This coming December, Disney is releasing the first two episodes of its brand new fantasy series, “Percy Jackson And The Olympians”, which tells the fantastical story of a 12-year-old modern demigod, Percy Jackson, who’s just coming to terms with his newfound divine powers when the sky god, Zeus, accuses him of stealing his master lightning bolt. With help from his friends Grover and Annabeth, Percy must embark on an adventure of a lifetime to find it and restore order to Olympus.
The epic series is based on Disney Hyperion’s best-selling book series by award-winning author Rick Riordan, who recently took part in an interview with D23 and shared some details on the challenges with translating his books into a different format, like a Disney+ series, to which Rick explained:
Absolutely. It was a great challenge and something that I don’t think I understood until I was on the other side trying to figure it out. Again, I like the challenge of learning other languages—and I have come to realize from doing that, that it’s very difficult, even from one language to another to translate something. If you just try and go word for word and recreate the sentence, it will be faithful but it won’t make any sense. It won’t make the same point. You have to make some changes in order to say the same thing. That’s the way it is with film too. You have to use a different toolbox to say roughly the same thing.
Rick also explained how close the series followed the events of the first book, but also revealed they will be adding some new scenes, that weren’t originally featured in the book:
In terms of the plot, we stuck with it very closely. What I will say though, that I found really fascinating, is that we were able to look at the story, which I wrote back in 2005, and say, “What do I wish I had done at that time? What background can we give people that know the story backwards and forwards, but still have questions like, ‘How did Sally meet Poseidon?’ or ‘What were Percy’s experiences in school before we see him in the first chapter?’” We were able to dive into that and flesh out the history of these characters and the chemistry between them in ways that are completely faithful [to the book] but are also new.
With the original book being released over eighteen years ago, which has gone on to spawn five sequels and even more supplementary books, it’s only natural for the creator to want to make some changes that maybe weren’t thought of all those years ago. Hopefully, those scenes help give newcomers and fans of the book series, a better insight into the main characters.
The upcoming eight-episode show stars Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell), Grover Underwood (Aryan Simhadri) and Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries). Rick was asked by D23 about the casting on the show, where he shared some details on how the actors were picked for the show:
Disney’s company policy, which I agree with, is open casting—we’re going to see everyone who wants to participate and we’re not going to put any guidelines on it other than actors being able to play the age of the character. We saw thousands and thousands of audition tapes and got it down to a smaller number and had to consider not only which actor or actress had the aura we were looking for to capture the character, but also had good chemistry with the other two main leads. It took months and months. I can safely say that the three actors that we got are unbelievable. They’re not only talented individually, but they are fantastic together. They bring the characters to life.
The series also stars Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hermes”), Megan Mullally (“Alecto” aka “Mrs. Dodds”), Toby Stephens (“Poseidon”), Virginia Kull (“Sally Jackson”), Jason Mantzoukas (“Dionysus” aka “Mr. D”), Jay Duplass (“Hades”), Glynn Turman (“Chiron” aka “Mr. Brunner”), the late Lance Reddick (“Zeus”), Adam Copeland (“Ares”), Charlie Bushnell (“Luke Castellan”), Dior Goodjohn (“Clarisse La Rue”), Jessica Parker Kennedy (“Medusa”), Olivea Morton (“Nancy Bobofit”), Suzanne Cryer (“Echidna”), Timm Sharp (“Gabe Ugliano”), Timothy Omundson (“Hephaestus”).
The first two episodes are written by Rick Riordan and Jon Steinberg and directed by James Bobin. Steinberg and Dan Shotz serve as executive producers alongside Rick Riordan, Rebecca Riordan, The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Bert Salke, The Gotham Group’s Jeremy Bell and D.J. Goldberg, James Bobin, Jim Rowe, Monica Owusu-Breen, Anders Engström and Jet Wilkinson.
The first two episodes of “Percy Jackson And The Olympians” will be released on Disney+ on December 20th 2023, followed by new episodes weekly.
While we wait for the new Disney+ series, you’ll also find the two previous seasons available now on Disney+, though the creator, Rick Riordan wasn’t directly involved in creating those films!
Are you looking forward to the debut of “Percy Jackson And The Olympians” on Disney+? Let us know on social media!
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.