How Disney Cast New Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series

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As much as we love Logan Lerman (who is absolutely killing the salt-and-pepper hair look he currently has going on), it’s high time that the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series gets a new adaptation.

Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefLogan Lerman as Percy Jackson in the 2010 action fantasy film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

While the two film adaptations – Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010) and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) scratched the mythology itch, fans were not pleased with how they deviated from the source material.

The movies were based on the best-selling book series penned by author Rick Riordan that you can buy on Amazon.

When your original source material is as beloved as Riordan’s series, it’s imperative that the adaptation stays faithful to please its loyal fanbase.

Brandon T. Jackson, Logan Lerman, and Alexandra Daddario in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefBrandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood, Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, and Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth Chase in the 2010 action fantasy film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

Luckily, Disney decided to take a shot at the Percy Jackson series and adapt it for television.

The live-action show will star a number of familiar and fresh faces fulfilling the iconic roles of our favorite demigods. We’ve followed the progress of this latest project, and so far, things are looking positive.

American author Rick Riordan is best known for writing the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series about a twelve-year-old boy who discovers he is a son of PoseidonAmerican author Rick Riordan is best known for writing the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series about a twelve-year-old boy who discovers he is a son of Poseidon (Credit: Dean Bertoncelj / Shutterstock)

Here is everything you need to know about the cast for Disney’s upcoming Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, with notes from Rick Riordan himself.

Author Rick Riordan hated the film adaptations, but he seems excited about the new television series.

Best-selling author Rick Riordan was not a fan of the film adaptations, and he wasn’t quiet about his distaste for them.

In fact, Riordan had little to do with either of the Percy Jackson films other than writing the source material. He was not part of the scriptwriting team and wasn’t even hired as a consultant like many authors often are.

In a now-deleted tweet, the author shared: “I still have not seen the [Percy Jackson] movies, and don’t plan on ever doing so. I judge them from having read the scripts, because I care most about the story. I certainly have nothing against the very talented actors. Not their fault. I’m just sorry they got dragged into that mess.”

Brandon T. Jackson, Logan Lerman, and Alexandra Daddario in Percy Jackson: Sea of MonstersBrandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood, Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, and Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth Chase in the 2013 fantasy adventure film Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

One fan responded that they felt it was refreshing that Riordan shared their disappointment for the Percy Jackson & the Olympians films.

However, Riordan’s reply (in another now-deleted tweet) was heartbreaking: “Well, to you guys, it’s a couple hours’ entertainment. To me, it’s my life’s work going through a meat grinder when I pleaded with them not to do it. So yeah. But it’s fine. All fine. We’re gonna fix it soon.”

It looks like Riordan kept his promise and enlisted the help of Disney to do so.

In 2020, Riordan shared a press release about the show stating that while they can’t say anything much at that time, “we are very excited about the idea of a live-action series of the highest quality.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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He also quickly reassured the loyal fans of his books, saying that “Becky & I will be involved in person in every aspect of the show. There will be much more news in the future, but for now, we have a lot of work to do! Buckle up, demigods. It’s going to be a fantastic, exciting ride!”

Fortunately, the original cast didn’t seem to take Rick Riordan’s hatred of the film adaptations personally. In fact, Logan Lerman even shared his excitement for the show on Twitter: “Excited to see this! Hope it gets the adaptations the books deserve. Congrats @rickriordan”

Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson in Percy Jackson: Sea of MonstersLogan Lerman as Percy Jackson in the 2013 fantasy adventure film Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

Get to know the actors slated to fulfill the roles of the beloved demigods in the upcoming Percy Jackson & the Olympians television series on Disney+:

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Walker Scobell – Percy Jackson

13-year-old Walker Scobell will be taking over from Logan Lerman to fulfill the titular role of Percy Jackson in the new television series.

You may recognize this young actor from The Adam Project, as he played the younger version of Ryan Reynolds’s character.

Walker Scobell as Young Adam and Ryan Reynolds as Adam Reed in The Adam ProjectWalker Scobell as Young Adam and Ryan Reynolds as Adam Reed in the 2022 sci-fi adventure film The Adam Project (Credit: Netflix)

When he’s not acting, Scobell likes to skateboard and ski. He also seemed to have really impressed author Rick Riordan, who wrote a glowing testimonial on his blog:

“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…Walker is also a super-fan of the books, having read everything through The Trials of Apollo.”

Too cute!

Walker Scobell at the Disney 2022 Upfront presentationWalker Scobell at the Disney 2022 Upfront presentation in New York City on May 17, 2022 (Credit: Roger Wong / INSTARimages / Cover Images)

Leah Sava Jeffries – Annabeth Chase

This young actress is seriously talented. She stars alongside Golden Globe winner Idris Elba in the upcoming film Beast.

