‘National Treasure’: Here’s Why Nic Cage Is Absent From the TV Series

by Lauren Boisvert

With news that Harvey Keitel and Justin Bartha will return to the “National Treasure” franchise, fans were left bereft when no news of Nicolas Cage’s return was made. Cage will not reprise his role as Ben Gates in the treasure hunting series based on the popular early 2000s films.

The cast of “National Treasure: Edge of History” recently spoke at San Diego Comic Con, where the first teaser trailer was revealed. The panel included actors Lisette Olivera, Zuri Reed, Antonio Cipriano, Jordan Rodrigues, Jake Austin Walker, Lyndon Smith, and executive producers Cormac and Marianne Wibberley.

When asked why Nicolas Cage wasn’t in the series, Marianne Wibberley replied, “We wanted him to come, but he’s very busy.” This line of questioning seems to be a bit uncomfortable for the cast and producers, judging by Wibberley’s awkward tone of voice and the cast’s attempts to distract from the question.

Lisette Olivera chimed in though, commenting on Cage’s love for the franchise. “He speaks so highly of the franchise, and obviously he loves it,” she said. “So maybe one day he’ll come and join us on the adventures. “But,” she continued, “he’s very present in the series as well. So, we won’t miss out on him.”

‘Edge of History’ Will Be a Continuation of the Franchise

Executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who also produced the “National Treasure” films, says that the Disney+ series is set to continue the story of the franchise, just with a new cast of characters. He commented that it’s “the same concept but a young cast.” With the inclusion of Harvey Keitel as FBI agent Peter Sadusky and Justin Bartha as tech wizard Riley Poole, there’s definitely a link to the films.

It seems like Disney is falling into a pattern that a lot of old franchises do. It’s rebooting an existing idea, and bringing back familiar faces to draw in original fans. “CSI: Vegas” did it with Sara and Grissom, and the inclusion of Sadusky and Riley will definitely bring in the Millennial viewers. We grew up on “National Treasure,” after all. I still have my ticket stub from 2004.

All nostalgia aside, remaking “National Treasure” without Nicolas Cage is a big move for Disney. They may have asked him, and he may have said no. Or, they just didn’t include him. Either way, it’s going to be very different seeing Riley and Sadusky on the show without Ben Gates and Abigail Chase.

What About ‘National Treasure 3’?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “National Treasure” definitely did not have to go as hard as it did, but it did, and I feel like we’re better as a society because those movies exist. Well, maybe not, but they have a cherished place in the hearts of many 30-somethings. So, it’s about time we get “National Treasure 3,” right?

Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed recently that he’s still working on “National Treasure 3” with Nicolas Cage. “Absolutely,” he replied on Reddit when asked if “National Treasure 3” was still a thing. “I love Nicolas. He’s a brilliant actor and we are currently working on a script for ‘National Treasure.’”