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Rick Riordan Shares Update on Percy Jackson Disney+ Adaptation

NEW YORK – Author Rick Riordan gave an update on the Disney+ adaptation of his popular Percy Jackson series which is based on Greek mythology, Screen Rant reported on September 23. “The series will be based on Riordan's bestselling novels following the children of the Greek gods of Olympus in the modern-day,” Screen Rant reported, adding that “Riordan first confirmed the series was in production in May 2020 following discussions with Disney.”

“The first season of the Disney+ series will adapt the first book in Riordan's Percy Jackson pentalogy, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” Screen Rant reported, noting that “the book introduced audiences to young Percy Jackson, who after a series of encounters with creatures of Greek myths, learns he is the demigod son of Poseidon. Together with his friend and Satyr, Grover, as well as fellow Demigod Annabeth, he must find Zeus's stolen master lightning bolt in a journey across America.” Riordan posted on his personal website: “The latest: The writers’ room for PJOTV is working on outlines and scripts for the first half of the first season, which is what we need to get approved before our official ‘green light.’ The hope is to have those done shortly after the New Year, but that is just my own estimation. It is not an official date. Assuming that happens (and I think it will) things should start to move into full production mode in the spring, including casting, and filming could begin as soon as next summer 2022. Again, this is simply my own best guess right now. You should not take that as the final word!

“Even before we get that green light, however, we are forging ahead with the assumption that this show will get made. The writing for the first season, which follows the plot of The Lightning Thief, is sketched out from start to finish and the writers are doing a terrific job putting everything into script format. We meet for two hours almost every day (via Zoom) I am involved in every conversation, every draft. Even though we are basing everything on the novel, there is still a ton of work to do turning this into a TV show. As I’ve shared with you before, it’s like using the Star Trek transporter to break down the story on a molecular level, send it across space, then reassemble it on the surface of an alien planet and hope it looks the same! The team we have in place is so good though, I’m feeling optimistic. We are also moving ahead on numerous fronts for pre-production, like locking in concept artists, VFX producers, line directors, and all those important people who work behind the scenes to make the show a reality.”

According to Screen Rant, “Riordan's positive words on the series are a stark contrast to his thoughts on the film, which he admits he hasn't seen due to their handling of his story,” adding that “20th Century Fox acquired the film rights to the series of books in 2004, bringing in Harry Potter director Chris Columbus to direct the adaptation in 2007.” Riordan “had expressed his disappointment at changes made to the story to make the film more appealing to a teen demographic, with the author fearing the studio would alienate the established audience they'd hoped to attract,” Screen Rant reported, noting that “while the film was successful at the box office, it received a mixed response, and Riordan has since publicly criticized the film since its release.”

“Though the Percy Jackson Disney+ series is still early in production, Riordan's praise is a positive sign for fans of the books,” Screen Rant reported, adding that “the author has been open about previous adaptations and has promised to do right where the films previously failed” and “this can already be seen with the casting of the lead role, where Riordan has stated he is looking for a cast who can more accurately reflect how the character's appeared in the original books.”

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