Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) has normal problems—bad grades, bullies—and then some… not so normal problems. Like the harpy that shows up to disrupt a field trip, or the fact that his best friend suddenly has goat legs. “The stories that I told you about Greek gods and half bloods,” his mother (Virginia Kull) says, intensely, “they are real.”
That’s the basic premise of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, which is based on Rick Riordan’s beloved books and now coming to Disney+ in an adaptation from Black Sails co-creator John Steinberg and producer Dan Shotz. Riordan is deeply involved—in fact, he wrote the first two episodes. And based on what we see in this teaser, they sound just like the books.
Here’s the synopsis:
Percy Jackson & The Olympians tells the fantastical story of a 12-year-old modern demigod, Percy Jackson, who’s just coming to terms with his newfound supernatural powers when the sky god Zeus accuses him of stealing his master lightning bolt. Now Percy must trek across America to find it and restore order to Olympus.
Percy doesn’t make that trek alone; he’s got his best friends, Grover (Aryan Simhadri) and Annabeth (Leah Jeffries), for company. One is a satyr and the other a daughter of Athena, so they’ve got a range of skills and troubles of their own. And there are ever so many gods and monsters for them to meet, including Percy’s dad, Poseidon (Toby Stephens), Chiron (Glynn Turman), Ares (Adam Copeland), Hermes, (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Medusa (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Alecto (Megan Mullally), Zeus (the late Lance Reddick), Dionysus (Jason Mantzoukas), and Hades (Jay Duplass).
In a recent Entertainment Weekly piece, Percy Jackson creator Rick Riordan teased a certain aspect of the new adaptation: How, exactly, the show might incorporate Percy’s specific narrative voice: “In the books, Percy is always there right by us. He’s our narrator, he’s got this snarky kind of voice and you can’t really do that quite the same on screen. So we had to figure out ways to make that visual.” This teaser opens with Percy’s voiceover—and what seems to be his perspective on the shifting letters that make it hard for him to read. What this says for the rest of the series remains to be seen—hopefully in a longer trailer as the show nears its winter debut.
The quest begins with a two-episode premiere on Disney+ on December 20th.
This post was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.