It’s been two years since Rick Riordan — writer of the Percy Jackson & The Olympians books — announced he was fighting to get a live-action series greenlit at Disney+. The author announced the go-ahead had officially been given back in January, and now we know exactly who will be replacing Logan Lerrman as the eponymous hero. The lead of the upcoming Percy Jackson reboot will be Walker Scobell.
Today, The Hollywood Reporter and others are announcing the casting of the young Walker Scobell in the role, and the name may sound familiar. If you’re a Netflix subscriber and a Ryan Reynolds fan, there’s a really good chance you’re already familiar with Scobell. He played the younger version of Reynolds’ time-hopping hero in this year’s The Adam Project. You can see a tweet announcing the actor’s casting below.
On his website, Rick Riordan writes that Scobell auditioned for the role of Percy Jackson some months before the release of The Adam Project. “Walker Scobell is an incredibly talented young man who blew us away with his audition tapes for the role of Percy,” Riordan writes. Among other things, Riordan praises Scobell for what he calls the young actor’s “perfect mix of comedic timing, sweetness, rebelliousness, snark and heroism.”
The Percy Jackson book series revolves around a group of young people who are demigods; i.e., one of their parents is a human being, and the other is a god. In the titular hero’s case, his father is Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. The story has already been brought to live-action, but not in a way either the writer or the dedicated fans were happy with.
There were two Percy Jackson live-action movies in the early 2010s: 2010’s Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and 2013’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Rick Riordan claims he has never seen either movie, based on how disappointed he was when he read the scripts. Among other big changes from page to screen, the movies aged up the characters — Percy starts off as a 12-year-old in the source material — and events from different books were patched together to make the second film. Even the guy who plays Jackson in the movies, Logan Lerrman, reportedly thought the films strayed too far from the books. Upon learning about the upcoming reboot, the actor responded “Excited to see this! Hope it gets the adaptation the books deserve.”
The news of Walker Scobell’s casting marks the very first casting news of any sort for the upcoming Disney+ series. So far, not a lot is known at all about the creative power behind the series, though Rick Riordan will be much more involved than he was with the films. Riordan will be one of Percy Jackson & The Olympians‘ executive producers, and is co-writing the pilot episode with Jon Steinberg (Black Sails). The pilot episode will be directed by James Bobin (Muppets Most Wanted). There’s no premiere date yet, though THR says production is set to begin this summer. In most likelihood we’re looking at a late 2023/early 2024 premiere.