The Percy Jackson books are beloved by an entire generation of Millennials, but the franchise hasn’t yet received the justice it deserves on the big screen. While the Logan Lerman-starring adaptations of The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters are fun, they’re not particularly “good” movies, and fail to capture why the books connect with so many readers around the world. Luckily, Percy Jackson is getting a new chance at life, thanks to a new Disney+ TV show currently in development.
The Percy Jackson TV series was first announced in May 2020 following a fan campaign and renewed interest in the book franchise. Since then, we’ve only heard a bit about the show, but it appears production is already in full swing.
Here’s everything we know about the upcoming show, and why you should be excited for a return to the world of Percy Jackson.
The Percy Jackson TV show doesn’t have the ‘green light’ yet
In a new blog post dated March 7, 2021, series creator Rick Riordan outlined the current status of the show. According to him, there is no official ‘green light’ for the Percy Jackson TV show yet, but the pilot script is complete and currently being passed through the Disney exec chain.
As of early March, the project is in full production and next steps are being planned, including what the entire first season will look like, who the directors might be and how casting will work.
Riordan says it’s a long process, and it’ll likely be a few more months before any kind of game plan is finalised.
As we’ve already seen with the Lizzie McGuire reboot, even announced plans aren’t for certain. But Riordan and his crew seem confident they can pull off the Percy Jackson magic.
Its current status means there is currently no release date for the Percy Jackson TV show.
It’s a complete reboot of the films
As you might’ve heard, the original films weren’t particularly well-received by fans, or Riordan himself.
While Logan Lerman made for an interesting Percy, the general consensus is these films were poorly scripted and wasted budget on big-name actors that were mostly unused. (Uma Therman as Medusa and Pierce Brosnan as Chiron come to mind.) Lerman was also too old for the role.
Rather than being a spin-off or a follow-up, the Disney+ TV show will completely recast and rewrite the franchise based on the events of the books, not the movies.
Unlike the films, Rick Riordan is heavily involved
The key difference with the TV reboot, and the fact that’s giving fans hope, is that Rick Riordan is heavily involved with the Disney+ TV adaptation.
Becky Riordan, who runs the popular @camphalfblood Twitter page, indicated the pilot script had been completed by Rick and the team on November 24, with further work to be done as the series gets closer to being green lit.
Throughout the process, both Riordans have provided frequent updates on production along the way. It’s rare to see the inner workings of a TV show as its being made, but everyone involved has been delightfully transparent so far.
The first season is based on The Lightning Thief
In the blog post outlining what’s to come for the Percy Jackson TV series, Rick Riordan stated the show’s first season would follow the plot of the first book in the franchise, The Lightning Thief.
That means the series will have a lot of ground to cover, including:
- The lore of Camp Half-Blood
- Percy’s inheritance as a son of Poseidon
- The grand theft of Zeus’ lightning
- Visiting Hades
- Fighting Medusa, the Furies and the Chimera
…and everything else that happens in the action-packed story.
Should the series receive a full order, it’s likely the show will be just as fast-paced and frantic as the original story.
The team is looking for an age-appropriate Percy
Logan Lerman did a great job as Percy Jackson in the original films, but the fact is he was wrong for the role from the start.
In the first book, Percy Jackson is just 12 years old — and as the books go on, he grows up and matures. It makes the series an incredibly intricate coming of age tale, and it’s important to realise this with the casting decisions. It’s also important to consider that the Percy Jackson franchise was originally written with young kids in mind.
There’s numerous talented young actors out there, and Riordan is committed to the original vision behind his books. That includes casting younger and lesser known actors in the main roles.
Riordan wants the budget to be as big as WandaVision or The Mandalorian
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and its subsequent books are high-budget adventures.
They feature all manner of mythical creatures, giant set-pieces and magical powers. It means if the series gets a green light, Disney will need to go ‘all in’ with the show’s budget to make it as believable and beautiful as it can be.
“Good TV ain’t cheap. Quality-wise, this has to stand toe-to-toe with Disney+ hits like WandaVision and Mandalorian,” said Riordan in his March blog update.
While this hasn’t been ‘confirmed’ as some outlets have reported, it is an important ask for the show. Practical effects can certainly make Percy Jackson shine, but it’ll need a significant amount of CGI wizardry to make it look grand. Here’s hoping Disney is willing to invest as much time and effort as they put into WandaVision and The Mandalorian to make it happen.
Percy deserves it, after all.
The Percy Jackson TV series is coming to Disney+ at some point in the near future. You can currently catch the original films on the streaming platform for a quick refresher on why it’s time for a reboot.
Stay tuned to Gizmodo Australia for all the latest updates from Percy Jackson and all the other projects coming your way over the next few months and years.