Disney has given the green light to reboot the National Treasure movie franchise into a TV series that will star a Hispanic female DREAMer, who will explore “historical authorship and identity.”
National Treasure, starring Nicholas Cage, spawned two hit films in 2004 and 2007, and a third film has been long-gestating. But now Disney has taken the concept in a new direction with an upcoming series destined for its streaming service, Disney+, according to Deadline.
The new series will feature lead character Jess Morales — a 21-year-old immigrant, ostensibly part of President Barack Obama’s DREAMer program — who will lead a “diverse group of friends” to search out her family history.
According to Deadline, the series description says the show will explore “the timely issues of identity, community, historical authorship and patriotism, told from the point of view of Jess Morales, 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.”
Original writers Marianne and Cormac Wibberley will produce along with Jerry Bruckheimer Television and ABC Signature.
The original films, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by John Turtletaub, starred Nicholas Cage as Benjamin Gates, Justin Bartha, Jon Voight, and Diane Kruger, who went all the way back to the founding of the United States. Gates was a swashbuckling history professor known for recovering obscure historical artifacts connected to American history.
The first film, released in 2004, was a hit quickly earning back its $100 million budget on opening weekend. And a second film, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, released in 2007, far outperformed its predecessor.
The two films generally took an apolitical approach to American history, leaving patriotism and American principles assumed. By contrast, with its description, the new series seems prepared to explore contemporary politics.
The new series seems part of Hollywood’s drive to feature minorities replacing traditionally white characters in a bid for diversity. Major Hollywood studios and streaming services recently joined the diversity initiative spearheaded by Selma filmmaker Ava DuVernay to promote women and ethnic minority as writers, actors, and crew members for TV and movie production jobs.
Producers of the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, for instance, recently celebrated that its writer’s room was nearly “all-black.”
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