The Latest from Athena House

Happy holidays, everyone!

Busy times here at Athena House in Boston. I wanted to give you all a quick update before I dive back into it!

Last week, during Disney Investor Day, we got a brief shout-out for the upcoming Disney+ show Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It is just the briefest of hints of things to come, but still really exciting! You can click the link to watch the entire presentation. The trailer uses John Rocco‘s wonderful cover art from the Percy books, but this is just a placeholder, as is the style of the title card. I won’t promise that the actual show introduction will look like this. We’re just not at that stage yet to have concept art from the show. (I know, I keep saying that, but it keeps being true.)

So where are we with the show? We submitted the pilot episode script to our studio executives. They read it and loved it, but they had some good notes that we are addressing now. This is pretty standard. Just as with writing an essay for your teacher or writing a book for your editor, nothing is ever perfect on the first, second, or third draft. You have to do multiple revisions to get it right! And it is absolutely critical that we take our time to get the pilot episode correct, because it sets the tone and pace for the entire series. Becky and I are working with our wonderful show-runner and team of producers, and we’re hoping to get the revised script to the top brass at the TV studio and Disney+ before everyone breaks for winter holidays. I am also working on revisions to the series ‘bible,’ a guiding document that outlines the characters, tone, settings, and structure for the first season, which will follow the action of The Lightning Thief. 

What’s next? We wait to hear back from the top execs on the script. They may have another round of notes, because there is a lot riding on this and we all want to get it right! Then, once the pilot script is approved, we will most likely get officially ‘green-lighted’ (green lit? whatever.) at which point we can assemble a writers’ room, start the search for directors, begin casting, pre-production, etc., etc. There have been some recent corporate structural changes at Disney as they continue to consolidate the various studios they inherited from Fox, and turn more of their attention to streaming. This has meant some shuffling around with the people we’re working with, but it’s all good. Everyone is still excited and on-board and ready to get rolling with PJO.

Some answers to common questions:

Q. How can I audition for the series?


Seriously, we’re not even close to thinking about that yet. As soon as I have any information about casting, I will post it on the blog, I promise! But that is still months away.

Q. So you have total creative control over the series, right?

A. No, I have not been named Supreme Emperor of the Series (though that sounds cool). TV is a team sport. Becky and I are full producers, involved in every decision. We have a voice at the table, yes! But we are working with a lot of great partners who have more experience with TV than we do, thankfully. The good news is, everyone shares a common goal. We all want to create an adaptation that long-time fans will love as much as viewers who may never have heard of Percy Jackson.

Q. When will the series air?

A. Dunno. The COVID pandemic isn’t helping. As you can tell from what I wrote above, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. The most optimistic guess I have heard is 2022, but that is just a guess! For me, it’s much more important to get it right than to rush it out. We’ve waited this long, right? Might as well do it correctly.

Q. I don’t have Disney+ in my country!

A. I have been assured that by the time PJO is ready, Disney+ will have expanded worldwide, so don’t fret! Disney is well aware that Percy has legions of wonderful enthusiastic fans all around the globe.

In related news, I hear that our script writer is close to delivering his initial draft for The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid feature film for Netflix! I can’t wait to read it and will keep you posted. The process will be much like the one I described above, with notes, revisions, and many other steps still to come in the process, but it will be amazing to see Carter and Sadie Kane in action!

Other News

A big thank you to those who voted The Tower of Nero the best middle grade book of 2020 in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2020! (Even though I told y’all not to vote for me because I’ve won enough times and other great authors deserve a chance, but okay, fine.) They tell me this is the tenth year in a row I’ve won this award? Holy Hera!

I have not been idle on the writing front. I am just wrapping up the second draft of a novel that has nothing to do with mythology, but has been really exciting to work on! Next step: Final revisions, then my family gets to read it and make comments. Then I will submit it and see what my editor thinks. She already knows I’m crazy, so I’m not too worried . . .

Social Media

Wow, it has now been exactly six months since I left social media, and I have no plans to return. I have to say it has been wonderful, like an extended detox. I recommend it, for whatever time you wish to take a hiatus, if you find yourself obsessing over those apps. Ashlee Latimer has done a wonderful job overseeing the accounts and relating the latest news to you guys. She and Becky keep me posted if anything important comes up. I may occasionally pop in to post something (though I haven’t done it so far) but I have officially left the chatroom. If you post something on any form of social media, I will not see it, so feel free to talk amongst yourselves. : ) And whatever is posted to my accounts is from Ashlee, not me, unless the post is specifically marked otherwise. All that time I used to spend scrolling, I now spend writing, reading, practicing my Italian, walking the dog, and hanging out with my family. It’s been pretty awesome.

Merry Christmas!

To all those celebrating, Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Blessed Winter Solstice! Whatever your preferred winter rituals, may they be joyful, safe, and healthy, and here’s to a better 2021!

Rick Riordan