Rick Riordan Gives Big Updates on Disney+'s Percy Jackson Production Status

Disney+'s Percy Jackson and the Olympians continues to soldier on. The serialized reboot of Rick Riordan's best-selling books is currently in production, shooting eight episodes that will cover the events of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, the first installment of the five-novel franchise. While most of the Greek gods remain unknown, Percy Jackson has Walker Scobell (Secret Headquarters) in the titular role as well as Leah Jeffries (Beast) and Aryan Simhadri (Trevor: The Musical) fulfilling the supporting characters of Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood, respectively.

Despite only filming for a little over two months, Percy Jackson is already at an impressive pace. Taking to his website, Riordan shared that the series is just under halfway through the 22-chapter book that its based on.

"How much Percy content have we covered? Put it this way: If you were following along in the book, we have pretty much filmed through chapter nine in The Lightning Thief," Riordan wrote. "That's a big chunk of the story, but there is a massive amount of fun and games still to come!"

While this progress spells well for the show's production schedule, fans of The Lightning Thief will know that the plot really takes form after Chapter 9. It's in that section, appropriately titled "I Am Offered a Quest," that Percy is given his first mission: find Zeus's stolen Master Bolt and have it returned to Olympus by the summer solstice. From there, the Son of Poseidon and company embark on a cross-country quest that entangles them with infamous Greek mythology monsters, familiar American landmarks, and enough chaotic nature to fuel the Underworld.

Riordan continued by revealing director James Bobin (Alice Through the Looking Glass), who is helming at least the pilot episode, has finished his on-set responsibilities.

"In general, we have now covered most of the principal photography for 'block one,' which has been overseen by our fearless directorial leader James Bobin. While we continue filming the subsequent episodes under the talented and able direction of Anders Engström and Jet Wilkinson, James will now retreat into his Fortress of Solitude and begin creating a director's cut for the work he has done so far," Riordan continued. "Everything already looks so good in the raw footage, I can't imagine how great it will be when James gets done choosing his favorite shots and putting them all together. Then the producers (including me) will do our revisions. Then the studio will put in their input." 

Filming being on track is only half the battle, as the post-production process for this fantasy epic will be extensive. As Riordan alludes, Bobin's work will go through numerous hoops before the visual effects artists can polish it. Fortunately for the series, it is using a new StageCraft (also referred to as the Volume), the famous virtual production visual effects screen that Industrial Light & Magic has utilized on The Mandalorian and The Batman. Per the luxury of the Volume, much of the VFX work is completed in advance.

"The whole paradigm shift is moving visual effects ahead of production," ILM Senior Vice President Janet Lewin told ComicBook.com. "In order for it to really pay off, you need to have all of your designs accomplished, pre-vis, and the final content that you're going to be projecting in high resolution, real time, in the Volume all needs to be done before you shoot.

"For Percy Jackson, this has been an incredible partnership with 20th and the filmmaking team. They are using the Volume in a similar way to The Mandalorian. It is a run-of-show project. It's not just a couple of sequences. It's not just a pick-up shoot or an installation. They are trying to leverage all of the bells and whistles that come with a fully tricked out extra large Volume."

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is expected to be in production until January 2023.