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SYFY WIRE Percy Jackson

Thank gods! Disney+ officially greenlights 'Percy Jackson' TV series from author Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson book author Rick Riordan will write co-write the pilot episode and serve as an executive producer.

By Josh Weiss
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Praise Zeus! Disney+ has officially handed down the greenlight for a TV series based on Rick Riordan's best-selling Percy Jackson novels. The author made the announcement in a special video message posted to the streaming platform's YouTube channel Tuesday (shown below).

In addition to letting rabid fans know that the project — which has been in development for nearly two years — is finally moving forward, Riordan also revealed that James Bobin (The Muppets, Dora and the Lost City of Gold) has been tapped to direct the pilot episode. Casting is currently underway, though there's no word on when production is slated to begin.

“The wait is over, demigods!" the writer exclaimed. "I am thrilled to be the first to tell you that Percy Jackson and the Olympians is really, truly, and for sure coming to your screens. The smart folks at Disney+ have given us the greenlight and the best part is, James Bobin is on board as our pilot director. James is a terrific person and also an incredibly talented director who recently directed the pilot for Disney+’s The Mysterious Benedict Society, which I loved. James knows the Percy Jackson books well — his kids are fans, so we’re in great hands. Thanks to all of you for your excitement about this series, it’s gonna be great.”

“The opportunity to deliver a new fantastical series based on the bestselling book franchise to audiences around the world is thrilling and we look forward to what our partners at 20th Television, Disney Branded Television, and the ingenious Rick Riordan have in store for demigods everywhere,” added Michael Paull, President of Disney Streaming.

Check out the announcement below:

Riordan and Jon Steinberg (Black Sails) will co-write the pilot, with the latter showrunning alongside regular producing partner, Dan Shotz. All three are serving as executive producers alongside Bobin, Rebecca Riordan, Bert Salke, Monica Owusu-Breen, Jim Rowe, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Jeremy Bell, and D.J. Goldberg. 

"With Rick Riordan, Jon Steinberg, and Dan Shotz leading our creative team, we're deep into creating a compelling TV series worthy of the heroic mythological characters that millions of Percy Jackson readers know are well-worth caring about, and we're eager to invite Disney+ audiences into stories that are true to the blockbuster franchise and full of anticipation, humor, surprise, and mystery," said Ayo Davis, President of Disney Branded Television.

Published by Disney's Hyperion imprint, Riordan's YA books spin a modern myth around Percy Jackson, a 12-year-old boy who discovers that he is the son of Greek deity Poseidon. This revelation leads him to a camp where other demigods live and hone the divine skills gifted to them by their parents. Season 1 will adapt the first novel, 2005's The Lightning Thief, in which Zeus accuses Percy of stealing his master lightning bolt. Not wanting to face the wrath of a literal god, the hero-in-training must travel across the United States with two companions — Annabeth Chase (daughter of Athena) and Grover (a satyr) — to defeat monsters, find the bolt, clear his name, and save Mount Olympus.

The Lightning Thief was followed by four sequels: The Sea of Monsters (2006), The Titan's Curse (2007), The Battle of the Labyrinth (2008), and The Last Olympian (2009). The first two novels were adapted for the big screen in 2010 and 2013 to middling results. Despite the involvement of director Chris Columbus, 20th Century Fox was unable to launch a Harry Potter-level franchise. Percy, Annabeth, and other beloved characters returned in a follow-up collection of five novels — Heroes of Olympus — released between 2010 and 2014.

“Bringing Rick Riordan’s brilliant Percy Jackson books to Disney+ as a television series has been a mission for so many of us at this company as well as for Rick himself, and Jon, Dan, James and the excellent team they have assembled have proven to be the perfect collaborators," concluded Karey Burke, President of 20th Television. "Thanks to our friends at Disney Branded Television led by Ayo, and Disney Streaming led by Michael, this will be an adaptation for the ages, with all the excitement, action, and mythology fans of the books expect and love."

Beyond the world of Percy Jackson, Riordan also has two more YA series inspired by Ancient Egyptian and Norse mythologies. The former — known as The Kane Chronicles — is currently being developed into a film property at Netflix.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief Book Cover