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Who is The Mule in Foundation? Season 3 villain explained

Foundation is one of the best TV series on Apple TV and, as we prepare for Foundation season 3, we need to learn more about its dangerous villain, The Mule.

Mikael Persbrandt as The Mule in Apple TV's adaptation of Foundation

Who is The Mule in Foundation? The second season of Foundation is only just in the books, but we’re already looking ahead to season 3. We don’t know a lot about the new run, but we do know that it’s time to start being terrified of The Mule.

Foundation fans will already be familiar with the specter of The Mule, who we’ve caught a few glimpses of already throughout one of the best TV series on Apple TV Plus. He’s played by Mikael Persbrandt from Sex Education and he’s chilling enough to give even the best movie villains a run for their money.

But who is The Mule, and can we learn anything about him from the Isaac Asimov source material? We want to know more about arguably the best sci-fi series around before the Foundation season 3 release date, and that definitely includes The Mule.

The Mule backstory explained

In the Asimov stories, The Mule is a powerful mutant who rises as a threat against the Foundation. He ultimately seizes power over the First Foundation and aims to target the secretive Second Foundation next.

The Mule threatens Gaal Dornick in Foundation

Of course, the version of Foundation on TV has often diverged dramatically from the world created by Asimov. But on the page, The Mule is a deadly threat to the success of Seldon’s plan. He first appeared in the second book, Foundation and Empire, and promptly waged war against the ascendant Foundation. Ultimately, he was bested by the Second Foundation, and they were able to modify his mind.

Perhaps most intriguingly, The Mule is something of a spanner in the works when it comes to psychohistory. Hari Seldon’s plan hinged on the fairly consistent predictability of human emotions, which is all well and good until The Mule starts using his powers to manipulate them.

The Mule was persecuted as a mutant and an aberration. He gave himself that nickname as a reference to his genetic sterility and also disguised himself as a clown at one stage. There’s a lot going on.

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The Mule in Foundation explained

The Mule first showed up in Foundation season 2 in a vision of the future by Gaal Dornick. He appears to be fighting a war against Gaal and the Second Foundation, made up of Mentalics.

His appearances have been broadly consistent with Asimov thus far, though it seems the show’s version of The Mule will be more focused on the Second Foundation than the Foundation that survived the destruction of Terminus. His crosshairs are squarely aimed at Gaal and the Mentalics, who share many of The Mule’s mental abilities.

In Gaal’s visions, The Mule was responsible for the death of Salvor Hardin. But in the show, we’ve already seen Salvor die at the hands of a possessed Mentalic. The Mule is a nightmare for psychohistory, and the show has preserved that idea.

While we wait for The Mule, take a look at our Foundation season 2 episode 10 recap and our guide to everyone who dies in Foundation season 2 episode 10. You can also find out why this Asimov book change improved Foundation and learn why we think Foundation season 2 made meaningless death meaningful.

Elsewhere, learn more about another of the best Apple TV shows as we look ahead to the For All Mankind season 4 release date.