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National Treasure 3 Writer, Development Details And More

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In 2004, Walt Disney Pictures released "National Treasure," a historical action-mystery film that's still a fun watch all these years later. The movie stars Nicolas Cage as historian and treasure hunter Ben Gates, a man who's been searching for a hidden trove of Templar gold for most of his adult life. Aided by his best friend Riley (Justin Bartha), romantic interest Abigail (Diane Kruger), and father Patrick (Jon Voight), Ben uses clues from U.S. history to track down the treasure, and in the process, he sets up an entire franchise of successful films.

Well ... that's what should've happened, anyway. But after the first "National Treasure" hit theaters, we only got one cinematic sequel, 2007's "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets," and the Disney+ series "National Treasure: Edge of History." Given its strong premise — who doesn't like historians hunting for hidden loot? — it sure seems like we should've gotten more "National Treasure" properties by this point. In fact, a third film has long been in development. So where is it exactly? Well, get ready to brush off some dusty documents, crack a few codes, and possibly steal some well-guarded artifacts as we discuss everything you need to know about "National Treasure 3."

When will National Treasure 3 be released?

Just like Ben Gates has dedicated his life to solving history's greatest riddles, we've spent quite a few years wondering why the heck we haven't seen "National Treasure 3" yet. Word of a threequel broke all the way back in 2009, so what's the hold-up?

Well, in July 2018, original "National Treasure" director Jon Turtletaub shed some light on the issue, telling Collider it all comes down to cash. "It's really that Disney feels they have other films they want to make that they think will make more money," Turtletaub said. "I think they're wrong. ... They don't quite realize how much the internet is begging for a third 'National Treasure.'"

However, things majorly started moving in the right direction during 2020, when a screenwriter was brought aboard to pen a new script. Things got even more exciting in December 2022, when producer Jerry Bruckheimer discussed the Disney+ "Edge of History" series. During his conversation with E! News, the Hollywood powerhouse was discussing how they were super psyched about the TV show, but he also mentioned, "At the same time [we were casting 'Edge of History'], we were developing 'National Treasure' for the theaters with Nicolas Cage — which we still are. So that's ongoing."

That right there is enough to inspire anyone who may have given up hope of ever seeing Benjamin Gates on the big screen. Fingers crossed that more positive developments are headed our way soon.

What is the plot of National Treasure?

At this stage in the game, we don't know what the third "National Treasure" will be about. However, fans of the franchise want the series to delve deeper into the president's "Book of Secrets" — specifically, page 47. In the sequel film, it's implied there's something very mysterious about that particular page, although we never learn what it holds. However, in the Disney+ series "Edge of History," Justin Bartha makes an appearance as treasure hunter Riley Poole, and he drops a hint about what might happen next.

"Ben and I have been working on this super important thing for the last three, four, 15 years," he tells the series' young group of adventurers. "Let's just say, there's 47 reasons to be interested." Obviously, that sounds like a clear set-up for the third film ... although we're not sure the movie will actually go that route. Speaking with Variety in December 2022, Bartha explained the motivation for that line, saying, "The page 47 reference was something that I threw in there when we were filming. I just had to."

So yeah, it was all bit of improvisation, but hopefully the "National Treasure 3" filmmakers will take a nod from the Disney+ series and finally solve this 15-year-old mystery.

Who is writing National Treasure?

At this moment, there's no director attached to "National Treasure 3," and no actors have signed onto the project. However, we do know who wrote the most recent screenplay.

In January 2020, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Chris Bremner was penning the script for the upcoming adventure film. Bremner is a rising screenwriter who already has a couple of credits to his name. While he did write the critically maligned "The Man from Toronto," he was also the scribe for "Bad Boys for Life," which received praise from both critics and audiences. Bremner also wrote the script for the untitled "Bad Boys 4," so the man is keeping busy.

As for Bremner's progress, producer Jerry Bruckheimer spoke to ComicBook.com in August 2022, saying that they're waiting for Nicolas Cage to look over the script and give it the go-ahead. Here's hoping the screenplay meets Cage's approval because we want to see the A-lister back on the big screen, exploring tunnels, solving puzzles, and snatching some highly prized documents.

Where to watch the previous National Treasure adventures

While we're waiting for "National Treasure 3," it might be a good idea to go back and binge all the previous treasure-hunting adventures. The series kicks off with 2004's "National Treasure," where Ben Gates finds himself up against a ruthless criminal and the FBI in the hunt for a massive cache of gold. And in the process, he has to break into the National Archives and steal the Declaration of Independence. Yeah, the film gets pretty crazy, and you can stream "National Treasure" on Disney+, or you can rent it for about $3.99 on sites like Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.

2007's "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" finds Benjamin Gates out to clear his family's name when his ancestor is linked to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The quest will pit him against a ruthless black market dealer and send him on a quest to find the fabled city of Cibola. It might also set up a third film with the appearance of the president's titular book. You can stream the sequel on Disney+, or you can rent it for $3.99 on Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.

Then, you'll want to check out the Disney+ series, "National Treasure: Edge of History." While the show does feature the return of Justin Bartha's Riley Poole and Harvey Keitel's Agent Sadusky, it mostly focuses on a brand new cast of characters led by Jess Valenzuela (Lisette Olivera), a young woman trying to find a Meso-American treasure before an unscrupulous antiquities dealer can get her hands on it. You can stream the series on Disney+.