Sony Pictures has released the official trailer for Uncharted, its long-awaited adaptation based on the hugely popular action/adventure video game franchise of the same name. Movies based on video game franchises can be hit or miss, even when the games themselves are awesome. And this one has been stuck in development hell since 2008, with multiple shifts in writers, directors, and cast members. But the finished film also stars Tom Holland and is directed by Ruben Fleischer, who gave us Zombieland and Zombieland: Double Tap. And the trailer has plenty of action and humor, so color us intrigued by Uncharted.
(Some spoilers for the games below.)
Created by Amy Hennig and developed by Naughty Dog, the original Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune debuted on PlayStation 3 in 2007. Several more games followed, all receiving critical acclaim, and the franchise has sold over 41 million copies worldwide to date. The main protagonist is professional treasure hunter Nathan Drake, who claims to be a descendent of English explorer Francis Drake. The other primary characters are Victor “Sully” Sullivan, a former US Navy officer who becomes Nate’s mentor and father figure; investigative journalist Elena Fisher, who becomes Nate’s romantic partner; and Chloe Frazer, a reckless adventurer who serves as a foil to Elena.
After years of delay on the film project, Fleischer signed on as director in January 2020 and managed to wrap filming last October despite even more delays because of the ongoing pandemic. Tom Holland has said the film will be a prequel and will draw inspiration from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. In that game’s storyline, we get a flashback to what happened several years before the events of the first game. Nate and his brother Sam travel to Panama to hunt for the lost treasure of a pirate named Henry Avery, and they ally themselves with rival treasure hunter and businessman Rafe Adler. Sam is presumably killed on the adventure.
Fifteen years after the events of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Sam shows up to see Nate, who is now married to Elena, and persuades his brother to assist him on one last treasure hunt. Sam’s life is at stake: either the brothers find Avery’s treasure, or Sam will be killed by drug lord Hector Alcázar. The storyline also includes more information about the Drake brothers’ backstory: their historian mother had a theory about the descendants of Drake, and when they got into trouble with the law, the brothers changed their last name to Drake in her honor.
Several of those story elements seem to have been preserved in Fleischer’s film, although the trailer mentions Ferdinand Magellan’s explorations (rather than Avery’s pirate treasure) and a legendary lost treasure possibly associated with the Portuguese explorer. Per the official premise:
Based on one of the best-selling, most critically acclaimed video game series of all time, Uncharted introduces audiences to the young street-smart Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) and showcases his first treasure hunting adventure with wisecracking partner Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg). In an action-adventure epic that spans the globe, the two go in dangerous pursuit of ‘the greatest treasure never found’ while also tracking clues that may lead to Nathan’s long-lost brother.
Fun fact: Wahlberg was originally in the running to star as Nathan Drake, but the film took so long to make, he aged out of the role. Sophia Taylor Ali plays Chloe Frazer, who will also be Drake’s love interest in the film. Antonio Banderas plays a rival “ruthless treasure hunter”—possibly Rafe Adler, although the trailer mentions his family connection to the “House of Moncada.” Tati Gabrielle plays a character named Braddock, who might be the film’s equivalent of Nadine Ross, a South African mercenary in Thief’s End who works for Rafe. There’s no mention in the most recent cast list of anyone playing Elena Fisher, but that doesn’t mean she won’t make an appearance. Sam is mentioned several times in the trailer, so maybe we will eventually see him, too.
Uncharted is slated to hit theaters on February 18, 2021. Netflix and Disney have purchased the streaming rights after the film ends its theatrical run.
Listing image by YouTube/Sony Pictures