Nicolas Cage helped make the National Treasure movies a massive hit at the box office, and fans have been keeping their hopes up that the star would return to the franchise. There had been rumblings of some specific project that would involve Cage’s character, Benjamin Gates, but nothing had been confirmed yet. Now, we have official confirmation that a National Treasure series is happening over at Disney+, but it looks like the franchise’s star won’t be involved in any major capacity.
Deadline reports that a National Treasure series is in active development and that it will be a “reimagining” of the franchise. Nicolas Cage will not be the lead actor and neither will the character of Benjamin Gates. Instead, the lead will be Jess Morales, who according to Deadline is “a twenty-year-old DREAMer who, with her diverse group of friends, sets off on the adventure of a lifetime to uncover her mysterious family history and recover lost treasure.” There is no mention of Nicolas Cage’s involvement in the report and it sounds like he will not be involved in the series. This is a massive announcement that is sure to have a profound effect on the fans of the National Treasure franchise who have been eagerly anticipating the return of Benjamin Gates for at least one more adventure.
It should be said that this does not mean the door isn’t open for some kind of appearance from Benjamin Gates. Disney has learned the power of the post-credits teaser – the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made it an eventuality in all their projects and even The Mandalorian adapted it in order to tease The Book of Boba Fett – and they could be withholding any involvement from Nicolas Cage so that his appearance on the show will be a post-season surprise. But, as far as this initial report is concerned, it sounds like the series will be moving away from him as a major character.
There is definitely a desire to stress a more diverse cast with the lead being a Latina character. Jess Morales sounds like she will be a very different character than Nicolas Cage’s Benjamin Gates. It also looks like the series right be highlighting some very different corners of American history. That definitely sounds exciting from a storytelling perspective and could be a very fun way to scratch the historical itch that many fans get from the National Treasure films. However, the series will have to build up some momentum now that it will have a brand new character as the lead.
We should say that it is possible that Nicolas Cage will return as Benjamin Gates in the long-developed third film in the National Treasure franchise. The report we mentioned earlier said that Disney wanted to develop a streaming series that would act on its own while the third film continued to formulate. This could lead credence to the theory that Cage could appear at the end of the series to help set up the third National Treasure movie. For fans of Benjamin Gates and the film series, we certainly hope that’s the case. If not, it will be intriguing to see just how Jess Morales and this new reimagining of National Treasure will be received by current fans and a new generation.