Of Trump & ‘The Mule’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m getting some traffic on a post I did some time ago comparing Trump to the Isaac Asimov character “The Mule.” I’m assuming that either the Foundation series on Apple+ is going to feature the character. Or a movie is being made using the character. Or maybe someone, somewhere — with a lot more credibility — has also made the comparison, or is about to publish something that does.

But I’ve come to think maybe Trump isn’t The Mule — in strict terms the Seldon Plan would predict that someone like Trump would occur at some point. So, as such, Trump isn’t The Mule.

The Mule destroyed the Plan because he was totally unaccounted for.

But, in general terms, the point of the comparison remains — you could definitely use The Mule as a political allegory for Trump. I say this because only nerds would know something as strict as I do about The Plan and the point of the comparison is there — Trump is very Mule-like.

Trump Is ‘The Mule’ From The Foundation Series



by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


I have repeatedly ranted about this off and on since Trump became president, but the fact remains — the “Network” of the Trump Era is waiting to be made in the guise of “The Mule” portion of The Foundation Saga.

The perfect person to play The Mule, of course, is 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer. If it was a movie and it was written well enough, McBrayer would easily win an Oscar for his performance given what would happen to him at the end of the movie. (Though, I guess you could stretch the whole thing out to at least two movies if you really thought about it.)

Now, I’m well aware that Apple+ is working on adapting The Foundation Saga, so it could be that they effort is ultimately how The Mule will come to be seen by a larger audience. It would be too bad, however, if it wasn’t made into a movie. The Mule is so much like Trump that I think audiences would really love it. It would be an ideal way to address the Trump Era in a non-preachy manner.

But what do I know. No one listens to me.

V-Log: An Entertaining — If Rambling — Monologue About #Writing A #Novel & Other Things

Enjoy.

My Personal Vision For The Plot Of A Star Wars Movie To Save The Franchise

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

First Act

We open to learn that not only is Bubba Fett alive and well, but he has Ray trapped in carbonite. He looks at her frozen body, trapped in eternal agony and adjusts a few dials on her artificial frozen tumb.

Bubba Fett contacts a mysterious new villain whom we only hear the voice of in garbled form. We quickly learn that the First Order is gone now and there’s a new very powerful new super-Jedi like person who is quickly taking over the Galaxy. (LucasArts buys a big chunk of the rights to the Foundation Series from the Isaac Asimov Estate, so the following can happen.)

We learn that someone calling himself The Mule is at the center of this new empire and that he has many of the same abilities of a Jedi, only more so. He mysteriously can change someone’s mind subtly without them even knowing about it.

Inciting Incident

The inciting incident is when Bubba Fett’s ship experiences an unexpected malfunction going through hyperspace and when it comes out, Ray is gone. Ray has vanished somewhere out in the galaxy.

For the rest of the act, we see where the main characters of the new Star Wars films now find themselves as well are introduced to a new cast of cute little characters. I would also introduce a new Luke Skywalker-type dude who would be Ray’s heteronormative boyfriend because….let’s go back to basics folks.

So Neo-Luke wakes up to Ray’s frozen body out in the boonies of the galaxy and that’s the setup of not only a new Star Wars adventure, but long-term love interest for Ray. Maybe our Neo-Luke for some reason was raised by the cute little new characters for some reason. You’re smart, you figure it out.

Anyway, if you’ve finally stolen all the best bits of Foundation legally, you introduce to Star Wars the notion that the Elder Scrolls tell of a plan to bring peace and harmony to the galaxy under the watch of the Force. Or something. Maybe there’s a secret Second Jedi Council or something that watches from the shadows to ensure this plan works. The point of all this is at the end of the first act, the newly re-assembled main characters of the new Star Wars canon go to this site expecting to learn one thing, only to have the evil forces of The Mule capture them. Along the way they meet a goofy Jack McBrayer-type dude who plays a really cool instrument and runs around looking like a hippie. Before they’re attacked by the forces of The Mule, the New Canon Star Wars people learn about the home planet of The Mule and how it might help them defeat him. Meanwhile, our Neo-Luke has fallen in love with the frozen Ray. He makes up all these romantic stories about her and for this dude at the end of the first act, the evil forces of The Mule kill his family (the Star Wars fans go nuts) and his Hero’s journey begins when he barely escapes with the frozen body of Ray in one of those cool Black Imperial X-Wings.

Second Act

This act deals with two seperate things — one one hand the old people of New Star Wars Canon run around looking for The Mule’s home planet, not knowing Ray is still alive. Their goofy new friend cracks jokes and kind of lurks in the background as occasional comic relief. Our Neo-Luke struggles to find not only clues about Ray but the equipment to unfreeze her.

Midpoint

At the midpoint, you figure out a way so these two story lines meet.

The rest of the story is a continued search for the home of The Mule and finally we find it, only to find that Kylo Ren is there waiting for them. Ren is now a student of The Mule and here is where we get the be revel — the goofy Jack McBrayer character is The Mule!

Oh no, all is lost!

