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Percy Jackson and the Olympians Disney+ Cast, Release Date, Trailer, and Everything We Know So Far

Get a closer look at Walker Scobell as the titular character

Noelene Clark, Kat Moon

We're just a few weeks away from the launch of Disney+'s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. For a number of reasons — beginning with the involvement of author Rick Riordan himself — we're expecting this project to be a more faithful adaptation than the 2010 and 2013 films. 

The popular middle-grade book series follows a boy who discovers he's the son of a Greek god. Since the new Disney+ series has Riordan's full support, it means we'll get to see the world depicted in the way the author intended. And thanks to Disney announcements, we're getting regular updates from behind the scenes. 

Here's everything we know so far about Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+.

Walker Scobell, Percy Jackson & The Olympians

Walker Scobell, Percy Jackson & The Olympians


Percy Jackson and the Olympians latest news

On Nov. 16, Disney+ shared the official trailer for Percy Jackson and the Olympians. We are approaching premiere day!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians trailer

The official trailer for Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+ dropped on Nov. 16. It's the most comprehensive video so far, showing not only Walker Scobell's Percy and his companions Grover (Aryan Simhadri) and Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries), but also dozens of supporting characters and fabled monsters.

On Sept. 19, Disney dropped a longer teaser of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The video starts with narration from Percy. "Am I a troubled kid? Yeah, you could say that," he says. "Bad grade, bullies, all the normal stuff. And then there's some stuff that's maybe not so normal." Cue magical creatures, demigods, and a quest to recover the stolen Master Bolt. 

At Disney's massive D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, in September 2022, Riordan and the young stars of Percy Jackson and the Olympians unveiled the show's first teaser, which offers a glimpse of Percy as he walks through Camp Half-Blood, and a warning to viewers that will be familiar to fans of the book series. 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians at New York Comic Con 

At the Percy Jackson and the Olympians panel at New York Comic-Con on Oct. 15, showrunners and EPs Jon Steinberg and Dan Shotz spoke about collaborating with Rick Riordan and his wife Becky on creating the show. "I think it would be extraordinarily difficult to try to do [the series] justice, to do it right without the person who dreamed it," Steinberg said.

Shotz shared that during the pandemic, he and Steinberg talked daily with Rick and Becky Riordan about the show's development. The showrunner also expanded on the role that Rick played. "He was a part of the entire process," Shotz said. "He was with us in the writers room, casting, on set — Becky and Rick moved up there for most of the season in Vancouver." 

This process is entirely different from that of the the Percy Jackson movies. Riordan's book series was previously adapted for the big screen over a decade ago with the 2010 movie Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and its 2013 sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. The movies performed well at the box office but were widely panned by critics, and the scripts were publicly criticized by Riordan himself, who said he refused to watch the films because he didn't want to see his "life's work going through a meat grinder."

Shotz also shared how the Percy Jackson series became personal to him and Steinberg. "We're fathers, we have kids. My daughter, who's here, these books made her fall in love with reading," Shotz said. "And I know that so many people feel that way."

It's something James Bobin, who directed the first two episodes of the Disney+ series, saw firsthand. "My daughter studied Greek and Latin at school because of these books, so they have a huge influence in my life," he said. "And so to get the chance to bring this world from the page to the screen is such an incredible honor."

When is Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+ coming out?

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is set to premiere Dec. 20, 2023 on Disney+. Two episodes will be released on that day, followed by new episodes weekly. The first season of Percy Jackson and the Olympians will contain a total of eight episodes.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians cast

Unlike the 20th Century Fox movie Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and its sequel, the new Disney+ Percy Jackson and the Olympians show set out to cast actors in the same age range as the characters described in the first book — about 12 years old. (When the first movie was released in 2010, Logan Lerman was 18, Alexandra Daddario was 24, and Brandon T. Jackson was 26.) "The goal is to stay true to the original story and have Percy's character age from 12 to 16 over the course of the TV series, assuming of course we are lucky enough to make all five seasons," Rick Riordan wrote in a blog post announcing a preliminary casting call in April 2021.

Percy Jackson: A year after casting began, Riordan and Disney announced that Walker Scobell, who was 13 at the time, would play Percy Jackson. Scobell previously starred alongside Ryan Reynolds in the Netflix film The Adam Project, and appeared in Secret Headquarters, a superhero film also starring Owen Wilson, Michael Peña, and Jesse Williams. "It was obvious to me and the rest of the team that Walker had the perfect mix of comedic timing, sweetness, rebelliousness, snark and heroism to embody our hero Percy Jackson," Riordan wrote in a blog post announcing Scobell's casting. Scobell was already a "super-fan" of the books and happened to be wearing an orange Camp Half-Blood T-shirt when Riordan surprised him with the casting news.

