By: Julia Sikorski
*Warning: Minor spoilers
On May 14, 2022, Rick Riordan officially announced that a long-awaited television series adaptation was in the works for the beloved ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians.’ Produced by Disney, season one will cover the events of ‘The Lightning Thief.’
This will not be the first Riordan adaptation. Fox released two ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ movies in 2010 and 2013, but the changed plot lines and aged characters failed to satisfy fans. Since then, readers have clamored for a book-accurate adaptation to give the stories what they deserve.
For those unaware, ‘The Lightning Thief’ was originally written in 2005 by Rick Riordan as the first installment of the ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ books. The five-book series launched Riordan’s highly successful career.
‘The Lightning Thief’ follows twelve-year-old Percy Jackson, who has spent his whole life trying to be a “good” kid. Despite his efforts, however, something has always gone wrong. Shuffled from school to school, he has never lasted at any of them for more than a year. It doesn’t help that his stepfather, Gabe, is abusive towards Percy and his mom, Sally Jackson. Percy never knew his birth father.
When—yet again—Percy works himself in an unexplainable situation at his current boarding school, it seems to be the final domino in an invisible row. Sally tells Percy that it’s time he went to the one place he’ll be truly safe: summer camp. Percy finds this an odd decision. But Camp Half Blood is no ordinary summer camp.
Percy soon finds himself at the heart of events that can be traced back centuries…to Ancient Greece. The gods are still very much alive, and they are angry. With the help of both new friends and old, the responsibility for setting wrongs right falls on Percy’s shoulders. He just has to hope that he isn’t too late.
After several exciting updates, including an open casting call and reassuring confirmations that the writing was going well, Rick Riordan announced who our main hero would be played by. Walker Scobell—who played young Adam in ‘The Adam Project’— joined production on April 11, 2022. Scobell’s casting was followed by those of Leah Sava Jeffries (Annabeth Chase) and Aryan Simhadri (Grover Underwood).
Since then, the cast has expanded to include Virginia Kull (Sally Jackson), Jason Mantzoukas (Mr. D), Megan Mullally (Mrs. Dobbs), Glynn Turman (Chiron), Timm Sharp (Gabe Ugliano), Olivea Morton (Nancy Bobofit), Dior Goodjohn (Clarisse LaRue), Charlie Bushnell (Luke Castellan), Jessica Parker Kennedy (Medusa), Suzanne Cryer (Echidna), Adam Copeland (Ares), and most recently, Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hermes).
Rick Riordan revealed on June 28, 2022, that the show will be of exceptional technical quality. As stated on his website, “[the show has] partnered with Industrial Light and Magic to build a new Volume stage […] one of the most advanced production stages in the world.” Viewers can likely look forward to fantastical visual effects, costumes, and sound design.
Overall, Riordan seems to be pleased with the shape that the television series is taking. He and his wife, Becky, are both producers, and Riordan has expressed that the production team as a whole is “A group that knows the books, understands the importance of making longtime (and brand new) readers happy, but also making a show that feels fresh and surprising in the best ways.”
Filming is currently taking place in Vancouver, Canada and is expected to run through mid-January, with an uncertain release date of early 2024. Season one will consist of eight episodes.
There are high hopes all around for this television series, and I look forward to seeing whether they will be met. Until ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ is released, you can watch Disney’s teaser for the show on YouTube, linked below.
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