Posted on Friday, May 21st, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
In National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Nicolas Cage‘s character Ben Gates goes after the President of the United States’ book of secrets, an unofficial book which contains the answers for the biggest coverups in American history. In addition to his mission to restore his family’s name, Gates is advised by the President of the United States to “read Page 47″. And of course, the information which is contained on Page 47 is never revealed, which many suspected might be a possible third film. Others wrote it off as nothing more than a throwaway gag.
But even if it was just a throwaway gag, we all know that can become something of franchise canon. For instance, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale never intended for a sequel for Back to the Future, and the ending of the film where Doc Brown returns from the future with a flying Delorean was just intended to be a funny gag to end the movie on. In fact, they didn’t decide to do a sequel until after the film became a big success, at which time they added the “To be continued…” caption to the conclusion of the film (it was never included in the theatrical print). The writers later stated that the ending gag in the first film painted them in a corner for the sequel.
So is Page 47 just a throwaway gag or will it be the starting point of National Treasure 3?
Collider talked with screenwriters Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard who said the following:
“We were asked to start there [when writing the third film], so that is where we’ll start. The plan is to start from what’s on Page 47. The idea of the Book of Secrets is spectacular. It’s a great idea. The second movie sort of introduced it and used it as the center of the movie, so it is smart to make the third movie ‘okay, what treasure hunt will come out of the book of secrets’, which is kind of what the end of the movie started.”
The screenwriting team has been working on the screenplay for the third film since June 2009. We’ve heard in numerous interviews with Cage and director Jon Turteltaub that they wanted the plot to take place in Europe. What might be on page 47 that brings them there? Cage has said, whatever it is — it must be “life altering”. Theories exist around the web, but I doubt any of them are accurate.
Lets just hope that Ben Gates leaves his family at home on this next adventure, as most agree that aspect was the most annoying part of the second film.