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Justin Bartha Returns To ‘National Treasure’ Franchise, Will Reprise Original Role In Disney+ Series

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It appears that Disney’s upcoming National Treasure series will be connected to the original films after all, as it was announced today that original franchise star Justin Bartha has joined the production.

The company put out a press release this afternoon confirming his casting.

Bartha will reprise the role of Riley Poole, who notably acted as Nicolas Cage’s sidekick in the first two films. In a tweet also announcing the actor’s involvement, it was revealed that Bartha would act as a “treasure protector” in the series.

The news comes just weeks after Nicolas Cage predicted that the new series would not be connected to his films and that Disney had seemingly lost interest in doing a third film. With Bartha onboard now, however, it looks like there may be plans after all to build up to a National Treasure 3. We’ll just have to wait and see!

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Production on the series began in February and, judging how quickly things are moving, it would not be a surprise if the series is finished in time for a premiere on the streaming platform later this year.

The newest installment on the franchise is centered on a young heroine, Jess (Lisette Alexis), a brilliant and resourceful DREAMer who embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to uncover the truth about her family’s mysterious past and save a lost Pan-American treasure. Jess will face off against Billie (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones), a badass billionaire, black-market antiquities expert, and treasure hunter who lives by her own code. She transformed herself from a penniless orphan to a shrewd, stylish businesswoman and adventurer. Billie’s used to getting what she wants—and she wants the Pan-American treasure. But not just for the money. This treasure has deeper stakes for her.

The series also stars Zuri Reed (Flatbush Misdemeanors) as Tasha, Jordan Rodrigues as Ethan (Lady Bird), Antonio Cipriano as Oren (“Jagged Little Pill” on Broadway”), and Jake Austin Walker (Rectify) as Liam – Jess’ friends whom she recruits to help uncover the truth about her parents and their connection to the treasure. Lyndon Smith (Parenthood) stars as FBI Agent Ross who assists in the quest.

Jerry Bruckheimer, Cormac & Marianne Wibberley, Jonathan Littman, and KristieAnne Reed executive produce the series alongside Rick Muirragui, who also serves as a writer. Jon Turteltaub is also an executive producer. Mira Nair is directing and executive producing.

A Disney Branded Television series, National Treasure is produced by ABC Signature, part of Disney Television Studios.