One of the most eagerly anticipated original shows currently in development for Disney+ is “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”, and the book’s author Rick Riordan has shared an update on the current progress of the series.
We have a fabulous writers’ room. We have amazing show runners who know exactly what this show needs to be and how to make it. We have an excellent group of producers who have decades of experience in TV. We are close, I think, to locking in a great director, though that deal is not quite finalized. And of course, we have the author of the source material fully on board . . . oh, wait, that’s me! We have a clear plan, a solid approach, and we are ready to get going. However, we are still waiting for the green light, without which we do not have a budget to get going. The conditions for that green light are a moving target, and there are still many layers and levels of approval we have to get through.
While the development of the series is slowly moving along, Rick and his team have said that they have an important meeting with the top executives at Walt Disney Studios in the coming week. This will be a very important meeting for the team to explain why the series needs the go-ahead to a top tier of management at the studio.
Why is it taking so long? you are asking. Yeah, believe me, I feel that. I’ve put all my plans on “pause” for the last two years so I could devote myself entirely to wrestling with this project. Part of the issue is that Disney is a massive corporation with many moving parts. The company’s expansion is great in some ways. For instance, when they bought Fox, that opened up the possibility that we could do Percy again through Disney, since Disney now owns the rights. On the downside, this means that the company is still in the process of changing and restructuring. There are a lot of people either shifting jobs or new to the company, and the various divisions don’t always know what the other divisions are doing. (That is simply my subjective impression, as an outside observer.)
Rick went onto explain that they have come into some issues with Disney being so big, the executives don’t always know what another part of the company is doing. (I know I constantly have to double information on what belongs to Disney and what doesn’t_
To give you an idea what we’re up against: Last spring, after doing months of song and dance about how popular Percy Jackson was and how many copies it had sold for Disney Publishing, etc., etc., we scored a lunch with some big execs from the TV side of Disney.
One of them, a lovely person, asked, “So who publishes Percy Jackson?”
Me, not sure whether to laugh or cry: “. . . Disney?”
Disney exec, deer-in-the-headlights look. “Oh.”
This upcoming Disney+ series is going to require a massive financial investment from Disney, and that’s why this project is taking its time. Rick explained:
This is going to be an expensive show. Using kid actors makes production costs skyrocket. Special effects of good quality don’t come cheap. And the story is a road trip, which calls for ever-changing sets. All of that equals $$$. It’s completely understandable that the executives would want to understand clearly what they are making and why it is worth the investment. That is what we will be trying to explain, again, next week.
Hopefully, we will get an update soon with some positive news. Should the series go ahead, it’s hopefully going to be epic. Disney+ needs something different to Marvel and Star Wars, but on the same scale. Fingers crossed, it’s “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”.
Disney did reveal the series was in development during last years Investor Day event, which would indicate that Disney was expecting the series to go ahead, since it was a very public announcement of the show. But that doesn’t always mean it’ll happen, and things change.
Are you hoping Disney greenlights the “Percy Jackson” Disney+ series?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.