‘National Treasure’: Antonio Cipriano on Riley Poole Moment Fans Will Love in ‘Edge of History’

Zuri Reed & Antonio Cipriano in 'National Treasure: Edge of History'
Disney/Brian Roedel

National Treasure: Edge of History doesn’t have Nicolas Cage‘s gravely voice declaring he’s “going to steal the Declaration of Independence,” but it does bring fans back into the familiar fold of the franchise’s treasure hunting. Lisette Olivera leads the spinoff series as Jess Valenzuela, the de facto Ben Gates, with Zuri Reed‘s Tasha, Antonio Cipriano‘s Oren, and Jordan Rodrigues‘s Ethan playing her found family and fellow treasure hunters. The foursome, friends since elementary school, will face off with Catherine Zeta-Jones‘ villainous artifacts dealer Billie in the historical fiction/action series, premiering December 14 on Disney+.

Justin Bartha reprises his role as fan-favorite Riley Poole in the show. Oren, Tasha, and Ethan jointly represent Riley and Abigail (played by Diane Kruger in the films), but Cipriano tells us Oren is closest in character to Riley. Not only that, but Oren’s also a massive fan of the treasure hunter as well, who has gone on to publish books and host a podcast since the events of the last National Treasure flick.

“Oren’s been a fan of Riley Poole his whole life,” Cipriano says. The character’s love of Riley is hinted as early as the series premiere, coming in the form of quick Easter eggs that fans will enjoy. Oren and Riley will share a bond over their shared obsessions throughout Bartha’s cameos in the series, making for a sweet bromance between the Riley superfan and Riley himself. It all culminates in a line Bartha improvised in the finale that Cipriano says was a “very cute” moment for them both.

Justin Bartha & Lisette Olivera in 'National Treasure: Edge of History'

Disney/Brian Roedel

Edge of History is Cipriano’s first series regular role (he came from Broadway, and then had guest star roles on The Sex Lives of College Girls and City on a Hill — you may also know him from viral Bridgerton: The Musical duets on TikTok). Growing up a fan of the film franchise, this was a “dream come true” moment for the actor. And he’s always rooted for the sidekicks.

“Riley Poole was my favorite character,” he says, adding, “I was the younger brother to my older brother. I was always the Robin to his Batman, and I always loved the sidekick. I’m always there for them, so Riley’s always been there for me.”

Another fun part of this series is Zeta-Jones campy villain, who kidnaps Oren in the early episodes in exchange for a special ransom payment. Working with the Wednesday star, Cipriano says, was loads of fun.

“It’s funny, she came to set the day before we filmed [the kidnapping scene], and that’s when I met her the first time,” he shares. “And it was early on. I was still getting my bearings. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I was blushing, like, ‘Hey, can’t wait for you to kidnap me!’ [Laughs]. It was the best. She’s the sweetest, and the way she carries herself on set, you know she’s a legend. I learned a lot from her just watching her do her thing. We had a blast.”

Disney/Brian Roedel

As for the core four of the series, Cipriano says their on-screen chemistry as a group of tight-knit, longtime friends reflected behind the scenes as well.

“They’re all my best friends in real life now too,” Cipriano gushes of Olivera, Reed, and Rodrigues. “We had to make up for many years of not being able to hang out with each other. The second we met, we were just instant best friends. It was awesome.”

National Treasure: Edge of History, Series Premiere, Wednesday, December 14, Disney+