One of the most eagerly awaited new Disney+ Originals is “Percy Jackson And The Olympians”, which is based on Disney Hyperion’s best-selling book series by award-winning author Rick Riordan, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” 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.

Recently, Percy Jackson’s creator, Rick Riordan, spoke with THR about the upcoming Disney+ series, where he was asked if there were any particular elements from the books that he really wanted to make sure were part of the series.

One thing that we all agreed on was that we should do everything we could to preserve what makes Percy Jackson, Percy Jackson. That’s a combination of modern-day setting, classical mythology, action, and humor. One of the ways that that manifested is making sure that we found actors who were an age that was appropriate for the way Percy is at the beginning of the books, so that viewers could watch Percy [Walker Scobell] and Annabeth [Leah Sava Jeffries] and Grover [Aryan Simhadri] grow up on the screen, the way that you read about them growing up from age 12 to 16 in the five books. I’m certainly gratified that we did it that way, because the young actors that we found are fantastic.

Rick also shared some information about bringing Percy Jackson back to our screens:

For a long time, I had kind of just assumed that was it for me and the TV and film industry — that we gave it a shot and it didn’t work out. Once rights are sold, that’s pretty much it. What changed is the acquisition of Fox [which produced the two movies] by Disney. Disney has always been the publisher for Percy Jackson. Talking to my wife [Becky], I think we both said, you know, there might be an opportunity here. We were hesitant about doing that — I hadn’t had the best experience before. It’s not an industry that I know, or that I’ve ever honestly wanted to be a part of. It’s not something that I ever dreamed about [laughs], becoming a producer. I’m perfectly happy writing books. But I knew that the fans of the books really, really wanted a good adaptation, another try. So it was really for them. We dove in with both feet, and for the last three years, that’s been a major part of what we’ve been up to.

The new series will star Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson, along with Aryan Simhadri and Leah Sava Jeffries. Also starring in the series are Lin-Manuel Miranda, Lance Reddick, Toby Stephens, Adam Copeland, Suzanne Cryer, and Jessica Parker Kennedy, along with Virginia Kull, Glynn Turman, Jason Mantzoukas, Megan Mullally, Jay Duplass, Timothy Omundson, and Timm Sharp, as well as Dior Goodjohn, Charlie Bushnell, and Olivea Morton.

When the initial casting of Leah Sava Jeffries was revealed, there was a backlash to her casting in the series and Rick revealed why it was important for him to forcefully stand up for her casting:

For Leah, she should not have to deal with that. She should be allowed to practice her profession and her art, and to be recognized as a talented actor who got a part because she merited getting the part, without dealing with this speculation of it was only this or it was only that — “It was a quota, It was wokeness,” whatever, blah, blah, blah. That didn’t sit well with me. I am first and foremost always a teacher, and that was a teachable moment. That was a moment that I needed to say, “OK, hold on. Let’s examine this, and let’s examine what you’re saying and why you’re saying it.” Racism, I believe, is not something we have or don’t have. That’s the wrong conversation. I think we’re all prone to that. I mean, to believe anything else is to ignore the entirety of human civilization. Racism, colorism, it’s always been with us. So it’s not helpful for us to say, “Oh, I’m not racist.” Of course we are. What the question really is, is do we recognize it? And do we work on it? Or do we deny it? Those are the choices. That’s the conversation I was trying to frame —this is clearly not a valid thing to attack a young girl who worked very hard, and was cast out of hundreds of other young actresses that we looked at, because she was so good at embodying the soul, the personality of that character. She shouldn’t have to deal with that. And I want her to know that I stand behind her 100 percent. The entire team of the Percy Jackson series stands behind her unconditionally.

The new series will consist of eight episodes and is due to arrive on Disney+ in 2024.  Back at the D23 Expo event in September, Disney revealed a first-look teaser of the upcoming show.

Rick Riordan and Jon Steinberg are serving as writers on the series, and James Bobin has directed the pilot. Steinberg will oversee the series with his producing partner Dan Shotz. Steinberg and Shotz serve as executive producers alongside Bobin, Riordan, Rebecca Riordan, Bert Salke, Monica Owusu-Breen, Jim Rowe, Anders Engström, Jet Wilkinson and The Gotham Group’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell and D.J. Goldberg.

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Roger Palmer

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. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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