The Robert Langdon universe is upon us

The Lost Symbol is premiering on Peacock later this month, and I can’t wait. Set in Washington, DC, The Lost Symbol stars Ashley Zukerman as Robert Langdon and Valorie Curry as Katherine Solomon. Eddie Izzard stars as Peter Solomon, Langdon’s mentor. There are Freemasons, puzzles, and dastardly plots – what more could you want?

The history of the DaVinci Code film adaptations

A few years ago (okay, it was 2006), Tom Hanks first graced the big screen as symbology professor Robert Langdon in The DaVinci Code. It was a book adaptation that generated a lot of interest. The DaVinci Code book was an international best-seller, catapulting author Dan Brown into the same readership category as J.K. Rowling and Tom Clancy. (As a testament to its popularity, you can still find it at airport bookstores, well, everywhere.)

Akiva Goldsman (currently of Star Trek fame) wrote the screenplay for the movie, and Ron Howard directed it. The movie was successful because there were two sequels – Angels & Demons in 2009 and Inferno in 2016. Reviews of the last film were not great. (And this author only realized there was a third entry in the franchise once doing research for the article.) But the Robert Langdon universe still had potential. Enter another medium for storytelling – the small screen. 

The Lost Symbol – a Prequel

The Lost Symbol is a prequel and takes place before all the movies. Langdon lives and teaches in Washington, DC., in the show. His mentor is in trouble, and he has to team up with the mentor’s daughter, with whom he has a complicated romantic past, to save him. The whole premise is ripe for great story and character development. 

The Lost Symbol was originally titled Langdon, but TLS offers so much more and has the potential to draw in an audience. If you weren’t a fan of the books or movies, the chances of you knowing what “Langdon” is are low. 

Filming and Production

The Lost Symbol’s pilot was filmed and developed in 2020 as part of NBC’s pilot season. Season 1 is expected to have ten episodes, a solid order for an original show on Peacock. (In comparison, the Peacock sci-fi show Brave New World got nine episodes, and the crime-drama Dr. Death got 8.)

The Lost Symbol – an exciting trailer

With all that said above, I’m still extremely excited about the series. Part of the selling point of the original movies was Tom Hanks in the lead. His star power was meant to put people in movie theater seats. When I heard about the adaptation, I was skeptical. But based on Peacock’s trailer debuting in May, Ashley Zukerman nails the role of a younger Robert Langdon. And Zukerman has some serious Indiana Jones meets Buffy’s Giles meets National Treasure vibes that make the series seem fun.  

Interestingly, a recent article at SyFy wire gave some details about Zukerman’s portrayal of the symbologist. He made a choice not to channel Hanks and instead infuse new life into the character.

While Ron Howard and Brian Grazer returned to executive produce the series under their Imagine Entertainment banner, Zukerman made a very conscious decision not to play Langdon like a younger version of Hanks.

“I think I just knew early on that because it’s an origin story, I couldn’t replicate that,” the actor explains. “Aside from it being Tom Hanks, it’s just a different story, and ultimately, it’s the person I’m gonna become. So, it’s far more interesting to actually go back and lean on the opinion everyone has of the books or of his portrayal in the movies and actually just try to unwind a little bit … that was the approach: to just think of it as someone who is just rougher around the edges, who isn’t as ridged or complete as the person that everyone knows.” Source:

The Lost Symbol premieres on Peacock on September 16th. You can watch it however you get your streaming services. 

Are you excited about The Lost Symbol prequel series? Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter and join the conversation – I’d love to hear from you. 

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