Rick Riordan, author of the monumental Percy Jackson & The Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, The Trials of Apollo, and several other spin off-series in his modern mythological world, has been keeping his fanbase abreast of developments on Disney’s plans to adapt the novel that initially sparked a middle-grade classics craze — The Lightning Thief.
In a short but sweet blogpost, Riordan wrote, “Things are moving forward,” with the show, admitting that, “Making a TV show or film, I have come to learn, is infinitely more complicated, so it’s not surprising that it takes even more time [than writing a book], especially since we want to do it right!”
The author also gave fans something of a timeline to expect going forward:
“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!”Rick Riordan
Riordan says he’s feeling optimistic about the series. Praising scriptwriters’ work on the adaptation, he mentioned that “writing for the first season, which follows the plot of The Lightning Thief, is sketched out from start to finish.”
There is much to be done to assuage fans’ fears of a repeat of 20th Century Fox’s disastrous 2010 film adaptation, however. Riordan has emphasized his close involvement in the pre-production process since the series was announced in 2020: “We meet for two hours almost every day (via Zoom) I am involved in every conversation, every draft.”
Some more work is needed before filming can begin, however. Riordan mentioned finding concept artists, VFX producers, line directors, casting, and other areas specifically. Meanwhile, Netflix is in the early stages of adapting his Egyptian mythology spin-off series Red Pyramid. The script is finished and will soon be sent to directors, so casting may begin in just months.
The author is currently gearing up for a virtual tour to promote his newest book, Daughters of the Deep. The novel, Riordan’s first standalone book since 2004, is a retelling of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea featuring young protagonists in fantastical settings he’s known for writing.