Grover Underwood: In May 2022, it was announced that Aryan Simhadri would play Grover Underwood, Percy's best friend and protector, who happens to be a satyr. Simhadri, who was 15 at the time of the casting news, was no stranger to Disney. He previously starred in Disney+'s 2022 remake of Cheaper by the Dozen. His credits also include the likes of SEAL Team, Will & Grace, and Adventure Time: Distant Lands. "He had me laughing out loud with his delivery and timing," Riordan wrote in the casting announcement. "He has a mixture of sweetness, humor, and internal toughness that is perfect for our favorite satyr."

Annabeth Chase: In May 2022, it was announced that Leah Sava Jeffries will play Annabeth Chase, the brilliant strategist and daughter of the Greek goddess Athena who teams up with Percy at Camp Half-Blood and beyond. The actor, who was 13 at the time of casting, previously appeared on the small screen in Empire and Rel, and starred alongside Idris Elba and Sharlto Copley in the movie Beast. "She is a brilliant actor who can break our hearts, make us laugh, and have us cheering for her all in the same scene," Riordan wrote in a post announcing Jeffries' casting. "Leah is exactly the way I imagined Annabeth in the books: smart, strong, and courageous, a true daughter of Athena who has zero patience for the foolishness of a certain Seaweed Brain. Watching her act with Walker and Aryan, I saw Annabeth Chase come to life. As soon as you see her on the screen, you will know what I mean. The Wise Girl has arrived!"

Luke Castellan: Charlie Bushnell is playing Luke, the head of the Hermes cabin and a key player who helps set Percy off on his quest in The Lightning Thief. Bushnell previously appeared in The Diary of a Future President on Disney+.

Sally Jackson: Virginia Kull was cast as Percy Jackson's mom, Sally. "Her combination of strength, humor and, heart makes her just the Sally Jackson we need," Riordan wrote in the casting announcement in June 2022, adding, "In the table read for episode 101, her performance moved us to tears."

Mr. Brunner aka Chiron: Glynn Turman is playing Chiron, Percy's centaur mentor who begins the tale disguised as one of Percy's teachers, Mr. Brunner. Turman's prolific career includes notable performances in The WireHouse of Lies, and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. "Not only is he a multitalented actor, Glynn is also a champion rodeo cowboy who has run Camp Gid D Up in Southern California since 1992 to introduce inner-city and at-risk youth to horsemanship at a working ranch," Riordan wrote in June 2022. "In other words, he is the perfect Chiron, the immortal centaur and trainer of heroes at Camp Half-Blood."

Mrs. Dodds aka Alecto: Megan Mullally is playing Alecto, one of the Furies who stalk and torment Percy. When we first meet the character, she is disguised as an algebra teacher at Percy's school. Mullally's previous roles include Will & Grace, Bob's Burgers, Parks and Recreation, and many more.

Mr. D aka Dionysus: Jason Mantzoukas will play Camp Half-Blood director and god of wine Dionysus. Mantzoukas has previously appeared in Brooklyn Nine-NineThe Good PlaceInvincible, and other series. Riordan wrote in June 2022, "Self-described as '100% Greek,' Jason is the perfect guy to inhabit everyone's favorite grumpy wine god and head of camp, Dionysus."

Gabe Ugliano: Timm Sharp has been cast as Percy's scumbag stepfather, "Smelly Gabe." Sharp's credits include Enlightened and Six Feet Under, among others. "Timm had us laughing out loud with his take on Gabe Ugliano, and we can't wait to see him play stepdad to Walker Scobell's Percy Jackson," Riordan wrote in June 2022.

Clarisse LaRue: Dior Goodjohn will play Percy's Camp Half-Blood nemesis, Clarisse. Goodjohn has been acting since the age of 3 and landed the role of young Santana in Glee when she was 6. She has starred as Robyn Rook in HBO Max's Head of the Class and will next be seen in Are You Afraid of the Dark? on Nickelodeon. "As Clarisse LaRue, child of Ares, she is a strong-willed and competitive fighter who doesn't let much stand in the way of her winning. Intensely loyal to her close friends, she's also quite intimidating to newcomers — look out, Percy!" Riordan wrote in June 2022.

Nancy Bobofit: Thirteen-year-old Olivea Morton was cast as Nancy Bobofit, Percy's tormentor at Yancy Academy. The young actress previously appeared in several short films. Riordan announced the casting in June 2022.

