National Treasure Wiki
Ian Howe
Biographical information


Ethnic group


Eye color


Hair color


Behind the scenes
First appearance

National Treasure

Last appearance

National Treasure




Sean Bean


"You know the key to running a convincing bluff? Every once in a while you've got to be holding all the cards."
―Ian Howe[src]

Ian Howe is a currently imprisoned entrepreneur/treasure hunter who attempted to find the Templar Treasure. He was the main villain of the first movie.


Early Life[]

Little is known of Howe's early days. He met Benjamin Franklin Gates in 2002, and became interested in the Templar Treasure, enticing him to fund the search to the Canadian Arctic, specifically for the lost ship Charlotte.

Events of National Treasure[]

When they find the Charlotte, there is no treasure waiting for them, just another clue. This clue leads them to believe there is a map to the treasure on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Ben is disheartened, always wanting to find the Treasure, yet unwilling to steal the Declaration. Ian, however, is willing to do anything to get the Treasure, and decides to steal the map. When Ben and Riley Poole refuse to take any part in it, Ian threatens them at gunpoint. Ben threatens to drop a flare on the gunpowder, which would kill them all. Ben does accidentally drop the flare, causing Ian and Shaw to flee. Ian and his group believe Ben and Riley dead, head for Washington, D.C. without all the necessary information. At the Watergate Complex, Ian creates a plan to steal the document. However, Ben decides in defense to save the Declaration, and succeeds. Even without the map, though, Ian figures out that the next clue regarding to the Silence Dogood Letters that leads to Philadelphia. Looking at the letters Ian notices a suspicious boy, and gets a part of the next clue. Cross-referencing the piece of the clue with the Declaration, they find a connection to the Liberty Bell. Ian yet again meets Ben and his associates at the Liberty Bell. Ian causes Ben, Riley, and Abigail Chase to split up, each being chased by Ian's assistants. Howe later takes the Declaration from Abigail.

Ben has to make a deal with Ian because Ian has the map, and he wants Ben's final clue. It leads to Trinity Church, and to make sure that Gates does not double cross him, he kidnaps Ben's father, Patrick Henry Gates. The group finds an empty room under the church, and Patrick comes up with a false clue that leads to the Treasure at the Old North Church in Boston. The treasure, which was in Trinity Church, is found by Gates, who informs the FBI of Ian's location. Ian and his henchmen are arrested, as "Someone's got to go to prison".

Based on federal jail time standards, Howe will probably be released somewhere around 2015 or 2020.