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The National Treasure Disney+ Series Just Found Its New Lead

The new series adaptation of the blockbuster "National Treasure" movie franchise has cast its lead — and it's not Nicolas Cage. No, the Oscar-winning actor, who played Benjamin Franklin Gates in the 2004 original film and its 2007 sequel, has not been announced (at least, not yet) as a cast member on the Disney+ spin-off, although franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer has said Cage will return for the long-in-development "National Treasure 3." The new "National Treasure" will be the latest series Disney+ has launched based on decades-old content, following shows such as "Turner & Hooch," "The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers," and the upcoming "Willow."

The streamer officially ordered the 10-episode "National Treasure" TV series in March, 2021, announcing that the project will be written by the movie's original screenwriters, Marianne and Cormac Wibberley, along with "Suits" scribe Rick Muirragui, while director Mira Nair ("Queen of Katwe," "Amelia") will take the reins from the movies' original director, Jon Turteltaub. Like Bruckheimer, Turteltaub retains an EP credit on the show. With all that behind the scenes talent returning, fans can rest assured the new take on "National Treasure" could capture the same spirit as the movies that started it all, despite the notable absence of Nicolas Cage.

Replacing him is a relative newcomer, who likely won't be familiar to too many franchise fans.

Newcomer Lisette Alexis will be the adventurer leading the National Treasure spin-off series

Winning the coveted lead role on the new "National Treasure" series is newcomer Lisette Alexis. Her online résumé is sparse, including roles in the 2021 horror film "We Need to Do Something" and the online series "Total Eclipse," but she's about to become very well known as the fresh face at the center of the Disney+ spin-off of the blockbuster film franchise. 

According to Deadline, Alexis will play Jess, "a Latina whose brilliant and resourceful mind loves a good mystery," and who possesses "a natural talent for solving puzzles." That skill should come in handy as Jess "embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to uncover the truth about the past and save a lost Pan-American treasure."

Adding depth to the story is the fact that Jess is a DREAMer — the name given to people who were brought to the U.S. as children and raised in America, but lack citizenship status. According to Deadline, "Over the course of the show, Jess will uncover her own buried history, as well as the truth about her parents and her connection to a long-lost treasure."

The new character's personal journey adds an added dimension to the "National Treasure" formula, which is decidedly apolitical despite dealing with several American cultural totems like the Declaration of Independence. Will the Disney+ version of "National Treasure" retain the campy, silly fun of the movies, or chart its own course? Fans will have to wait a little while to find out — Deadline reports that the show begins shooting early in 2022.