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So Dark the Con of Man: Why You Need to Revisit The Robert Langdon Trilogy

From the depths of Rome to the Louvre and back, Robert Langdon never met a puzzle he couldn't solve.

By Benjamin Bullard & Josh Weiss
A split screen image featuring still images from Angels & Demons (2009); Tom Hanks in Inferno (2016); and The Da Vinci Code (2006)

In the grand tradition of serious-sounding big-screen mysteries that really appeal to the goofy, Scooby-Doo-loving kid in everyone, it’s hard to top Ron Howard's labyrinthine, symbol-laced movies featuring Tom Hanks as the intrepid, antiquity-loving academic Robert Langdon: The Da Vinci Code (streaming here on Peacock!) and its pair of followup films.

Adapted from the bestselling Robert Langdon series of novels from author Dan Brown, there’ve been three films in the franchise to date, though you’ll have to do a bit of back-and-forth streaming to catch them in the same order as the books they’re based on.

The five novels in Brown’s book lineup go from Angels & Demons (2000) to The Da Vinci Code (2003) to The Lost Symbol (2009) to Inferno (2013) to Origin (2017) — and with the exception of Origin, it’s possible to stream a screen adaptation of every single one of them just by dialing up Peacock, where your only big decision is whether to watch them in their actual theatrical release sequence, or skip around and follow the books’ chronology.

RELATED: Cracking the Code: Why The Lost Symbol Went from Tom Hanks Movie to Peacock TV Prequel

The Lost Symbol got its own 2021 Peacock event series (stream it here), after Hanks and Howard had kept things simmering through a decade on the big screen with film treatments of The Da Vinci Code (2006), Angels & Demons (2009), and Inferno (2016). Each project comes with its own distinct flavor to reflect the thematic shifts between Brown’s novels, but there’s a common thread that runs through them all: They each hone in on long-suppressed mysteries, hidden ancient secrets whose global revelation could seismically retcon centuries of historical convention and tradition. Oh, and they’re all chances for Langdon to get embroiled in layers of history-steeped intrigue that might just close a casket lid on both his life and career.

Remembering The Da Vinci Code and the rest of the Robert Langdon film trilogy

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

The movie that introduced Langdon to filmgoers with Hanks in the starring role, The Da Vinci Code teams Langdon with Sophie (Audrey Tautou), a French police cryptologist who’s sitting on a whopper of an unrevealed backstory. Framed for a grisly murder at the Louvre, the duo go on the run, ducking Parisian police while buying time to tug at every thread interwoven into the symbol-laced mystery hatched by a sinister, self-flagellating true believer (Paul Bettany), whose early-movie propensity for leaving da Vinci-esque clues at the scene of the crime tips us off that there’s a deep religious significance to the killing.

Eventually Langdon and Sophie uncover the incredible secret that’s driving their pursuers… but not before crossing fateful paths with a Holy Grail-obsessed historian played by Sir Ian McKellen, who (naturally) steals every scene he’s in. — Stream The Da Vinci Code here on Peacock.

Angels & Demons (2009)

From da Vinci and Paris to Galileo and Rome: Angels & Demons switched settings for the 2009 movie followup to The Da Vinci Code, but Hanks was back to reprise his role as Langdon using the same familiar puzzle-sleuthing formula. Working out riddles on the run, Langdon is joined by CERN researcher Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), the Swiss scientist behind the development of a prized vial of antimatter that — wouldn’t you know it? — has (apparently) been nabbed by the shady Illuminati.

The Vatican drafts the duo into its off-the-books detective service, taking a special interest in keeping antimatter off the streets of Rome — especially since Fr. Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor), an alleged Illuminati operative, is threatening to blow up the place if the selection of a new Pope doesn’t go his way. Using centuries-old clues from Galileo’s work to track down a quartet of papal candidates held hostage in McKenna’s scheme, the pair manages to set things right, with an antimatter-infused fireworks show over Rome serving as their celebratory backdrop. — Stream Angels & Demons here on Peacock.

Inferno (2016)

By the time Inferno arrived in 2016, the Robert Langdon franchise had perfected the formula for loading its villains with the same kind of menace you’d expect from a James Bond film. Ben Foster did the dastardly honors as billionaire madman Bertrand Zobrist, a science-minded Dante aficionado who lays out an elaborate puzzle scheme to conceal a bio-superweapon aptly named “Inferno.” Of course it’s a doozy of a planet-killer, capable of murdering half the world’s population if Langdon and franchise newcomer Felicity Jones (as Dr. Sienna Brooks) can’t decrypt the crazed megalomaniac’s clues in time.

The search takes Langdon and Brooks from Italy to Istanbul, though Hanks’ character learns almost too late that his new traveling companion has a hidden agenda of her own. But he’s gotta save the day, right? After all, there’s still one more Dan Brown book (Origin) waiting in the wings for a hopeful movie adaptation of its own. — Stream Inferno here on Peacock.

Catch all the films in the Robert Langdon series on Peacock, including The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Inferno — then stick around to stream all 10 episodes in the Peacock prequel series The Lost Symbol, where Ashley Zukerman takes over Hanks’ leading role on a risk-filled quest to save Langdon’s longtime mentor.