Medusa: Jessica Parker Kennedy is playing the snake-haired gorgon who tries to turn Percy and his friends into stone. Kennedy is best known for playing Nora West-Allen in The Flash on The CW. According to her character description, Medusa is "wronged by the gods and bitter. Medusa lives in isolation until travelers stumble on her emporium. She is welcoming to some and a threat to others," per Variety. Riordan wrote, "I can tell you this is one Aunty Em you do not want to mess with. Her poised, powerful, elegant take on Medusa blew me away! And wait until you see some of the statuary in her Garden Gnome Emporium."

Ares: Adam Copeland is playing Ares, the belligerent god of war. Copeland, of course, is best known for being WWE Hall of Famer Edge, but he's also starred in shows like Haven and Vikings. Ares is described as "handsome in a wicked way and arrogant, despite not always being the sharpest tool in the shed. He loves conflict and acts as an agent of chaos wherever he goes," according to Variety. Riordan gave Copeland a glowing endorsement, writing, "I knew Adam was our Ares as soon as I saw his audition tape. He absolutely nailed it... This guy IS Ares the way I imagined him in the Percy Jackson series. He obviously knew the part, loved it, and was having WAY too much fun being the god of war. He even got a Harley-Davidson motorcycle so he could practice riding and get into character. That is commitment! Can't wait to see him go mano a mano with Percy Jackson? Me neither!"

Echidna: Suzanne Cryer is playing Echidna, the so-called Mother of Monsters. Cryer, whose credits include Straight ManShameless, and Silicon Valley, is "an incredible actor who brought menace and magic to her portrayal of Echidna," Riordan wrote. "Percy and the gang have their work cut out for them when they go toe-to-toe with this primordial force of nature, along with her favorite little monster baby... who may not actually be a chihuahua." Echidna is described as "dangerous, intimidating, and strangely maternal. She enjoys her task of challenging heroes and will test Percy's faith in the gods," Variety reported.

Hermes: Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton and composer behind Disney's Encanto, is playing Hermes, the shrewd god of messengers, commerce, and thieves. Although Hermes doesn't appear until the second book, The Sea of Monsters, Riordan explained, "When you see the episode in question, it will make sense why we introduced Hermes early." Riordan said that after writing Hermes into the show, he couldn't get Miranda's voice out of his head, and reached out to him about playing the character, assuming it was a long shot. "I knew he would be the perfect person to bring Hermes to life in all his complex glory," Riordan wrote. Miranda agreed. Riordan wrote that he "delivered a performance that ignites the screen."

Zeus: Lance Reddick, who passed away in March 2023, will appear in the series as Zeus. "I met Lance on set just a few months ago, and he could not have been more wonderful and welcoming. His gravitas and regal bearing made him perfect for the king of the gods, but from what I could tell, in person he was nothing like the blustery and distant sky god," Riordan wrote in a post. "He had a marvelous and quirky sense of humor. He was thoughtful, caring, and piercingly perceptive. He was a multi-faceted artist who elevated every part he played from Cedric Daniels in The Wire to Charon in John Wick to Zeus in our own show."

Riordan had previously written about different gods' appearances in the upcoming season. "Not all 12 Olympian gods appear in book one, so not all gods will appear in Season 1, nor have all gods been cast yet," Riordan said in November. "Actors have to be cast based on scripts, and scripts have to be written one season at a time. Aphrodite, for instance, probably won't appear until Season 3, assuming we're lucky enough to get a Season 3, so that casting is at least 2-3 years away. Apollo and Artemis, same thing. Hestia, Hera, and Demeter probably wouldn't appear until Season 5."

On Nov. 11, 2022, Riordan put to rest any speculation that the stars of the Percy Jackson movies will be cast in different roles in the show. Some fans on social media had been calling for Logan Lerman, who played Percy in the films, to be cast as Percy's father, Poseidon, in the show, and for Alexandra Daddario, who played Annabeth, to play her mother, Athena.

"What about actors from the original movie adaptations?" Riordan wrote. "The answer should not surprise you if you've read anything I've said about the movies over the last decade, but I'll say this again: A lot of wonderful, talented actors were involved in those movies. I have been quite open about my feelings concerning the adaptations, but that is no fault of the actors, whom I have enjoyed watching in many other great screen productions. That said, the whole point of me being involved in the TV show is to make sure this is a completely different production and a fresh start for Percy Jackson. That means an entirely new cast putting their own spin on the characters, and it's important for the cast and crew that they have a clean slate to work from. Because of that, there will be no crossover casting between the movies and the new TV show. This must be and will be its own thing."

Percy Jackson casting controversy

The casting announcement for the series' three young leads was widely celebrated, with many fans sharing GIFs and fan art online to express their excitement. But a small group responded by criticizing the casting of Jeffries, who is Black, as Annabeth Chase, who is described as white in the novels, and attacking the young actress on TikTok, resulting in her account being banned.