Author Rick Riordan describes Jeffries as “exactly the way [he] 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.”

Leah Sava Jeffries with brother Floyd Jeffries III at the New York premiere of BeastLeah Sava Jeffries with brother Floyd Jeffries III at the New York premiere of Beast on August 8, 2022 (Credit: JOHN NACION / Startraksphoto / Cover Images)

Unfortunately, some fans took to the internet to show their displeasure about casting Leah Jeffries in the role for the sole reason that she is black.

In the novels, Annabeth is described as white and portrayed by fair-skinned Alexandra Daddario (who has some serious fanboys thanks to her good looks) in the film adaptations.

Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth Chase in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefAlexandra Daddario as Annabeth Chase in the 2010 action fantasy film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Credit: 20th Century Fox)

Of course, Riordan was furious about the racism that Leah Jeffries experienced at the hands of “fans.” He wrote a scathing response in her defense, which you can read in its entirety on his blog.

Directing his anger at the racist so-called “fans,” Riordan wrote: “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.”

“I have been clear, as the author, that I was looking for the best actors to inhabit and bring to life the personalities of these characters, and that physical appearance was secondary for me,” Riordan added.

“Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase.”

“We did that. We took a year to do this process thoroughly and find the best of the best. This trio is the best.” Riordan then proudly declared that “Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase.”

Pulling no punches, Riordan continued: “You either are not aware, or have dismissed, Leah’s years of hard work honing her craft, her talent, her tenacity, her focus, her screen presence. You refuse to believe her selection could have been based on merit.”

Leah Jeffries as Norah Samuels and Idris Elba as Dr. Nate Samuels in BeastLeah Jeffries as Norah Samuels and Idris Elba as Dr. Nate Samuels in the upcoming survival thriller film Beast (Credit: Universal Pictures)

“If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me,” Riordan challenged. “You have no one else to blame.”

The author also addressed the online bullying and harassment that Jeffries faced after the casting announcement. “Whatever else you take from this post, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong.”

“As strong as Leah is, as much as we have discussed the potential for this kind of reaction and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she has received online are out of line,” Riordan stated. “They need to stop. Now.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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It’s ridiculous that self-proclaimed “fans” would be upset about the casting of an actress due to her skin color. We’re sure that author Rick Riordan knew what he’s talking about when he said that Leah is perfect for the role.

If you’re a fan, then you’ll have faith in the creator of the books you love so much, especially since he’s very much involved with the television adaptation.

We can’t wait to see Leah Jeffries step into the role of the fiery Annabeth Chase!

Aryan Simhadri – Grover Underwood

The beloved goofy half-goat will be played by 16-year-old Aryan Simhadri. A Disney Channel alum, Simhadri has appeared in titles like SPIN, Just Roll with It, and Cheaper by the Dozen.

Aryan Simhadri as Rohan Kumar in SPINAryan Simhadri as Rohan Kumar in the 2021 coming-of-age drama SPIN (Credit: Disney Channel Original Productions)

Though we love Brandon T. Jackson as Grover in the Percy Jackson films, we’re sure Aryan Simhadri will be the perfect fit for this next generation, especially considering his immense theatrical work on Broadway and plethora of voice acting roles!

As an added bonus, author Rick Riordan thinks Simhadri is hilarious. On his blog, Riordan wrote: “In his auditions for Grover Underwood, Aryan won our hearts. He had me laughing out loud with his delivery and timing. He has a mixture of sweetness, humor, and internal toughness that is perfect for our favorite satyr.”

Aryan Simhadri attending the SPIN premiereAryan Simhadri attending the SPIN premiere in Santa Monica, California, on August 10, 2021 (Credit: Robert Smith / INSTARimages)

Glynn Turman – Chiron / Mr. Brunner

Played by Pierce Brosnan in the film adaptations, Glynn Turman will be fulfilling the role of Camp Half Blood’s Centaur Activities director.

Chiron is a mentor for Percy, Annabeth, and Grover. One look at Turman’s impressive IMDB page, and we’re sure that he will be perfect for the role.

Glynn Turman at the series finale premiere of How to Get Away with MurderGlynn Turman at the series finale premiere of How to Get Away with Murder in Beverly Hills, California, on February 9, 2020 (Credit: Billy Bennight / AdMedia / Media Punch / INSTARimages)

Turman won the Primetime Emmy Award in 2008 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his role as Alex Sr. in In Treatment. He was nominated again (for the same award) in 2019 for his appearance in How to Get Away with Murder.

The 75-year-old actor has also appeared in titles like A Different World, The Wire, Fargo, House of Lies, and even Gremlins!

