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Disney+'s National Treasure series finds Nic Cage's young treasure-hunting replacement
The 'National Franchise' is returning in the form of a Disney+ TV show featuring a brand-new protagonist.
Nicolas Cage is out and Lisette Alexis is in. According to a new report from Deadline, Alexis (Total Eclipse, We Need to Do Something) has bagged the lead role in the highly-anticipated National Treasure television series coming to Disney+.
Inspired by the two films starring Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, and Jon Voight, the 10-episode project is described as "an expansion" of the treasure hunting universe steeped in American mythology.
Alexis is all set to carry on the (literal) torch from Cage's Benjamin Gates as a young new character named Jess. She's "a Latina whose brilliant and resourceful mind loves a good mystery, and she has a natural talent for solving puzzles," reads the description provided by Deadline. "Over the course of the show, Jess will uncover her own buried history, as well as the truth about her parents and her connection to a long-lost treasure."
The folks who helped bring the movies to life — producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Jon Turtletaub, and co-screenwriters Marianne and Cormac Wibberley — are all back as executive producers. Written by the Wibberleys, the pilot episode will be directed by Mira Nair (Queen of Katwe). Production is expected to kick off in early 2022.
Rick Muirragui (also writing), Jonathan Littman, and KristieAnne Reed are executive producers.
The second National Treasure feature, subtitled Book of Secrets, was released into theaters in December of 2007. Despite a global box office gross of just over $459 million, a third entry in the series was never made. For years, fans have clamored for more adventures as well as an explanation of what was on Page 47 in the book of national secrets passed down from president-to-president.
During an interview last fall, Disney production executive Jason Reed admitted that National Treasure stalled out because the studio had difficulty turning the property into a larger franchise beyond its presence on the big screen.
“It never caught on, even though there were a lot of consumer products, it never caught on as an independent franchise," he said. "That makes the numbers look different. It makes it harder to make a company like Disney focus resources on something when they can go make Toy Story or buy a cruise ship. And if the company itself had been really excited about moving forward with it and thought they could blow it out, we would have found a way to make the deal."
Hopefully, the TV series ends up renewing fan interest in a third film, which Bruckheimer still hopes to make one day. For those wondering if we might ever see Cage again, there's been no indication at this point that he's involved in the Disney+ series. But you never know — maybe the answer is on Page 47?