Third Act

The Mule is kind enough to unfreeze Ray and Ray uses her super-dooper Jedi powers against The Mule, barely allowing the New Star Wars Canon characters to leave. Maybe she loses and arm along the way.

We see her, in an homage to the end of Empire, getting a new arm, romantically cuddling with Neo-Luke along the way.

The End…for now!

Jack McBrayer IS Foundation’s ‘The Mule’ — A Brief Summary Of The Plot Of A Movie That Would Win Him An Oscar

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The more I think about it, the more it makes total sense that Jack McBrayer could probably win an Oscar if he played The Mule character as written about in The Foundation series.

The Mule in the series is introduced as something of a goof. Only later do we learn who he really is and the power that he has. So, if I was writing the screenplay for Jack McBrayer, I would break it down like this:

Act I

We introduce The Plan and how it’s supposed to save humanity from 10,000 years of darkness. We introduce the four (if I remember correctly) people who will ultimate race around the galaxy looking for The Mule’s home planet. (I’m too lazy to look the plot of the novels up and this just gives you a general sense of what to do with it, anyway.) At the end of the first act, The Mule’s forces storm Terminous and we’re kicked into the second act’s special world.

Act II

In this act, our four core group of people race around the galaxy, hoping to understand The Mule and as such bring him down. Lots of cool shit happens and we’re introduce to the world of The Foundation (which, of course, unfortunately Star Wars stole huge chunks from.)

At the end of this act, we learn who The Mule is and “all is lost.”

Act III

In this act, we see the Oscar-winning aspect of The Mule character for Jack McBrayer. All along he’s been this goofy-happy guy and in the last act the audience learns he’s actually really evil. And, what’s more, you have the Trump allegory in there as well (if you read exactly what I’m summarizing.)

We have our climax, The Mule is defeated and we leave the door open for a sequel.

Idle Mulling ‘The Mule’ Portion of ‘Foundation’ As A Movie Allegory About Trump

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’ve talked about this before and, as usual, no one paid me any attention. But I write this more for my own benefit than anyone else’s. There is a movie to be made about Trump in the most unlikely of places: the long forgotten Foundation saga of books by Isaac Asimov. The books heavily influenced Star Wars, so such an extent that adapting them might be nearly impossible. People would take one look at any such movie and scoff, saying it was a “rip off” of Star Wars when, in fact, the opposite is the truth.

And as far as I know, Foundation is in “development hell” somewhere in the bowels of HBO.

Having said all that, it is interesting that if you look at The Mule portion of the saga, you could probably produce a pretty epic movie. Like, under the right stewardship, you could not only produce a biting allegory of the Trump era, but use it as a jump start of a movie adaptation of the entire great Foundation Universe. It would be really, really cool. A huge amount of money is to be made if someone would just get their head out of their butt and do something with it.

I say all of this because of what happens with The Mule. In the series, The Mule is described as this annoying, comical character who everyone assumes is a fool until the very end when we discover he’s been slowly taking over the galaxy using his super special mental abilities. He’s call The Mule, because, duh, he can’t have children. But there are some pretty great scenes I can imagine in my head.

The whole thing would be amazingly great. You see, as I recall, you have four people zooming around the galaxy looking for information on The Mule, or somesuch. You have an older professor type, two young people and this weird annoying guy (who of course we learn is The Mule.) So, in my fevered imagination, you get a really great director with a very unique world view, an auteur, if you will, to create this universe. I suggest this only because if you get just a generic hack to make this movie, they’re probably just going to copy Star Wars and the whole thing will be moot.

But if you got a well known auteur, like Ridley Scott or even, say, Wes Anderson or Spike Jonze or Quentin Tarantino, to direct this movie something magical could happen. For the professor, who I just remember for saying “Great Galaxies!” a lot, I would get a well known older actor. Maybe Gary Oldman? For the two young people, I would suggest Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown. Casting The Mule is tougher. You need someone who could be the comic relief for most of the film, only to turn on a dime to a dark, sinister character who would become iconic.

There are a few people I could think of. Jack Black, maybe? Someone like him. Even Dave Chappelle might do the trick. But with the right writer and director, the character of The Mule could be quite meaty. Character defining. Add to this what a devastating indictment of Trump this movie could be, it would be one of the best movies of the decade if you did it right.

It seems obvious that the key to making a successful Foundation movie is it has to be different than Star Wars. It needs to be more adult. It wouldn’t be about selling toys to little kids, it would be about making adults think about the world they live in. Anyway, all of this is just me mulling an interesting concept. It’s not like I have a script of even the rights to the Foundation series. I guess this has to do more with my frustration with this storytelling goldmine just sitting there in plain sight and no one doing anything with it.

What is amusing is there are plenty of people who grew up reading the Foundation books who would love to see a Foundation movie. You’d tap into an unexpected fan base, I guess is what I’m saying. But no one listens to me. But it is definitely fun to write about.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va.

Jesus, Hollywood, Wake Up: Donald Trump Is ‘The Mule’


By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

As anyone with some knowledge about The Foundation Saga will tell you: Donald Trump is The Mule.

