For many cinephiles, filmmaking peaked in 2004 when Nicolas Cage declared that he was “gonna steal the Declaration of Independence” during the first act of beloved adventure movie “National Treasure.” Since then, a second film, “Book of Secrets,” was released in 2007, and the TV spinoff “Edge of History” premiered this December on Disney+, but the film trilogy has yet to be truly concluded. But Justin Bartha, who memorably played Cage’s tech-savvy sidekick Riley in the original films, still hopes it’s coming.
Bartha guest starred in a recent episode of “Edge of History,” which also features original cast member Harvey Keitel and stars Lisette Oliviera and Catherine Zeta-Jones. In an interview with Variety to discuss his appearance on the show, Bartha said that he thinks the film could happen, especially given the recent successes of Cage and the film’s primary producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
“But listen, there is still hope for another movie,” Bartha said. “Nic is obviously doing great, one of the greatest ever. Jerry just had a big hit with ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ and he is doing great. And the constant drumbeat from the fans for a third movie just makes it a no-brainer for me.”
This year, there were reports that a third film has a script and is in development, which Bartha confirmed, and he said that director Jon Turtletaub, who helmed the first two, is trying to find the perfect story for the next film.
“There is a script. That’s all I’ll say,” Bartha said. “There have been a few different scripts, actually, but the one thing that has to happen is for all the stars to align. I had seen something a while ago, and it was solid, but the unsung hero of these movies that doesn’t get mentioned as much is Jon Turtletaub. Those movies really are an extension of his being. He is very smart and funny, and has a buoyancy to him that mirrors the tone of the movies. I think he has to feel really comfortable and feel like he can see the movie before it happens — and it is getting closer to that.”
In the episode he guested on, Bartha references Cage’s character Ben, saying there are “47” reasons he can’t speak about the treasure hunter’s latest project — a reference to a sequel hook from the second film regarding the mysterious page 47 of John Wilkes Booth’s diary. Bartha explained that he ad-libbed the line during filming, but he does know what’s on page 47.
“The Page 47 reference was something that I threw in there when we were filming. I just had to,” Bartha said. “I know it all but I can’t tell you. You will have to write your local Disney representative and get the movie made to find out.”
“National Treasure: Edge of History” is currently streaming on Disney+.