Time to go back on the treasure hunt. National Treasure: Edge of History, a television series based on the Nicolas Cage film franchise, is set for Disney+.
The film series centered on Cage’s character Ben Franklin Gates, a member of a family of treasure hunters, as he investigates valuable artifacts from United States history. In the first film, Cage’s Gates steals the Declaration of Independence to decode a map on the back that points to the location of a treasure hidden by the Knights Templar. In the second film, Gates must clear his family name from accusations that their ancestor was involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
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The iconic film franchise is now returning for a new audience, complete with new characters and storylines. Let’s look at everything we know about the National Treasure continuation series. What can we expect from the storyline, and how will it continue the plot of the films? Who are the new cast members joining the franchise, and is star Nicolas Cage back? When can we expect the series to release on Disney+?
Edge of History: The Plot
Not much is known about the plot of the series at this point. Reportedly, producer Jerry Bruckheimer wants the series to follow a similar concept as the films with a new, younger cast. It’s important to note that the series is separate from the third film in development, which would likely feature the same cast members as the previous films.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the series will re-imagine the concept of the films through the lens of the new lead character. Jess Morales is a 20-year-old DREAMer, a recipient of undocumented immigrant protection through the United States’s DACA policy. Jess’s unique cultural background will likely give her a different view on what makes an artifact valuable, as the idea of what is valuable varies from culture to culture.
The show will explore themes of “identity, community, and patriotism” as Jess and her friends try to solve the mystery of a Pan-American treasure. The group will also explore who gets to write history, as it is rarely told from the POV of marginalized communities. Jess will also reportedly discover secrets of her family history in the process.
It’s not often that we get to see the cultural values of the United States explored by someone with Jess’s special status. From what we know, it looks like audiences will be able to enjoy a similar theme and plot structure as the films through a new cultural lens.
Edge of History: The Cast
As the series will feature a younger cast, star Nicolas Cage will likely not reprise his role. Perhaps he was too busy carrying that unbearable weight of his massive talent to join the series.
While Cage is not back, we do know the new cast headlining National Treasure: Edge of History. Young actress Lisette Alexis will be playing Jess Morales, the resourceful series lead. Alexis is joined by Catherine Zeta-Jones, as Billie Pearce. Billie is a billionaire and antiquities expert who wants the Pan-American treasure all to herself. However, it is not all about the money, as the treasure has a secret deeper meaning to Billie.
Parenthood’s Lyndon Smith is FBI Agent Ross, who was at the top of her field until a career-ending mistake. She sees assisting Jess in locating the treasure as her way to prove herself as an agent again. Zuri Reed of Flatbush Misdemeanors is Jess’s best friend, Tasha. A social media personality, Tasha uses her platform to fight against corruption and big corporations. However, she must reevaluate her priorities when on the hunt with Jess. Light as a Feather star Jordan Rodrigues is Ethan, another close friend of Jess. A strict rule follower, Ethan has to learn to relax if he is going to be valuable on the hunt.
Antonio Cipriano of Jagged Little Pill is Oren, who is in love with Tasha and possesses a vast knowledge of everything from conspiracy theories to sneakers. Stargirl star Jake Austin Walker is struggling musician, Liam. Descended from a long line of treasure hunters, he is drawn to Jess’s mission as it could help him fulfill the treasure-hunting dreams of his late father.
The newcomers will be joined by some familiar faces from the films. Justin Bartha’s Riley Poole, a computer expert and friend of Ben Gates, will appear in a guest role. Harvey Keitel’s FBI agent Peter Sadusky will also return in some capacity.
It is expected that additional casting announcements will follow in the coming weeks and months.
Currently, there is no set release date for the series, though filming for the series began in February 2022. Given the typical turnaround time from production to post-production, it is reasonable to project a premiere date of late 2022 or early 2023. Depending on the state of the third film, Disney+ may wait to release the series to tie it in with the new movie.
However, given how uncertain the status of the third film is, that strategy seems unlikely. Maybe Ben Gates should make his next mission finding out where the elusive third film disappeared.