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‘National Treasure’ TV Series on Disney+ will Feature Latina DREAMer as the Lead

Latina leads in films  and television are few and far between but it always feels like a win when a Latina not only gets a leading role but takes on that of a historically white, male character. Deadline reported that Disney+ is developing a series based on the 2004 film National Treasure and the main character is a 21-year-old DREAMer named Jess Morales. The series will follow Morales and her group of friends as they hunt for treasure and unfold the mysteries of her family history. The series was greenlit for 10 episodes and there’s no word yet on the cast as it’s still in development.

Considering it’s been nearly 20 years since the film came out there’s undoubtedly going to be a different approach and it sounds like it’s taking on heavier topics. It’ll explore issues of identity, historical authorship, community, and patriotism from her point of view, Deadline reported. In the two films, the second came out in 2007, Nicholas Cage portrayed Benjamin Gates, a cryptologist and treasure hunter who ends up revealing secrets about American history as he journeys to steal the Declaration of Independence.

Morales will take on Gates’s mission and bring another layer of complexity with the intentional additional of her being a DREAMer and Latina. We look forward to perhaps checking out a new Latina actress take on the role though Afro-Latina actress Alycia Pascual-Peña (Moxie) would do an amazing job.

In a time when representation in front and behind the camera remains limited it’s promising to see a major network write a Latina lead character for such a famous franchise. Women are only visible 38 percent of the time on screen, according to a study from Nielsen that actually measured the minutes on screen as a metric for inclusion. Latinx representation is even more limited with just 5.5 percent of screen time the study found. They did find that representation improved on streaming services compared to other platforms however the narratives are still a work in progress.

“White women were more likely to be seen in narratives involving friendship, family, love, husbands and daughters. Latinas’ narratives were more likely to be connected with police stations, dysfunction and melodrama,” according to the study.

“Even with all the work that has been done to improve gender equity on screen – there are so many players that have done so much work – unfortunately, women are still underrepresented,” Stacie de Armas, senior vice president of diverse insights and initiatives at Nielsen, told USA TODAY.