Disney+'s National Treasure Just Landed A Heavy Hitter, And I’m Particularly Pumped

Streaming platforms like Disney+ are perfect places to revive brands like the long-dormant, but still beloved, National Treasure franchise. As part of the two-pronged strategy that plans to bring the Nicolas Cage treasure hunting action saga back to life, a streaming series has been in the works to help kick off the episodic side of things. Now that this project has just landed a heavy hitter in its cast, with Catherine Zeta-Jones joining the adventure, I’m particularly pumped to see where this new expansion could go. 

Who Is Catherine Zeta-Jones Playing In Disney+'s National Treasure?

Make no mistake, the Disney+ series is even labeled as such in the most recent announcement, which unveiled Catherine Zeta-Jones as the latest cast member to board the project. As a National Treasure fan, any new project that helps keep the franchise going was bound to get me excited. Casting Ms. Zeta-Jones only acts as a key to further excitement, as she feels like someone who absolutely should be a part of this franchise. Who wouldn't be able to picture her taking on the following character description in the best of ways?

Zeta-Jones will portray Billie, 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.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is finally going to be in a Disney franchise that seems like it should have already been on her resume. After movies like Entrapment and The Mask of Zorro, thievery and cunning are qualities that we’ve seen her characters engage in time and again. In a well-oiled machine like this historical treasure race, it feels like it’s hitting the right formula for the Zeta-Jones wheelhouse, which is always exciting to see. 

The character of Billie also sounds like the perfect National Treasure antagonist, as her motivations are right up there with Sean Bean and Ed Harris’ previous baddies. Harris’ Mitch Wilkinson from 2008’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets is an especially potent comparison, as he was less driven by greed and more involved with personal pride. Catherine Zeta-Jones’ Billie is also pursuing “deeper stakes” than money, and it feels like that motivation could lead to a shocking reveal.

Catherine Zeta-Jones in a lab coat, looking upset in Prodigal Son.

(Image credit: Fox)

Why Catherine Zeta-Jones' Billie Is Such An Exciting Prospect

I’m only speculating here, but part of the synopsis for this Disney+ series does mention that protagonist Jess, played by Lisette Alexis, is searching for treasure and “the truth about her family’s mysterious past.” If the halves of this theoretical amulet line up like I think they will, Billie is probably looking for the treasure because Jess is doing the same as her potential long-lost daughter. Maybe they’re blood relatives of a different sort, but with the strong current of family treasure hunting a firm pillar of the National Treasure saga, Catherine Zeta-Jones sounds like she could be a very important part of the endgame for this project.

With National Treasure 3’s script being in development for a cinematic release, crossover potential is quite possibly the cherry on top of this entire sundae. If the Disney+ series does well, and connects with the script currently in the works, a Nicolas Cage/Catherine Zeta-Jones meetup could happen down the line. Again, this is a collaboration that should have happened a long time ago, yet Cage and Zeta-Jones have never had the chance. Where better for this to happen than in the absolute joy ride that is the National Treasure saga?

The National Treasure series is slated to start production this month in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Between this and the brand new Tim Allen-led Santa Clause series, the 2022 TV schedule might be a nostalgic treat for all Disney+ subscribers. That is provided that the television arm of this oft-delayed franchise doesn’t hit the same sort of stumbling blocks its movie-sized sibling has frequently encountered. 

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.