Emperors themselves (probably only by Brother Day alone), and it also seems like they can lose power to the Galactic Council, but there were only very small references to it:

Brother Day: If the Galactic Council discovers our dynastic thread is broken…

Brother Dawn: Galactic Council? They'd never know.

Foundation - S01E10 - "The Leap"

Also, Demerzel is loyal to the Cleonic Dynasty above all else, not the individuals.


Here is how I understood the show.

Brother Day has absolute authority. He is Empire and the emperor, and that is it. Dawn and Dusk have authority through Day, but on their own have no power. He could end the genetic dynasty or disband the empire tomorrow.

Demerzel is a robotic entity. She functions on her own, and the laws of the empire don't have any magical effect on her.

In her core programming she has 1 directive, protect the Empire.

So what happens?

In really there is no system in place for Dawn and Dusk to exercise power. Dawn may be a child, but Dusk is an ex emperor with huge political say. They are supposed to be the same person and always agree on everything. The people must see the three of them always agree on everything. In that moment in the throne room things go to chaos. Day and Dusk start a fist fight. If anyone seems them that could be the end of Empire. Demerzel does what is needed to end the fight and save what she must protect, she kills Dawn. It's like taking the toy away from two children who have never learned conflict resolution.

She can do what she does because it is for the good of Empire.

After she does it there is no replications, because Day knows what she did was right. He knows he lost control of the situation, and she saved him without him backing down.

Unrelated I think she is the one responsible for the genetic drift. The end of the clone dynasty is for the good of Empire.

We also know the laws of robotics don't apply to her, and most likely to anything in this universe. We have seen her kill on orders, or her own will

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.