Justin Bartha To Reprise ‘National Treasure’ Role For Disney+ Series
When Disney announced they would be making a TV show based on fan favorite franchise National Treasure, we were disappointed to hear that Nicolas Cage would not be returning as charismatic treasure hunter Ben Gates, While the Disney+ series is mostly starting fresh, it will now include at least one member from the movie's original trio — Justin Bartha as Ben’s trusty hacker and sidekick Riley Poole.
According to the show’s press release, Bartha will make a guest-starring appearance as Riley. He will join the all-new cast, which is led by Lisette Alexis as a next-generation treasure hunter and DREAMer named Jess. Her friend group consists of best friend Tasha (Zuri Reed), secret admirer Ethan (Jordan Rodrigues), conspiracy theorist Oren (Antonio Cipriano), and legacy treasure hunter-slash-musician Liam (Austin Walker). Catherine Zeta-Jones will play treasure hunter, billionaire, and antiquities expert Billie, while Lyndon Smith is set to portray FBI Agent Ross.
National Treasure and its sequel, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, follow Ben, Riley, and archivist Dr. Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger) as they visit historic American landmarks in search of hidden clues that reveal the location of the country's most sought-after treasure. Ben comes from a family of treasure hunters, which includes his father Patrick (Jon Voight). The second film ends with a cliffhanger (Page 47, anyone?) that made fans hopeful for a third installment, but it seems like Disney is opting for this new series in lieu of National Treasure 3 for now — even though a new film is reportedly still in development.
As to how Riley will fit into the Disney+ show, the answer is still unclear. Perhaps he’ll show up to give some advice to the new team of treasure hunters, or maybe he'll even play one of the newcomers’ parents. Liam’s character description mentions that he comes from a “long line of treasure hunters,” perhaps that means that Riley is his dad? At the very least, Bartha’s involvement in the series should stoke interest in original franchise fans, even if the series is catering more towards newer, younger audiences.
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