Nicolas Cage and Jerry Bruckheimer's conflicting reports make it unsure if National Treasure 3 is really coming

Jerry Bruckheimer and Nicolas Cage are giving conflicting reports on if National Treasure 3 is happening. Is a sequel really coming or not?
"National Treasure" Japan Premiere
"National Treasure" Japan Premiere / Junko Kimura/GettyImages

Is National Treasure 3 finally getting underway? It seems that producer Jerry Bruckheimer and star Nicolas Cage have very different views on it. Here's what we know of the long-gestating sequel!

Nicolas Cage has seen more than his share of ups and downs in Hollywood, morphing from an Oscar-winning actor to starring in scores of action movies and some films that just make you scratch your head. Yet Cage retains a huge following, always giving his all, no matter the project, to become a beloved actor. 

On the hit side of Cage's resume is 2004's National Treasure. The movie was notable for its wild plot, with Cage playing Benjamin Franklin Gates, a historian convinced of a fabled treasure hidden around the time of America's founding by the Freemasons. His quest leads to him deducing a map is on the back of a certain document, leading to the now iconic line, "I'm gonna steal the Declaration of Independence." 

Maybe it was that line or a good November release date or the good reviews and word of mouth but the movie ended up outdoing expectations, grossing $347 million worldwide. It spawned a 2007 sequel Book of Secrets that seemed to start a new franchise.

That never quite happened, likely due to Cage's busy schedule. Disney did revive the property for the Disney+ series National Treasure: Edge of History, which was canceled after one season and had only limited links to the movies. 

Since then, there's been on and off reports of a new film but now conflicting accounts make a third entry uncertain.

Is National Treasure 3 happening or not?

There have been reports since 2020 of Disney wanting a third movie, with Chris Bremmer writing but in early March of 2024, speaking to Screen Rant, Cage flat out said it was not happening.

"Here we go! See, you're the one that brings these things up and they go out and they eclipse everything else. No, there is no National Treasure 3. If you want to find treasure, don't look at Disney, okay? It's not there."

That seemed to be the end of it, but just a week later, Jerry Bruckheimer spoke to Movie Web about his various upcoming projects and gave a much different take. 

"Well, we hope there's a National Treasure 3 . We've been working on it for quite a while. We have a brilliant writer working on it right now, so hopefully, if we get a script in a timely fashion, we'll send it to Nic [Cage] and, if he likes it, we'll make another one. We certainly would like to."

This seems to indicate that Bruckheimer wants this to happen even if Cage seems uncertain. It's possible Cage is being coy about going back to the role either as a negotiation tactic or just keeping fans off balance as he's loved to do throughout his career. It's also possible Bruckheimer is being careful crafting a story that uses Franklin's character or perhaps creates a new one in case Cage turns it down.

There's also the shakeup occurring at Walt Disney Pictures with a new studio head probably more careful green-lighting big-budget films. With rumors of some projects being canceled, it's possible a new National Treasure could be put on the backburner.

This comes after Bruckheimer announced the planned Pirates of the Caribbean 6 will be a reboot of the franchise. It's possible Disney might try the same with a new lead character for National Treasure 3. 

That would be tricky, as Cage's quirky performance was a reason the original movie worked in the first place. Disney would surely offer Cage a pretty big payday to get him to resign, yet it's uncertain if the actor will agree. He seemed to like the part but is also enjoying a late-career resurgence, so unlikely he'd return to a past franchise. Then again, it's impossible to predict what kind of movies Cage is going to agree to, so there's always a chance for this. 

As it stands right now, National Treasure 3 is still in the planning stages, yet the hope is that Cage agrees to another wild adventure to continue this underrated action franchise.

National Treasure streaming on Disney+.