On this bonus episode of the Capes and Tights Podcast, Justin Soderberg and Taylor Soderberg review and discuss both National Treasure films, plus preview Edge of History series.
The first National Treasure film debuted on November 19, 2004 to the tune of $347.5 million at the box office on a $100 million budget. It was written by Jim Kouf and the Wibberleys, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Jon Turteltaub.
The first filmed starred Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gate, Diane Kruger as Dr. Abigail Chase, Sean Bean as Ian Howe, Justin Bartha as Riley Poole, Jon Voight as Patrick Henry Gates, Harvey Keitel as Agent Peter Sadusky, and Christopher Plummer as John Adams Gates.
Benjamin Franklin Gates is a historian and amateur cryptographer searching for a huge lost treasure of precious metals, jewelry, artwork, statues, and many other historic artifacts accumulated over time, becoming a massive stockpile. All of it was eventually hidden away by American Freemasons during the American Revolutionary War. A coded, unseen map, placed on the back of the Declaration of Independence points to the secret location of this “national treasure”, but Gates is not alone in his quest: Whoever can steal the Declaration, find the map, and decode it first, will discover the greatest treasure ever accumulated in history.
The sequel, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, premiered on December 21, 2007 with an even more successful financial release of $459.2 million on the $130 million budget. Bruckheimer and Turteltaub returned to produce and director respectively while the Wibberleys again penned the screenplay.
Returning was Cage, Kruger, Bartha, Voight, and Keitel. The cast added Ed Harris as Mitchell “Mitch” Wilkinson, Bruce Greenwood as President of the United States, Helen Mirren as Dr. Emily Appleton-Gates, and Ty Burrell as the White House curator.
In Book of Secrets, Benjamin Gates must follow a clue left in John Wilkes Booth’s diary to prove his ancestor’s innocence in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The search involves kidnapping the President and the mysterious Presidential Book of Secrets.
Talk has always been swirling for a third film in the franchise, which is still possible, but Disney announced in March 2021 a new Disney+ series was in development by creators the Wibberleys. In October 2021, Lisette Alexis was cast in the lead role as Jess with the addition of Lyndon Smith, Zuri Reed, Jake Austin Walker, Antonio Cipriano and Jordan Rodrigues to the cast. Catherine Zeta-Jones will join the cast along with Bartha reprising his role from the films.
The title of the series, National Treasure: Edge of History, was revealed at the San Diego Comic-Con 2022. The show will begin streaming on December 14, 2022 with the first two episodes.