Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol: Ashley Zukerman talks an origin story for Robert Langdon

You’ve read the books and you’ve seen the movies. It’s almost time to see Ashley Zukerman’s portrayal of a young Robert Langdon on The Lost Symbol coming to Peacock.

In the world of the books, The Lost Symbol is the third story in the world of Robert Langdon. However, the book was skipped in the movie franchise. In fact, the books were done out of order completely with Angels and Demons becoming the second movie despite it being the first book.

Now it’s time to delve into The Lost Symbol, with Peacock bringing the book to life through a TV series. Ashley Zukerman plays the lead character, a young Robert Langdon who is solving his very first mystery: the disappearance of his mentor Peter Soloman.

Precinct TV sat down with Zukerman to discuss the new series, including how it’s more of an origin story for the character rather than a prequel series. Take a look at some of the highlights and watch the full interview below.

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol is an origin story for Robert Langdon

While Peacock has marketed the series as a prequel series, Zukerman shared that it’s more of an original story. One of the things we wanted to clarify after watching the screener for The Lost Symbol premiere (airing on Thursday, Sept. 16)  was the timeline. One thing you’ll notice is that the show is set more in 2020/2021 rather than when Tom Hanks’s version of Langdon was young.

The third book in Dan Brown’s series “serves as an origin really well.” Zukerman explained, “It’s a story about a family that he was very close to, a family that defined him, and a relationship that challenged him.”

In terms of the universe, “it exists 20 years before the character people know from the books and the movies.”

It did mean there was little need to see the Tom Hanks movies and follow his portrayal of the character, though. Did that make it easier for Zukerman to jump straight into this role?

“It definitely helped that we were making something different…we could look for clues in all five books about who this person was and who he might have been at the beginning and set it outside of everything.”

DAN BROWN’S THE LOST SYMBOL — “As Above, So Below” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Rick Gonzalez as Nunez, Ashley Zukerman as Robert Langdon — (Photo by: David Lee/Peacock)

Following the clues within the story

While Zukerman hadn’t read the books before getting the part, he read all five after. As mentioned, the books were used to find clues as to who this character was before the book series even began. It was about figuring out who a young Robert Langdon would be.

This is a story all about solving mysteries and working out clues. Peacock’s The Lost Symbol jumps straight into the action, all starting with Soloman’s hand pointing up in the middle of the Smithsonian. It only seems fitting that the writers would then use clues from the books to write the character, and that Zukerman would use the books to figure out who his character would be.

It turns out the cast also looked for clues within the scripts as they worked through it. There are some elements of the story changed from the books, which means there were other mysteries to work out.

“We’ve all read the books, we do notice where the scripts are departing from the books. We’re like ‘oh right, what’s connecting to that? Where might that lead?’ There is a little bit of that. But mostly, it’s just such a big story and we just get to live in the moment of each little thing that we discover.”

Watch the full interview with Ashley Zukerman below:

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol premieres on Thursday, Sept. 16 on Peacock and airs weekly throughout the fall.