Later this month audiences will once again get the chance to watch Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Grover Underwood embark on a quest from Camp Half-Blood to retrieve Zeus’ Master Bolt. It’s a story of perseverance, friendship, family, self acceptance, and choosing our own fate that both embraces and respectfully adapts the book series while building upon the captivating story and characters that were already there.
That’s right: Percy Jackson and the Olympians‘ Disney+ premiere is approaching, with less than a week to wait now, and after seeing what the premiere episodes have to offer I’m more excited than ever to see what the rest of the series has in store. If you’re already a fan of the franchise, I think you will be too once you’ve watched the first two episodes.
First and foremost, the series format works for a story like Percy Jackson because it allows the story to take its time to build where it needs to, allowing the script and cast to develop the characters and their stories in a depth that allows audiences to connect with them more than a movie provides due to time constraints. With episode titles pulled directly from the book chapters, the story becomes naturally broken up in a way that flows together cohesively, giving each piece of this story its own time in the spotlight. The script is clever with great applications of emotional depth and humor to find a well-constructed balance — funny and light enough to keep younger audiences interested while still being plenty engaging and deep for adults, already showcasing the valuable lessons the series hopes to instill in the children who will learn from Percy, Annabeth, and Grover.
Overall there’s fantastic design work in what I’ve seen so far, a consistency of Disney+ projects of late. I’m already looking forward to more time in Camp Half-Blood, a set that genuinely feels as though it was pulled directly from the pages detail by detail to create a setting that is both real and mythic. The wonder is found in both the magic and the mundane, and watching such an amazing story unfold in a world that feels just within reach adds to what is already such a special story. Details were obviously cared for when it comes to such a central location like this, and I’m eager to see what the series has to offer in terms of grander sets like the Underworld and Olympus in the future. In a series like Percy Jackson and the Olympians where there is a cornucopia of creatures and beings to design, CGI is vital to success. Fortunately, the team that worked on the series brought designs to life that genuinely look realistic.
At the head of it all is the starring cast — Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson, Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth Chase, and Aryan Simhadri as Grover Underwood. Each of these young actors brings their character to the screen with grace and charm, both embracing the established personalities written by Rick Riordan and bringing bits of themselves to the table to enhance what are already beloved characters and will only be more-so soon. Scobell’s comedic deliveries are endlessly perfect while his emotional depth can bring a tear to your eye. Jeffries is such a believable daughter of Athena that I’m certain she could beat me in a fight. Simhadri’s genuine aura of care and empathy builds a Grover that is the type of friend we all need.
To back up a fantastic leading trio is a phenomenal supporting cast, each one giving their fullest to their character. So far, Virginia Kull as Sally Jackson, Jason Mantzoukas as Mr. D., Dior Goodjohn as Clarisse, and Charlie Bushnell as Luke are definite standouts for the cast every moment they’re on the screen. I can only expect the cast to continue to consistently provide the best performance possible for their characters as we’re introduced to more in the season’s remaining six episodes.
Overall, it’s a magical series you don’t want want to skip if you’re already a fan of the franchise or if you’re looking for something special to share with a child in your life. Percy Jackson and the Olympians premieres on Disney+ December 20 with two episodes. Stay tuned for additional coverage, including highlights from press conferences later today, and episodic recaps as episodes release.