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Jon Turteltaub explains that glaring absence of a third National Treasure

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Jul 31, 2018, 10:15 PM EDT

Every genre franchise in Hollywood needs at least a third movie to comfortably wrap things up in a nice trilogy bow. Think about it: Star Wars (x3), Lord of the RingsBack to the Future, and even Toy Story for cryin' out loud. So, where is National Treasure 3?! 

The two Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Nicolas Cage vehicles were a perfect blend of Indiana Jones-sensibility and high school AP American History (albeit sometimes of an apocryphal sort), but they were damn entertaining. Exploring the United States through the lens of secret societies and long-hidden treasures proved to be a fascinating foundation on which to nurture a film series, so why did it stop at only two?

While speaking to Collider, National Treasure director Jon Turtletaub (currently promoting The Meg) explained the reason behind the glaring absence of a third installment, where Nic Cage steals a priceless American artifact while fighting off a band of mercenaries and evading the FBI, led by Harvey Keitel.

“When National Treasure first got made, there was a lot more money to go around. Everybody got paid nicely," he said. "The problem with getting the third one made isn’t the people who are getting paid saying, ‘I’m not doing it unless you pay me a lot!’ It’s really that Disney feels they have other films they want to make that they think will make them more money.”

Not that Turtletaub  agrees with that. “I think they’re wrong. I think they’re right about the movies they’re making; they’re obviously doing a really good job at making great films. I just think this would be one of them, and they don’t quite realize how much the internet is begging for a third National Treasure," said the director.

The worst part of it all is that a script was in the works, but Disney didn't foster it enough, Turtletaub added. A real shame when you think about it, because Book of Secrets set up a sequel perfectly with whatever the heck was on Page 47 of the President's Book of Secrets. And at this stage, it's not too late to bring back Cage, Keitel, Jon Voight, Diane Kruger, and Justin Bartha for one last American hurrah. 

Let Trevor Rabin's epic theme from the first two films give us hope.