Drake Is Searching For The Lost City Of Shangri-La

The first images from Tom Holland’s Uncharted movie tease some potential plot details. Could it be about the search for Shangri-La like Uncharted 2?

Sony’s Uncharted movie starring Tom Holland as Nathan Drake could be about the search for the lost city of Shangri-La. After years of trying to make a movie adaptation of the popular Naughty Dog video game franchise, Uncharted finally hit a major milestone recently. Production began several months ago in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but Sony has successfully completed filming. The studio previously was hesitant to reveal too many details about the movie, but the veil of secrecy is starting to be lifted.

To celebrate Uncharted wrapping ahead of its summer 2021 release date, the movie’s first look and multiple teases have arrived. Tom Holland “leaked” the first official photo of him as the younger Nathan Drake. The image shows Drake standing in front of a wrecked ship and presumably wearing Francis Drake’s decoder ring around his neck. Sony has yet to provide an official synopsis for the movie, but the images released already provide some clues. In addition to the shipwreck, other photos included a book with a passage about Ferdinand Magellan and a sword plunged into or stuck in the floor of an unknown location.

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It’s been confirmed that the movie will be faithful to the games enough so that Sully (Mark Wahlberg) is involved and wearing his usual green shirt. It’s also known that Sophia Ali will play Chloe Frazer, a fellow adventurer and love interest for Drake in the games. Although Uncharted is set to be an original prequel story and not a direct adaption of any game that has already been released, these details do line up similarly with the plot of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The 2009 sequel game is widely considered the best of the franchise and one of the best video games in recent years, and now it seems that the Uncharted movie could take aspects from it, including the search for Shangri-La.

Nathan Drake’s Treasure Ship Hints At Uncharted 2’s Plot

Tom Holland Uncharted Movie First Look Header


While the main takeaway from the first look at Holland in Uncharted was how he compared to the Nathan Drake from the games, the wrecked ship behind him is intriguing. Shipwrecks are a common location for stories that involve searching for treasure, and the Uncharted franchise has used them plenty. But, ships play a huge role in the plot of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. After the game’s cold open showing Drake scaling a crashed train hanging over a cliff, the story jumps back to Drake going on a mission with Chloe and his old pal Harry Flynn to steal a Mongolian lamp.

The artifact is tied to Marco Polo’s attempted voyage from China. Once Drake and Flynn find the lamp in an Instanbul museum, they discover that it contains the location of Polo’s fleet. The ships crashed in Borneo and contained the famed Cintamani Stone from Shambhala/Shangri-La. After Flynn double-crosses Drake and begins working for a war criminal named Zoran Lazarvić to find the fleet, Drake goes to Borneo with Chloe to find what remains of Polo’s fleet. Although the game mainly focuses on Drake exploring a temple to find Polo’s crew, the wreckage of the fleet is featured. One of these ships may be where Holland’s Drake finds himself in the Uncharted image.

Why Sony Used A Magellan Quote

Nathan Drake Uncharted 4 The Life of Ferdinand Magellan and the First Circumnavigation of the Globe

The beginning of Uncharted‘s promotion also included some connections to Ferdinand Magellan, the famous 16th-century explorer. One of the photos included a book about Magellan’s travels. It features a drawing of the explorer and a passage from the book. But, Sony accompanied the photo with a quote from him as well. Instead of sharing the full quote, the tweet only highlighted a portion of it that teased a “shadowy future.” But, the full quote is about an impossible task only the most daring individuals could achieve:

The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore… Unlike the mediocre, intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible… It is with an iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors… to meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown.

Related: Uncharted: Tom Holland Is Nothing Like Video Game Nathan Drake (& That’s A Good Thing)

Instead of simply referencing that Magellan could be a piece to Uncharted‘s story, the use of one of his quotes further indicates that he’ll play a large role. Magellan didn’t have a role in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, but one of the movie’s changes to adapting a similar story may be replacing Marco Polo with Magellan. They are both famous and mysterious explorers, with Magellan being the first person to circumnavigate the globe. For Uncharted, this could include discovering some incredible locations.

What The Sword Means From Uncharted’s First Look

In addition to the photo and quote for Magellan, one of the other Uncharted images shows what appears to be a mysterious sword. The gold plated item is featured in an unknown location and isn’t a direct match with any of the MacGuffin’s featured in the Uncharted games. However, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves does make a dagger one of the most important artifacts. The Phurba dagger is a gold plated dagger that Drake discovered in the resting place of members of Marco Polo’s crew along with a map that leads to Shangri-La. Drake uses both items to find a temple in Nepal that holds a secret door to enter the legendary city, with the Phurba dagger serving as the key to enter.

Although the sword featured in Uncharted‘s first look has a completely different design than the Phurba dagger, it could be the movie’s version. The photo that was shared even appears to be the sword after it has been plunged into the floor, which could open the door to Shangri-La – just as it happened in the games. Other uses for the Phurba dagger along the journey, though, so this might not be the actual entrance to Shangri-La, but the similarities are there.

Sony’s Uncharted Movie Is A Search For The Lost City Of Shangri-La

If all of these pieces about Uncharted are correct and the plot features a shipwreck, a daring adventure once traveled by Magellan, and sees a gold-plated sword play a significant role, the movie has everything in place to put its own spin on the hunt for Shangri-La. The movie may be putting a fresh spin on all of these elements from Uncharted 2: Among Thieves to push the conclusion to a different place than Shangri-La, but that isn’t necessary.

Related: Tom Holland Has Two 2021 Movies With Big Problems To Overcome

A new take on the search for Shangri-La could help Uncharted connect with pre-established fans. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves‘ reputation speaks for itself, and the massive adventure at the center of it would be a great story for the movie to adapt. Although this could potentially backfire with how many changes the movie makes from the game, there’s almost no way to faithfully adapt Uncharted 2‘s story in a single film. This new take could help streamline the story (and improve the final boss fight) while maintaining major action set pieces like the train chase and crash. But, with Sully and Chloe along for the ride and potentially other deviations from the game, Uncharted‘s search for Shangri-La could keep those familiar with the story on their toes and surprise general audiences.

MORE: How The Uncharted Movie Can Beat Indiana Jones 5 At Its Own Game

Key Release Dates

  • Uncharted (2021)Release date: Jul 16, 2021


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Updated: November 5, 2020 — 1:34 pm

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