Let’s review exactly why this is the case. According to Wikipedia:

The Mule is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.[1] One of the greatest conquerors the galaxy has ever seen, he is a mentalic who has the ability to reach into the minds of others and “adjust” their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause. Not direct mind-control per se, it is a subtle influence of the subconscious; individuals under the Mule’s influence behave otherwise normally – logic, memories, and personality intact. This gives the Mule the capacity to disrupt Seldon’s plan by invalidating Seldon’s assumption that no single individual could have a measurable effect on galactic socio-historical trends on their own, due to the plan relying on the predictability of the actions of very large numbers of people.

In the Foundation universe, there is the notion that Hari Sheldon came up with something called The Sheldon Plan that predicted a way through which what would otherwise have been 10,000 years of darkness after the fall of the Galactic Empire could be reduced to 1,000 through the use of two Foundations.

Now, as told in The Foundation Saga, The Mule is a comic character who has the ability to subtly influence people’s minds. He is a threat to the Foundation and the Shelton Plan because he disrupts the Sheldon Plan’s basic notion that no one person can disrupt history significantly.

In my reading of all of this, the American Constitution is analogous to The Sheldon Plan. One of the interesting plot points of the novel’s universe is that a hologram of Sheldon pops out at crucial junctures in the plan’s progression to reaffirm its success. So, in my imagination, it’s kind of like if James Madison was to pop out steampunk style every four years and tell us, in general terms, who had just won the presidential election and why.

There’s a scene where Sheldon does this and everything is out of whack because of The Mule. It seems as though if you know anything about The Foundation Saga that the similarity between Donald Trump and The Mule is painfully obvious. In the context of fictional Foundation history and real American history, the two characters are almost completely identical.

If someone in Hollywood doesn’t have the wherewithal to do something with this obvious comparison, I give up on the whole industry. A great screenwriter and director could do something really, really powerful with The Mule in the context of Trumplandia. I struggle to understand why no one in Hollywood has yet to notice this and begin production on a movie or even a TV series that addresses this point. I know that HBO, was, at some point in the recent past supposed to be working on something like what I suggest, but I haven’t heard anymore about it.

I, personally, can’t do anything about it because I don’t have the rights to the book and even if I did, I know my limits and I’m struggling to write a novel about the zany nature of Trump’s era. A screenplay would definitely, at this point, be a bridge too far.

But we’ll see, I guess. It still find myself waiting for all the great art to come out of the Trumplandia era. It will happen, eventually, of course. I just worry it may be too late.

More on this subject.

By Shelt Garner

The more I think about it, the more it makes total sense that Jack McBrayer could probably win an Oscar if he played The Mule character as written about in The Foundation series.

The Mule in the series is introduced as something of a goof. Only later do we learn who he really is and the power that he has. So, if I was writing the screenplay for Jack McBrayer, I would break it down like this:

Act I

We introduce The Plan and how it’s supposed to save humanity from 10,000 years of darkness. We introduce the four (if I remember correctly) people who will ultimate race around the galaxy looking for The Mule’s home planet. (I’m too lazy to look the plot of the novels up and this just gives you a general sense of what to do with it, anyway.) At the end of the first act, The Mule’s forces storm Terminous and we’re kicked into the second act’s special world.

Act II

In this act, our four core group of people race around the galaxy, hoping to understand The Mule and as such bring him down. Lots of cool shit happens and we’re introduce to the world of The Foundation (which, of course, unfortunately Star Wars stole huge chunks from.)

At the end of this act, we learn who The Mule is and “all is lost.”

Act III

In this act, we see the Oscar-winning aspect of The Mule character for Jack McBrayer. All along he’s been this goofy-happy guy and in the last act the audience learns he’s actually really evil. And, what’s more, you have the Trump allegory in there as well (if you read exactly what I’m summarizing.)

We have our climax, The Mule is defeated and we leave the door open for a sequel.

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation & ‘The Mule’ As A Metaphor For Trumplandia

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It is eerie how quiet the movie industry has been when it comes to producing metaphor’s for Trumplandia. It’s weird that no major movie — that I know of — is now in production that is supposed to be the Apocalypse Now of the rule of Trump.

Maybe one is in production right now and I just don’t know about it.

But I would like to gently suggestion that of all the stuff out there for potential creative strip mining there remains one motherload left untouched by the movie industry: The Foundation Saga. Specifically, I am thinking of the subset of the Foundation Saga known as The Mule.

The reason why The Mule is perfect to be turned into a movie is it deals with a comic character who turns out to be the villain. In short, The Mule completely destroys the presumed course of history and I think that would resonate with audiences.

I have heard that at one point HBO was working on turning The Foundation Saga into a TV series similar to Game Of Thrones, but I have not heard any more about it recently.

It’s not like I could do anything about this given that I am not very adept at writing screenplays and I definitely don’t own the rights to any part of the series. So, for the time being, this will be just an idle daydream.

But it would be a shame if nothing came of this.