‘National Treasure’ returns: Will the original cast join the TV show?
Remember the news about a National Treasure TV show? We won’t judge you too harshly if you don’t – a lot of crazy stuff happened in 2020, and we haven’t heard about the project since then. Until now, that is. Deadline reports Disney+ has finally greenlit the series, and we’ve got all the deets. Are Nicolas Cage and the rest of the National Treasure cast coming to a Disney+ app near you? Read on to find out!
It’s been a while since the National Treasure franchise gave its cast something to do. National Treasure: Book of Secrets came out in 2007, and that was the last time we saw Nicolas Cage’s Benjamin Gates in action. Cage has expressed interest in making a third movie in the series but, so far, nothing has come of it.
The original National Treasure was a 2004 box office smash. Part Indiana Jones, part DaVinci Code, the movie follows historian Benjamin Gates (the aforementioned Cage) as he follows clues left by the Founding Fathers of the United States leading to . . . well, treasure of the national kind. Gates is joined in his adventures by computer expert Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and Dr. Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger).
Cage, Bartha, and Kruger returned for Book of Secrets a few years later, basically picking up where they left off. The second movie dealt with Gates’s efforts to clear the name of one of his ancestors who’s suddenly being accused of being a conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The film was another box office success, and everyone assumed it wouldn’t be long before we saw the National Treasure cast together again.
Surprisingly, the National Treasure TV show will leave the saga of Benjamin Gates behind and focus instead on the adventures of Jess Morales. Deadline described the new protagonist as “a twenty-year-old DREAMer who, with her diverse group of friends, sets off on the adventure of a lifetime to uncover her mysterious family history and recover lost treasure.”
Marianne & Cormac Wibberley, the writers of the original franchise, are also responsible for the Disney+ reimagining, along with director Mira Nair and backed by the movies’ producer, Jerry Bruckheimer. Deadline said the show “explores the timely issues of identity, community, historical authorship and patriotism.” The series has been greenlit with a ten-episode order.
You’re already thinking it, so we might as well say it. How long until someone accuses the new National Treasure and its (so far unannounced) cast of being an attempt from Disney to seem “woke”? Well, stop right there, guys. Let’s try to leave the cynicism at the door, at least until we actually watch the show and see how ‘Murica reacts to it.
Have your Cage and eat it too
Fans of the original National Treasure cast shouldn’t despair just yet. Remember we said Nicolas Cage was interested in making a third movie in the series? Well, that project has been in development since 2008 (they don’t call it development hell for nothin’) and has had a few screenplays written in an attempt to get that elusive green light.
In a 2012 interview with Empire, Cage said he thought it’d be interesting to “take National Treasure into South America.” In 2016, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger told shareholders a third National Treasure hadn’t been greenlit yet, but he knew there had been “time and some resources spent on development.”
More time & resources were spent, and in January 2020 Chris Bremmer (writer of Bad Boys for Life) was tapped to write a new draft of the next National Treasure sequel. In May, Bruckheimer confirmed the movie was being written and he hoped the original National Treasure cast would return for it. See? There’s hope!
How do you feel about National Treasure making the move to TV with a new cast? Can the franchise work without Nicolas Cage or should they have named the show something else? Let us know in the comments!