Updated: Dec. 4, 2023 – Percy Jackson and the Olympians is almost here! The Disney+ original fantasy series, adapted from the books by Rick Riordan, premieres Wednesday, Dec. 20 with its first two episodes. We can anticipate an eight episode run for the show’s freshman outing. A renewal for a season 2 hasn’t been announced ahead of its debut, but we’re expecting the coming of age adventure to make quite the splash on the streamer.
For those who haven’t read the books (which stands at six total, the latest The Chalice of the Gods released in September of this year), let’s get you familiar with Percy’s story. He’s a 12 year old boy on the cusp of teenagehood who must contend with the fact that he’s a modern demigod. But as he’s adjusting to his new supernatural powers and life at Camp Half-Blood, Percy also has to deal with an accusation lodged against him by Zeus. The sky god believes the preteen stole his lightning bolt as such Percy must go on a cross country journey to find it.
Thankfully, he’s not alone in this quest. With the help of his friends Grover and Annabeth, Percy will strive to restore order to Olympus by retrieving the bolt. But along the way he’ll encounter perils and trials he could have never imagined. Sounds like a good time, right?
We’ll be buckled into this plot until January on Disney+ with each Wednesday bringing an even more exciting episode for us to dive into. Here’s the Percy Jackson and the Olympians release schedule:
- Episode 1: “I Accidentally Vaporized My Pre-Algebra Teacher” – Wednesday, Dec. 20
- Episode 2: “I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom” – Dec. 20
- Episode 3: “We Visit the Garden Gnome Emporium” – Dec. 27
- Episode 4: “I Plunge to My Death” – Jan. 3, 2024
- Episode 5: “A God Buys Us Cheeseburgers” – Jan. 10
- Episode 6: “We Take a Zebra to Vegas” – Jan. 17
- Episode 7: “We Find Out the Truth, Sort Of” – Jan. 24
- Episode 8: “The Prophecy Comes True” – Jan. 31
If you’re a parent wondering if your kids can watch the series, they can! While your younger children may be frightened by some of the sequences shown, your preteens and teens will be just fine streaming the program. According to IMDb, it’s rated TV-PG and, while a full list of rating warnings hasn’t been released, we can share that there is fantasy violence.
Defined as the depiction of violent actions involving human or non-human characters, fantasy violence is labeled as such because it can be easily distinguished from real life. Percy’s world is based on ours but it’s also deeply steeped in Greek mythology and incorporates beings and creatures from that religion and cultural framework.
As seen in the trailer, the series also contains instances of bullying, intense, perilous sequences, and children being taught how to fight with weapons such as swords and bows and arrows. Each episode will have a runtime of one hour.
For those not in the know, this isn’t the first time Percy Jackson’s story has had a live-action adaptation. ’90s and ’00s kids alike may remember the film series starring Logan Lerman. They weren’t well received by critics, fans, or Rick Riordan who’d said the following about the film adaptations:
"Well, to you guys, it’s a couple hours’ entertainment. To me, it’s my life’s work going through a meat grinder when I pleaded with them not to do it. So yeah. But it’s fine. All fine. We’re gonna fix it soon."
He was referencing his, and Rebecca Riordan’s, involvement with the Disney+ series when he saying, “we’re going to fix it soon.” They’re heavily involved, serving as executive producers. Rick wrote the first two episodes and episode 5 with showrunner and executive producer Jon Steinberg. The author also chronicled the process on his website and Instagram.
Filming on Percy Jackson and the Olympians took place from June 2, 2022 to Feb. 2, 2023. The series was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. Filming also took place utilizing a StageCraft LED stage by Industrial Light & Magic which features a 95-foot LED screen.
If you’re hoping to see the stars of the film adaptation cameo in the series, we’re going to swiftly disavow you of the notion that that’s going to happen. In Nov. 2022, Riordan posted to his blog that “…there will be no crossover casting between the movies and the new TV show. This must be and will be its own thing.” So, neither Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson nor anyone else from the movies will be making an appearance.
The cast is as follows:
- Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson
- Aryan Simhadri as Grover Underwood
- Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase
- Virginia Kull as Sally Jackson
- Jason Mantzoukas as Mr. D / Dionysus
- Megan Mullally as Mrs. Dodds / Alecto
- Glynn Turman as Mr. Brunner / Chiron
- Timm Sharp as Gabe Ugliano
- Olivea Morton as Nancy Bobofit
- Dior Goodjohn as Clarisse LaRue
- Charlie Bushnell as Luke Castellan
- Jessica Parker Kennedy as Medusa
- Suzanne Cryer as Echidna
- Adam Copeland as Ares
- Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hermes
- Jay Duplass as Hades
- Timothy Omundson as Hephaestus
- Lance Reddick as Zeus – The actor passed on March 17, 2023
- Toby Stephens as Poseidon
The cast list for Percy Jackson and the Olympians has quite a few familiar names but it’s Walker Scobell, Leah Jeffries, and Aryan Simhadri who are leading the show. Unfortunately, early on in the process of cast being announced, Jeffries had to deal with racist backlash online over her casting as Annabeth Chase.
The young actress is Black and the character of Annabeth is white in the books. Rick Riordan had expressed that all actors chosen to be in the series had been selected because they embodied the spirit of the characters and that during the casting process they didn’t feel beholden to the descriptions in the books.
There was quite a bit of racism and vitriol thrown at Jeffries online, so much so that older Black actresses–like Candice Patton, Anna Diop, and Javicia Leslie–who’d experienced the same level of push back and harassment when they were cast in genre series, rallied around her. Riordan also called out supposed fans who were attacking the preteen.
With the backlash hopefully behind us as we head closer to the premiere, young and older viewers alike will get to see how Percy Jackson’s world is brought to life and how this trio of actors, and the rest of the cast, have captured the essence of the book characters.
If we all tune in, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is highly likely to get a renewal for a second season. Riordan shared back in March 2023 that the writers room for season 2 had opened. Of course, a couple months later the writers went on strike but at the time the author gave fans a sneak peek at what was being discussed:
"Meanwhile, we have started work on the writers’ room for season two. This does NOT mean the second season has been green-lit yet. It’s too early for that. But we have been approved to start developing scripts, and I think everyone’s expectation is that a second season will happen if all goes as planned. It sure is exciting to be part of the room, though. We’ve broken down the action of the second Percy Jackson book, The Sea of Monsters, into a series of episodes, and have begun outlining what the first episodes would look like.I love imagining the introduction of Tyson, our favorite Cyclops, and it’s so helpful to picture our amazing actors in their on-going roles as I am visualizing the season. A bigger role for Clarisse LaRue, the incredible Dior Goodjohn? Yes, please. More Luke Castellan, aka Charlie Bushnell? Sign me up. Percy (Walker), Grover (Aryan), and Annabeth (Leah) braving the scenes from the second novel . . . I can’t wait. And Party Ponies! While we were filming season one, I explained to Glynn Turman (Chiron) who the Party Ponies were, and he laughed and laughed. He said, “I think I have some friends I could call.” Can’t wait to see that scene!My usual disclaimer: This is all HYPOTHETICAL at this point. We have big plans, but nothing is green-lit (past the writers room) and nothing is set in stone. Fingers crossed, though, the first season does as well as we hope, and leads to an even greater second! I continue to be in the writers’ room every day, weighing in on every creative decision."
We’ll keep you posted as more news comes in about a potential season 2. Stay tuned to Hidden Remote! Percy Jackson and the Olympians premieres Wednesday, Dec. 20 on Disney+.