Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

National Treasure: Edge Of History - Everything We Know

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

It's been almost 15 years since Benjamin Gates (Nicolas Cage) discovered a lost city of gold at Mt. Rushmore in "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." While there's been word that a third installment might be on the way, no follow-up film has materialized just yet. Fans of the franchise may have wondered what kind of national conspiracy has been preventing another film from seeing the light of day. Now, there's even more "National Treasure" content to enjoy.

"National Treasure: Edge of History" brought all the riddles, adventure, and historical tidbits when it hit Disney+ on December 14, 2022. Granted, this series doesn't star Nicolas Cage, but it does feature a group of rising young stars, returning characters from the "National Treasure" franchise, and an A-list talent who goes up against our history-loving heroes. So what secrets does the series hold? Well, put on a pair of Benjamin Franklin's glasses and get ready to steal some top-secret documents as we break down everything you need to know about "National Treasure: Edge of History."

What is the plot of National Treasure: Edge of History?

The "National Treasure" films followed the resourceful Benjamin Gates as he uses his expertise in American history to solve riddles, discover clues, and avoid getting shot in his search for lost gold. In the first film, Ben and his crew steal the Declaration of Independence to find an underground lair full of Masonic treasure. In the second film, he kidnaps the president and checks out the fabled Book of Secrets to find the lost city of Cibola.

In the Disney+ series, the focus shifts to a new lead character, but all the sleuthing and treasure-hunting remains the same. "Edge of History" tells the tale of Jess Valenzuela, the daughter of a famous treasure hunter who died while trying to find a specific and rare artifact. Now, Jess must find the treasure her father hid years ago, along with the help of her friends as they travel from their home base of Baton Rouge, Louisiana to several significant spots throughout the country, finding clues hidden in various artifacts and buildings.

However, she won't be the only one searching for this mysterious Pan-American treasure. Billie Pearce, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, and her forces are constantly tailing Jess and her gang, trying to get the artifact to sell it on the black market.

Who stars in National Treasure: Edge of History?

"National Treasure: Edge of History" focuses on a much younger group of characters than we've seen in the franchise so far. This band of adventurers is led by Lisette Olivera, who will play Jess Valenzuela. You may have seen Olivera in the horror film "We Need to Do Something" or in the TV series "Total Eclipse." As for Jess, she's described as DREAMer with a knack for solving mysteries and cracking complicated puzzles.

Olivera is joined by Zuri Reed as Tasha (the group's tech expert), Antonio Cipriano as Oren (a guy who's obsessed with conspiracy theories), and Jordan Rodrigues as Ethan (the most rational one of the bunch). Jake Austin Walker will also show up as Agent Ross, a member of the FBI who will help our heroes on their journey (via Nerdist). Two "National Treasure" vets also made their return to the franchise — Harvey Keitel as Peter Sadusky, who encourages Jess on her quest, and Justin Bartha as Riley Poole, who lends his treasure-hunting expertise. Of course, Academy Award winner Zeta-Jones is also on hand as the series' main antagonist Billie.

Who is wrote and directed the National Treasure Disney+ series?

The first two "National Treasure" films were directed by Jon Turteltaub. However, he didn't direct the Disney+ series (although he is an executive producer alongside longtime "National Treasure" producer Jerry Bruckheimer). So who helms this new project?

Directing duties have been split between Mira Nair and Kevin Alejandro. Nair previously directed "Mississippi Masala" (a critically acclaimed romance starring Denzel Washington that was added to the Criterion Collection), "Salaam Bombay!" (which Roger Ebert hailed as one of the 10 best films of 1988), and "Queen of Katwe" (the Disney chess drama starring Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo). As for Kevin Alejandro, you'll probably recognize him for his acting work, as he played Sebastian Blood in "Arrow" and Detective Dan Espinoza in "Lucifer." He also directed four episodes of that devilish series.

As for writing duties, those fell to Cormac and Marianne Wibberley. The Wibberleys are a husband-wife writing duo, and they're actually the creators of the show. They both wrote the scripts for the first two "National Treasure" films, so they're very familiar with this world. With this incredible team behind the scenes, we're sure the mystery of "Edge of History" will be well-worth solving.

Where to watch the previous National Treasure movies

Before you set out on a new quest, it might be a good idea to revisit — or check out for the first time — the previous "National Treasure" movies. With Nicolas Cage's Benjamin Gates as the lead explorer, the first film takes us from the Arctic to the National Archives to Independence Hall, all against the backdrop of the Knights Templar and the Masonic Lodge. The first "National Treasure" film can be streamed on Disney+ or rented for $3.99 on Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.

As for the second installment, "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," that one plays against the backdrop of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, with Ben trying to clear his family's name when his ancestor is linked to the killing. This one takes us to Buckingham Palace (where Ben majorly Cages it up), the Oval Office, and Mount Rushmore, with the fabled city of Cibola looming in the background. "Book of Secrets" can be streamed on Disney+ and rented for $3.99 on Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, YouTube, and Vudu.

What did critics and audiences think about National Treasure: Edge of History?

Unfortunately for "National Treasure" fans, this younger installment hasn't exactly been embraced by fans or critics. Per Rotten Tomatoes, the first reason received a 38% rating from critics alongside a slightly higher 49% from audiences.

Writing for The Daily Beast, critic Nick Schager says that the series "takes its predecessors' historical treasure-hunting adventure and gives it an insufferable tween spin," and Angie Han at The Hollywood Reporter agrees, saying that "'Edge of History's' most fatal affliction... is its total lack of charisma." 

"As absorbing as that story could be, Edge of History struggles to tell it, in favor of advancing and expanding the franchise's now-ancient mythology," writes Variety's Joshua Alston. "It's the rare reboot that could stand to be far less respectful of its source material." Some critics, at least, enjoyed Olivera's lead performance, including David Cote at the AV Club: "Sweetly dignified with glimmers of humor, Olivera is an appealing lead, even if you wished she would develop some of the quirky swagger that helped Nic Cage pull off the foundational films."