Rick Riordan, creator of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, has a message for fans of the books and the show: “Raise anchors. Hoist the mainsail. All hands on deck, demigods. We’re heading for the Sea of Monsters!” It’s a lovely way to confirm that season two of Percy Jackson and the Olympians has been greenlit by Disney Plus, and Riordan for one can’t wait for you to see it.
The news isn’t a huge surprise, because the first season got big viewing numbers on the best streaming service and attracted rave reviews. But it was still a Star Wars-scale bet by the streamer, and that means it must have been squeaky bum time for the show’s creators when the first episode aired. However, the show has been a huge hit: according to Disney boss Bob Iger, the first season has been streamed for more than 110 million hours on Disney Plus and Hulu.
Percy Jackson season 2: what we know so far
So far, we don’t really know very much – but Walter Scobell, who plays the titular Jackson, did tease everybody a little last month by saying “I hope that we’re out in the sun a lot, so I’m not transparent anymore! I’m guessing since we’re outside a lot, we’re probably going to be more on location. So it’ll be fun to be there and be close to the water, be outside, touch grass”.
Scobell returns as the teenage Jackson, a young man who just happens to be a modern demigod too. The first season saw him trying to deal with the whole having-major-powers stuff while also upsetting sky god Zeus, who accused him of stealing the god’s master lightning bolt. Along with his friends Annabeth and Grover, Jackson set out on a pan-American trek to find the lightning bolt and save Olympus.
The first season is currently sitting at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes with tons of good reviews – it may not break much new ground but it’s a fun and entertaining epic. According to Empire: “With a charming central trio, an intriguing quest and plenty of magical moments, this faithful reboot is a fun (if familiar) family-friendly fantasy.”
It’s also a particular win for younger kids, says the Sydney Morning Herald, whose Craig Mathieson says that “what I like most about this adaptation of the first novel in Rick Riordan’s best-selling fantasy series is that it speaks to the audience the books were written for: younger primary school students”.
Many reviewers found that it was a better adaptation than the film version: Zack Kram of The Ringer and Lauren Coates of the Chicago Reader both referenced the film, with Coates saying that “It remains imperfect, but this Disney Plus adaptation caters much more to devoted fans than the 2010s movie” and Kram saying much the same: “The new series isn’t flawless, but it does much more justice to Rick Riordan’s YA novels than the failed movie version.” And Robert Lloyd of the LA Times loved it. “Percy Jackson is witty without diminishing the emotional gravity of the material and does a lovely job of mixing its extraordinary and ordinary worlds,” he says.
It looks like Disney has found a winning formula here, and that means our hopes are high for the second season: if any show can capture lightning twice, it’s this one.