Virginia Kull – Sally Jackson

Virginia Kull will play Percy’s loving and often “in over her head” mom. According to Rick Riordan, the 40-year-old actress moved him to tears during her audition.

It looks like we’re going to need to prepare ourselves for the emotional scenes with Kull in the television series!

Virginia Kull at the Los Angeles premiere of Big Little LiesVirginia Kull at the Los Angeles premiere of Big Little Lies on February 7, 2017 (Credit: Sara De Boer / Startraksphoto)

Kull has worked on a number of big-name television titles, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Big Little Lies, This Is Us, and Boardwalk Empire.

Jason Mantzoukas – Dionysus / Mr. D

In what is possibly our favorite casting decision ever, Jason Mantzoukas will be playing the role of the goofy and grumpy Dionysus.

Mantzoukas is absolutely hilarious in every single one of his roles, and you may recognize him from titles like Parks and Recreation, The Good Place, Big Mouth, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Jason Mantzoukas at the Los Angeles premiere of John Wick: Chapter 3 - ParabellumJason Mantzoukas at the Los Angeles premiere of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum on May 15, 2019 (Credit: Sara De Boer / Startraksphoto)

If we hadn’t planned on watching the new Percy Jackson series in the first place, we would watch it solely to see the 49-year-old actor.

Jason Mantzoukas, according to his Wikipedia page, also responds to “Hey Nongman,” “The Dink Dink Man,” and “Jeffrey Characterwheaties.” He may or may not be editing his Wikipedia page himself.

Megan Mullally – Alecto the Fury / Mrs. Dodds

Another Parks and Recreation alum, Megan Mullally, will play the role of the shrill and sometimes terrifying fury Alecto. Charged by Hades with finding Percy, Alecto is a perfect role for the Primetime Emmy Award winner.

Megan Mullally at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar PartyMegan Mullally at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 9, 2020 (Credit: Thompson / AdMedia / Media Punch / INSTARimages)

The 63-year-old actress has also been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards, eight Primetime Emmy Awards (with two wins), and 12 Screen Actors Guild Awards (with four wins).

You may have seen (or heard) her in other titles like 30 Rock, Bob’s Burgers, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Will & Grace, and Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

Dior Goodjohn – Clarisse LaRue

Clarisse LaRue is a character with a great arc. A strong fighter and hot-headed daughter of Ares, she doesn’t get along with Percy and his pals at first, but later becomes a valuable ally.

16-year-old Dior Goodjohn secured the role and has acting credits in titles such as Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Glee, and Head of the Class.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Olivea Morton – Nancy Bobofit

13-year-old Olivea Morton is ready to step into the role of Percy Jackson’s rival while at Yancy Academy.

Though she has only appeared in lesser-known titles (And Yet They Speak, Fear, Better Now, Neila Extinction), she’s been acting since she found her passion during a local theater performance.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Luckily, she is a strong swimmer – if you’ve read the books, you know why this is important!

Charlie Bushnell – Luke Castellan

Charlie Bushnell is set to play the Hermes cabin counselor, expert swordsman, and perfect student Luke Castellan.

According to Rick Riordan’s blog, Bushnell became inspired to pursue acting while dealing with the death of his dog, Patito, and watching Stranger Things before realizing, “Hey, I can do that!”

Charlie Bushnell at the Los Angeles screening of Zombies 2Charlie Bushnell at the Los Angeles screening of Zombies 2 held at the Walt Disney Studios Main Theater on January 25, 2020 (Credit: Faye’s Vision / Cover Images)

Well, stranger things have happened, and now Charlie Bushnell will be starring in one of the biggest television releases in recent years.

Timm Sharp – Gabe “Smelly Gabe” Ugliano

44-year-old Timm Sharp will portray the role of Percy Jackson’s most unfortunately named stepfather.

Though his on-screen character is basically the worst, Riordan noted on his blog that Sharp’s audition took the character in a hilarious direction, making the author laugh out loud.

Timm Sharp at the Los Angeles premiere of Season 14 of FX’s It’s Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaTimm Sharp at the Los Angeles premiere of Season 14 of FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on September 24, 2019 (Credit: Faye Sadou / Cover Images)

Luckily, Timm Sharp isn’t typecast as a nasty and mean stepdad all of the time. He has appeared in titles that display his comedic chops such as Drunk History, The Great North, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Blunt Talk, and Love, Victor.

Production has begun on the Disney+ Percy Jackson & the Olympians series.

Seeing the cast made the excitement and anticipation grow stronger for the new Percy Jackson series. But we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see our favorite demigods on screen.

The cast and crew have been busy filming in Vancouver, but we can always count on author Rick Riordan for frequent updates on his blog.

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