It’s going to take a little more than one camp bead to get the Percy Jackson reboot off the ground, new reports indicate. Beloved children’s book author Rick Riordan shared a lengthy update on his blog about the status of the Disney+ miniseries a year after executives agreed to finance it, and the verdict is down: the show isn’t fully green-lit, but it’s getting there.
Here’s what the author of the novels had to say about the Percy Jackson reboot.
Word goes, Percy Jackson is still in the early pre-production stages, with network bigwigs already invested in adapting the books, but not entirely satisfied with episode pitches they’ve seen so far. According to Riordan, Disney has “clear marching orders” on what needs to happen to receive that much-coveted go signal, and those materials have already been commissioned. Though the crew is optimistic the show will go on as planned, Riordan cautions fans before making a false running start, so to speak, as a director for the pilot episode hasn’t even been secured yet. Riordan had a closed-door Zoom meeting with top representatives from Disney Entertainment, Disney TV, 20th Century Studios, and Disney+ on Friday, with leadership aptly described as “all in,” but there’s still a long way to go before the Percy Jackson reboot sees the light of day.
“This was the first time all of us had been in the same room (well, Zoom room) so we could make sure we were all getting the same information and sharing the same goals,” Riordan writes on Saturday. “Having everyone together to align our visions for the show was extremely helpful, and I think a lot of confusion was resolved (speaking for my own confused self, anyway!). The good news is: the leadership is ‘all in,’ as they put it, about making this show and doing it right. A lot of them have kids who have grown up with Percy Jackson, too, so they get it. They get that there are millions and millions of you out there who are waiting excitedly to see Percy Jackson come to life in a new way. We felt supported and heard, and I am more confident than ever that this show is moving forward as it needs to. You all have made a difference. You always do. Showing up on social media, sharing your excitement for the show: Disney sees you. They have heard you and they want to do right by you Percy fans. That, for me, is priority one, so I am happy!”
The rest of Riordan’s propitious mid-month update was spent reminding fans to hold their Hippocampi; despite the Mouse’s unwavering commitment, the accelerator hasn’t been punched yet and the writer’s room is still working on getting Disney everything it’s demanding to be convinced it’s got a winning new adaptation worth backing. Not counting Rick Riordan and his wife Becky, who have been part of the project from the start, Percy Jackson’s eight-man team has been busy carving out episode sketches scene by scene, so other elements to production — like creature work and set designs — could finally get going. Locations have already been considered, as well as promising options for episode directors.
Riordan guesstimates it will take the Percy Jackson show up to 2023 — with 2022 being a more optimistic possibility — to fully get into gear. “Percy [Jackson] is a step closer to the adaptation we all want,” he makes sure to remind fans. “[But] a lot of things have to happen before we can even start filming! The best I can tell you is that Becky and I will stay involved at every step of the process, and we would rather do this right than rush to do it quickly.”
It’s not a bad estimate. After all, it took Percy Jackson three years to see the Great Prophecy through, and it was an oracle reading 70 years in the making. Now, he is poised to take just as long delivering a Hollywood debut he could be proud of and the books have been in circulation for over 16 years. A big-screen adaptation starring Logan Lerman and Alexandra Daddario as unexceptionally grown-up versions of Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase came out in 2010, but was poorly received — both by fans and Riordan himself. If this is what we have to contend with to get a source-accurate adaptation made, then we are all for the wait. As far as we’re concerned, the oracle of Delphi has already predetermined this show’s fate, and we’re simply satisfying the conditions of the prophecy, just like how Percy Jackson was.
Development on the Percy Jackson reboot has been slow, but steady. Talks began in the latter half of 2019, but were (potentially) stalled by the pandemic; nevertheless, a decision was made on May 2020, with Disney agreeing to produce a live-action television series based on the original five books. Similar to Zack and Deborah Snyder, or the Downeys, Rick and Becky Riordan are working as a team to get this iteration of Percy Jackson done right, and a preliminary casting call was announced in April. Setbacks on the writing resulted in casting being postponed, and the Riordans would later share the names of their writing team instead on the couple’s professional blog.
Jonathan E. Steinberg and Dan Shotz were revealed to have come onboard as showrunners, with Daphne Olive, Monica Owusu-Breen, and Joe Tracz as writers and Xavier Stiles, Zoë Neary, and Stewart Strandberg as writer assistants. Steinberg famously co-created the critically acclaimed television prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, a web series entitled Black Sails. Percy Jackson currently has no release date.