We have learned that the Disney+ Percy Jackson series has taken a further step in development with Jonathan E. Steinberg having co-written and executive produced the pilot with the original author himself, Rick Riordan.
Jonathan E. Steinberg is no stranger to writing fantasy television, having been the co-creator of highly successful Black Sails for Starz, a series that follows Captain Flint and his pirates 20 years prior to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel, Treasure Island. He also recently created The Old Man for FX which stars Jeff Bridges as a former CIA officer on the run from his killer past. However, Steinberg is perhaps more well known from his co-creator and writing credits on the CBS fan-favorite, post-apocalyptic drama Jericho.
Steinberg will also executive produce the latest take on Percy Jackson alongside his producing partner Dan Shotz as part of their overall deal with Fox 21, the production company that is developing the project for Disney+.
Fox 21 President Bert Salke has praised Steinberg as “an incredibly talented creator and a force of nature as a showrunner. He’s one of the best multi-takers we’ve ever worked with. Together with his producing partner Dan Shotz, we have every belief that he’ll be a major supplier to the Disney platforms and a big presence as a showrunner on our shows.”
Rick Riordan mentioned in a previous blog post that the pilot script for Percy Jackson has already reached “the very highest levels of Disney execs and everybody likes it.” He continued to say that they are now “starting to plan next steps so we can give our partners at the studio and streaming service a good comprehensive picture of what this show will require. What’s the first season look like? (Hint: It will follow the plot of The Lightning Thief). What will the budget look like? (Hint: Good TV ain’t cheap. Quality-wise, this has to stand toe-to-toe with Disney+ hits like Wandavision and Mandalorian.)”
Today, Rick Riordan officially announced that the opening casting search for their titular lead has begun. They are searching for an actor of any ethnicity who can “play 12.” As we predicted in our Percy Jackson casting breakdown, the goal with choosing a younger star 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.”
Riordan goes to add that “a lot of the other casting choices will be informed by whoever we get for Percy,” meaning that they are aiming to officially cast their Percy Jackson actor before moving any further with selecting their supporting ensemble.
It is currently unknown when the series will debut on Disney+, but given that casting has now begun for the lead and assuming that pre-production goes smoothly, reasonable estimates could see Percy Jackson debuting on the streamer as soon as 2023. Although this is just a prediction for the film and television industry is still finding its footing in the midst of the pandemic.