Percy Jackson and the Olympians EP answers whether Zeus will be recast

Lance Reddick was spectacular as Zeus in Percy Jackson and the Olympians but how will the producers handle the actor's sudden passing?
Lance Reddick as Zeus in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Image: Disney+.
Lance Reddick as Zeus in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Image: Disney+. /

Percy Jackson and the Olympians wrapped up Season 1 by finally showing the father of the Gods, Zeus. But how will a possible Season 2 handle the loss of Lance Reddick? Here’s what we know?

Caution: This article contains SPOILERS for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1 finale.

Throughout the first season adapting Rick Riordan’s novels, Precy (Walker Scobell) has been hunting for the lost thunderbolt of Zeus, which could start a war between the gods. In a major departure from the books (one that Riordan signed off on), Percy and his friends miss the deadline to find it, and thus Zeus and Percy’s dad, Poseidon (Toby Stephens), go to war. 

Percy discovered this whole thing was a plot by Kronos to set the gods against each other so he could wipe them out. Over Annabeth’s objections, Percy took the thunderbolt to Olympus to meet Zeus (Lance Reddick) and try to stop the war. As it happened, Zeus was aware of Kronos’s actions but believed he could handle them. 

Percy called Zeus out on how his arrogance caused this mess, with Zeus ready to kill him before Poseidon offered himself up to save his son. It was a spectacular moment for the show, with Reddick fantastic in the part. This makes it all the more tragic that it’s the last time fans will see this amazing actor. 

What will the Percy Jackson producers do with Zeus?

The Percy Jackson producers were just as rocked as everyone when Lance Reddick suddenly passed away of heart disease at the age of 60 in March 2023. He had just wrapped up his work on the series and was expected to return as Zeus for a possible Season 2. The finale included a special tribute to him. 

Speaking to Variety, showrunner Jon Steinberg praised Reddick’s performance for making the entire role work. 

"He is so — was so regal, and able to convey so many different things at the same time. To stand on stage and do a very theatrical monologue, but feel so grounded. The population of actors who can do those things, and then also just be the sweetest person and great with the kids he’s acting with — heartbreaking is the right word. It was a perfect fit in a very hard-to-fit role, and he went way too soon."

Jon Steinberg

As for how they would handle Zeus in Season 2, Steinberg pointed out that when filming the drama Black Sails, they had to recast the character of Dufresne when original actor Jannes Eiselen contracted terminal brain cancer. They do note that if Season 2 adapts the second book in the series, The Sea of Monsters, Zeus wouldn’t appear yet, giving them more time. 

"Fortunately, we have a little bit of time. Even once the process gets started, we don’t see Zeus again for a little bit, so we’ll have a minute to try to find the right fit. It’s not ideal, but certainly, I think his mark on that role will be felt with whoever steps into his shoes. It’s a tall order for anybody to try to live up to the performance of somebody else and, like Dan said, step into a family and not be so haunted by the shadow of this person you’re replacing. It’s a weird vibe. I don’t think anybody’s looking forward to that, to be honest, but we’ll do the best we can to make sure that you feel him in whatever that character is moving forward."

Jon Steinberg

Right now, Disney has yet to make an announcement if Percy Jackson will get a second season or not. While it would be tempting to retire the role in Reddick’s honor, Zeus does play a large part in the later books and would require a new actor to handle it. 

As of now, fans can watch Percy Jackson and the Olympians to see the final role of a fantastic actor and a fitting tribute to Lance Reddick’s legacy.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1 streaming on Disney+.