Why did Tom Hanks and Ron Howard ignore The Lost Symbol in the Robert Langdon franchise? Here’s why the book was adapted into a new TV series.
Here’s why Tom Hanks The lost symbol The film, part of the Robert Langdon film franchise, was canceled and ultimately adapted into a series of the same name. Dan Brown’s The lost symbol is the third installment in Robert Langdon’s established timeline, dealing with the Harvard symbologist’s race against time in Washington DC, which is said to be home to an ancient portal promising the apotheosis. While director Ron Howard and lead actor Tom Hanks decided to skip this text in the film franchise, The lost symbol was turned into a series starring a young Langdon. The show premiered on September 16, 2021 and is available to stream on Peacock.
Although they deal with a wide range of secret societies, underground cults, cryptic documents and monuments loaded with religio-cultural significance, all of Dan Brown’s novels follow a stereotypical approach in terms of Robert Langdon’s tales. The explosive success of The “Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons on the big screen can be attributed to the intricacies of the plot, which branches out like a labyrinth and unites discordant elements and symbols across history and time. While The “Da Vinci Code dealt exclusively with the tradition of the Holy Grail tradition and its associated symbolism, Angels and Demons penetrated deep into the crypts of the Vatican’s best-kept secrets and the existence of a company called The Illuminati.
It is interesting to note that The lost symbol deals exclusively with Freemasonry and the quest for a higher knowledge which enables man to rise in divinity. This, of course, plays out in the quintessential Brownian way, with Langdon at the heart of the mystery, exacerbated by the kidnapping of Langdon’s mentor, Peter Solomon (Eddie Izzard). In an interview with CinemaBlend, Hanks explained that while he and Howard were working on The lost symbol for a while in order to determine if it would work, they came to the conclusion that the plot was too reminiscent of the first two films in the franchise. The exploration of Freemasonry in The lost symbol echoes the theoretical dilemmas raised in Angels and Demons, while reflecting the Priory of Sion and the Templars in The “Da Vinci Code.
Thus, due to the narrative and thematic similarities between The lost symbol and his cinematic predecessors Howard and Hanks decided to go ahead and focus on Brown’s next novel, Hell. It was an interesting choice, because the story of Hell articulated on that of Dante Alighieri Hell, as well as a plot centered on a transhumanist scientist determined to unleash a biological scourge in order to stop global population growth. While Hell provided a fresh tonal look to Robert Langdon’s trilogy, the adaptation couldn’t do justice to the source material and received mixed to negative reviews from critics, despite being ‘a commercial success.
Recognizing the untapped potential of The lost symbol, the project was redesigned as a TV series in 2019, originally titled Langdon. Soon Peacock picked up the series, which is set to serve as a prequel connection to Tom Hanks’ Robert Langdon films, starring Ashley Zukerman (Fear street trilogy) taking on the role of a young Langdon. The series will most likely delve into Langdon’s psyche in great detail, as she has the opportunity to flesh out his inner motivations and portray him as more than a man fascinated by symbols. The lost symbol will also offer a preview of the characters of Mal’akh (Keenan Jolliff), Peter Solomon and Catherine Solomon (Valorie Curry), which will delight fans of the literary series.
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