At long last, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is getting its reboot. As covered by The Hollywood Reporter, on August 18, Percy Jackson’s canonical birthday, the new show’s debut on Disney+ was announced for December 20, 2023. The trailer for the show’s first season can be seen below:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is one of the biggest Young Adult book series in the world, and now it’s coming to Disney+ later this year.
In 2005, author Rick Riordan’s first Percy Jackson novel, The Lightning Thief, grabbed the attention of an entire generation of young readers. Over the course of five books, Riordan tells the story of a boy who learns he is a demigod – his mother is human, but his father is the Greek god Poseidon.
Percy Jackson discovers his demigod status gives him magical powers of his own, which he learns to harness with other young teens at Camp Half-Blood. From there, Percy falls down a rabbit hole of ever-increasing drama as he explores the fantastical and frightening world of Greek mythology in the context of modern society. Now that story is in the hands of Disney.
The Lightning Thief and its sequel, Sea of Monsters, were adapted as feature films in 2010 and 2013 by Fox 2000 Pictures, Dune Entertainment, and 1492 Pictures. The films starred Logan Lerman in the title role.
The adaptations were met with disdain by critics and fans of the books. Rick Riordan published emails he sent to studio executives during the development of 2010’s The Lightning Thief, in which he criticized the movie’s script and warned that deviations from the plot and tone of the books would upset fans.
Rick Riordan was right. The Lightning Thief made enough money to warrant a sequel, but Sea of Monsters underperformed as fans revolted against the adaptation. The series stopped dead in its tracks.
Rights to Percy Jackson films were later obtained by Disney when the studio bought out Fox. Rick Riordan assumed that another studio adaptation would leave him boxed out, just as he was in 2010. He was surprised when his pitch to Disney for a series was picked up.
The Percy Jackson and the Olympians film series was stopped after two movies, something author Rick Riordan warned the studio would happen through their poor chocies.
Rick Riordan involved himself in the development of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, even co-writing the series’ first two episodes. The new Disney show looks to stick to the books’ roots, keeping the cast of characters younger than the films did and staying aligned tonally with its source material.
Season 1 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians will reportedly cover the events of The Lightning Thief, with each season of the Disney show tackling another book in the series. Riordan praised the approach, expressing his excitement at watching the young, talented cast grow up with the roles, just as the characters in his novels did.
Walker Scobell, who played alongside Ryan Reynolds in Netflix’s The Adam Project, stars as Percy Jackson. Percy’s close friends, Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood, will be played by Leah Sava Jeffries and Aryan Simhadri. The Disney series centers on its young heroes, but the kids will be surrounded by a stacked supporting cast.
Disney+ has lost subscribers this year, and Marvel’s big shows haven’t been helping, so could Percy Jackson and the Olympians be the show that saves it?
Lin-Manuel Miranda stars as Hermes, Megan Mullally as Alecto, Toby Stephens as Poseidon, Virginia Kull as Sally Jackson, Jason Mantzoukas as Dionysus, Jay Duplass as Hades, and many more.
The success of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is critical for Disney; the company has seen considerable subscriber loss in the past year. Percy Jackson will look to change the story for Disney+ when it hits the streamer on December 20.