On May 10, Rick Riordan condemned the racist backlash and defended the actress as "perfect" for the role. "If you have a problem with this casting," Riordan wrote on his website, "take it up with me. You have no one else to blame. … We should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong."

He added, "You refuse to believe me, the guy who wrote the books and created these characters, when I say that these actors are perfect for the roles because of the talent they bring and the way they used their auditions to expand, improve, and electrify the lines they were given. Once you see Leah as Annabeth, she will become exactly the way you imagine Annabeth, assuming you give her that chance, but you refuse to credit that this may be true. You are judging her appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks. She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white. Friends, that is racism."

Riordan also praised Jeffries' acting chops, writing, "Leah brings so much energy and enthusiasm to this role, so much of Annabeth's strength. She will be a role model for new generations of girls who will see in her the kind of hero they want to be."

Jeffries spoke out against the harassment in an Instagram Live video, saying, "To whoever is hating, stop doing that. I know you think that's gonna hurt me, though… it's not. You're just wasting time. I'm still confident in myself. Everyone else is confident, everyone else is happy for me. So don't try to bring me down. It's not gonna work."

And former Annabeth actress Alexandra Daddario also expressed her support for Jeffries on Twitter, writing, "Leah Jeffries is going to be an incredible Annabeth!!!"

Percy Jackson and the Olympians source material

Rick Riordan's five-book middle-grade series centers on Percy, a 12-year-old boy who discovers he's the son of a Greek god. He winds up at a summer camp for fellow demigods, where he learns more about his lineage and how to use his newfound powers. But when Percy is framed for stealing Zeus's lightning bolt, he and his friends embark on a frantic journey to find the real thief to prevent an all-out war between the gods.

"The filming has followed the book story very closely, almost as if the author were involved himself!" Riordan wrote in an Aug. 13 blog post. "Sure, there are small tweaks and changes here and there, which were mutually agreed upon, but the biggest difference is the 'value added.' You will get peeks at character backstory, foreshadowing Easter eggs of things to come, and nuances in Percy's family history that I think you will love. The neat thing about revisiting this tale, almost 20 years after I first wrote it, is that I get to address some of the questions that fans have asked me over the years: 'What does this mean?' 'Why does this happen the way it does?' 'What would happen if —?' It's been really satisfying and fun."

Percy Jackson & The Olympians on Disney+


Behind the scenes

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is the first production to use Industrial Light & Magic's brand new StageCraft LED stage, which features a 95-foot LED screen, per The Hollywood Reporter. "Based on the groundbreaking technology that created The Mandalorian, our new Volume stage is an even more cutting-edge version of that wraparound virtual environment," Riordan wrote on his website on June 28. "We are using it for things that have never been attempted before, creating settings so realistic that if we do it right, you should never be able to guess which scenes were done on location and which were done on the stage."

In the books, Percy Jackson's birthday is on Aug. 18, and Disney+ celebrated the occasion in a big way. The Empire State Building in New York City — the setting of a pivotal scene and the location of Olympus itself in the first novel — was illuminated with blue lights in honor of Percy and his Olympian parent, Poseidon.

In a post on his website in October 2022, Rick Riordan gave an update on the filming progress, revealing that the production filmed up to the events of Chapter 16 in the first book, though filming doesn't necessarily follow a strict chronological order. (Chapter 16, as book fans know, is "We Take a Zebra to Vegas." The book contains 22 chapters in total.) "I have full input in everything that happens, and I have been delighted by the results so far," he wrote. "It's a huge relief, after waiting so many years and working so hard, to watch a sort-of final product and think, 'Oh, thank the gods. This works!'"

Riordan detailed the production and post-production process to his readers, noting that principal photography will likely continue through mid-January, and that early episodes have been cut, but that the bulk of post-production, including time-consuming visual effects, has yet to occur. "We are now planning the end of the season — the episodes that will bring home the action described in The Lightning Thief," he wrote. "The scripts are all finished, but of course they will be changed many times until the scenes are actually filmed. Rest assured I read every draft of every script and give input whenever needed."

Riordan shared photos from actress Leah Sava Jeffries' 13th birthday celebration on set, including a photo that offers a peek at an accessory that her character, Annabeth Chase, is never without. Check out the photo of Jeffries opening a birthday present, but see if you can spot Annabeth's magic Yankees cap in the photo below.

Leah Sava Jeffries on set of Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Leah Sava Jeffries on set of Percy Jackson and the Olympians


Where to watch Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Percy Jackson and the Olympians will be released on Disney+.