On Friday, Disney+ announced that the highly-anticipated original series Percy Jackson and the Olympians will debut with two episodes on December 20, 2023. The show is based on the book series of the same name by Rick Riordan, which is about a 12-year-old demigod named Percy, tasked with recovering Zeus’ stolen lighting bolt to restore order to Olympus.
After directing the first two Harry Potter movies, Chris Columbus tried to kickstart another young adult fantasy franchise when he directed Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief in 2010. It was not the smash hit that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was nine years earlier, but it was a commercial success. A sequel film, Sea of Monsters, arrived in 2013, but with even worse reviews and a smaller box office take, the franchise fizzled out.
In 2019, the rights to the Percy Jackson novels were transferred to Disney when it acquired 21st Century Fox. Months later, Riordan confirmed that he would work with Disney on a live-action TV series based on his books. The author had no involvement in the movies and described them as “my life’s work going through a meat grinder when I pleaded with them not to do it.”
If nothing else, it’s the second chance that the franchise deserves, especially considering Percy Jackson & the Olympians is one of the best-selling book series of all time. Here’s a quick look at the Disney+ adaptation ahead of its premiere this December:
The series stars Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson, Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth Chase, and Aryan Simhadri as Grover Underwood. The huge list of guest stars includes Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hermes, Megan Mullally as Alecto, Toby Stephens as Poseidon, Jason Mantzoukas as Mr. D (Dionysus), Jay Duplass as Hades, and the late Lance Reddick as Zeus.
Disney also wants to make sure that fans know the original author had plenty of input:
Renowned “Percy Jackson” creator Rick Riordan worked closely with the creative team and showrunners Jon Steinberg and Dan Shotz to bring his books to life and deliver a series that stays true to his vision for these heroic characters that millions of book fans know and love. The first two episodes are written by Riordan and Steinberg and directed by James Bobin.
If this season is as successful as it has the potential to be, it could turn into a long-running series for the streaming service. There are 16 books in the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles franchise, with a new standalone novel slated to release in September. As long as they don’t drop the ball early, there’s no limit to how big Percy Jackson could be.