Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” Finally Coming to NBC for Langdon Drama

Published on February 3, 2020

We got young Dumbledore, so why not young Robert Langdon? NBC concurs. The cable network is adapting author Dan Brown’s best-selling mysteries for the small screen. Years ago, they were mostly box-office smashes with The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Inferno. Not even the tepid reviews could stop the Ron Howard-Tom Hanks collaborations from making some pretty pennies.

Based on how many books he sells, Langdon is a beloved character, so there’s obviously an audience for the show. Airport readers love the guy, who hopefully, will fare better on television than he did in film.

Langdon Goes to Television 

NBC has ordered a pilot, based specifically on the Langdon story, “The Lost Symbol.” Brown is executive producing the show along with Howard and mega producer Brian Grazer, who’s also the wonderful author behind “A Curious Mind” and “Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection.” 

The Young Adventures of Robert Langdon 

Young Langdon is on the case in The Lost Symbol. In the movies, Langdon was older, wiser, and didn’t have much room for growth as a character. He doesn’t exactly evolve over the course of the three Ron Howard movies. As a young chap in NBC’s The Lost Symbol, the Harvard symbologist has to solve deadly puzzles, rescue his mentor, and stop a worldwide conspiracy. You know, all in a day’s work for a Harvard symbologist. 

The Team Behind Langdon 

A writing duo, Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie (MTV’s Scream), are behind Langdon. Last June, Daniel Cerone of Dexter was originally attached to write the script, but he’s not attached anymore to the NBC thriller.

At worst, Langdon will be more dry exercises in history and puzzles like the Ron Howard pictures, but at best, perhaps NBC can do something as creatively stimulating and exciting as their once beloved but canceled series, Hannibal. The world of Robert Langdon isn’t as entertaining as Hannibal Lecter’s, but with the mysteries and the globetrotting involved, maybe NBC can make a truly atmosphere and suspenseful piece of television. 

More About Those Robert Langdon Movies…

Ron Howard’s movies have to be one of the oddest trilogies of the 21st Century, always taking one step forward and one step back. Each sequel would fix a past problem, then introduce new problems. Dan Brown’s stories were a nut Howard and Grazer could never quite crack. Most baffling of all, Tom Hanks wasn’t particularly charismatic in the role.

If not even Tom Hanks can bring his signature brand of charm and magic to the character, where does that leave the next guy in line to play Langdon? As exciting and bizarre as those Dan Brown stories are, they play as awfully dry when adapted to screen. Howard is a confident director, but he never got the formula of those movies right. Perhaps NBC will. 

The Lost Symbol Synopsis 

Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale. As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object-artfully encoded with five symbols-is discovered in the Capitol Building.

Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation… one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom. When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon-a prominent Mason and philanthropist-is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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