This is not the first live-action adaptation of Rick Riordan's beloved book series, though the 2010 Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and 2013 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters movies left many fans disappointed. However, unlike the movies, the new show has Riordan himself helping to co-write the script, and he has been involved in the show's production as well.
Interestingly, the show's first season is only confirmed to show seven gods, with the remaining ones teased to come in later seasons. This, as Riordan explained, aligns with several gods not appearing until later books in the series.
Percy Jackson's Cast of Olympian Gods
Seven gods originating from Greek mythology are confirmed to appear in the first season of Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+.
So, who makes up the roster?
1.) Zeus (Lance Reddick)
The leader of the Olympians and famed god of lightning, Zeus will be portrayed in the show's first season by the late Lance Reddick in what will be the actor's final television performance. Reddick, who passed away in 2023, is particularly well-known for his performances in the John Wick franchise, White House Down, and Jonah Hex.
In the original The Lightning Thief book, Zeus kicks off the main plot by accusing Poseidon of stealing his lightning bolt. Not quite a villain, but not a clear ally in Percy's first quest either, Zeus tends to be more concerned about himself and his wants than of the well-being of the demigods.
2.) Poseidon (Toby Stephens)
Poseidon, played in Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Toby Stephens, is Percy's godly parent, as well as the reason Percy has water-based powers. Stephens is notable for roles in movies like Die Another Day, The Machine, and 13 Hours, among others.
The god of the sea, much like the other gods of Olympus at the series' start, has little contact with his only living human child, only meeting him in-person after Percy successfully recovers the Zeus' lightning bolt and clears his father's name. Though temperamental and proud at times, Poseidon ultimately loves Percy, and is always keeping a close eye on him.
3.) Hades (Jay Duplass)
Rounding out the Big Three, Hades is the god of the Underworld, and will be played by Jay Duplass for the Disney+ show. Duplass is not only an actor on shows like The Chair, but also an executive producer and writer on various projects, most recently having been executive producer on Somebody Somewhere.
Hades is an outcast among the Olympians, often choosing to figure things out for himself rather than seek out help. He is also willing to act in his own interests, regardless of the morality of what he's doing. Notably, in The Lightning Thief, he kidnaps Sally Jackson in order to exchange her life for his Helm, which he falsely believes Percy stole.
4.) Ares (Adam Copeland)
Ares serves as the god of War, and will be played in the new show by Adam Copeland. The WWE star has had acting roles on television, notably in Vikings and Haven.
Ares appears to be the mastermind behind the book's titular theft, with the intent of sparking a war among the gods. It is revealed, though, that Kronos (the book series' big bad) had a hand in convincing Ares of the plan.
5.) Hermes (Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Hermes, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda in Percy Jackson and the Olympians, is the god of messengers, and the messenger of the gods. Most well-known for writing Broadway's Hamilton and In the Heights, and the music for Moana and Encanto, Miranda also starred in his two theatrical projects when they first opened.
Interestingly, Hermes doesn't have a notable role in The Lightning Thief book, though his son Luke Castellan is vital to the plot. However, the extent of Miranda's role is not known yet. It's possible that he just appears to set up the god's major role in a potential second season based on Sea of Monsters.
6.) Hephaestus (Timothy Omundson)
Hephaestus will be played in the Disney+ series by Timothy Omundson, and is the god of fire, as well as various forms of craftsmanship and handiwork. Omundson has appeared in projects a number of major movies and show, including the Psych franchise and Judging Amy.
Like Hermes, Hephaestus doesn't actually appear in the book version of The Lightning Thief, but his presence is felt as he designed a trap that Percy and his friends get caught in. Perhaps this role will be expanded upon in the show's first season, or perhaps he will appear as a fun cameo now and will get more development later.
7.) Dionysus (Jason Mantzoukas)
The god of wine and the head of Camp Half-Blood, Dionysus is being played by Jason Mantzoukas in the new show. Mantzoukas is likely a familiar face or voice to most, having appeared in many projects from Brooklyn Nine-Nine to Invincible.
While the god of wine may not seem like the best fit to be a guardian for children, the character did not choose this role for himself. In fact, he serves as head of Camp Half-Blood as punishment for chasing after a Nyph Zeus had declared off-limits. Often seeming a bit out of touch, Dionysus (or Mr. D to the campers) has a tendency to forget the kids' names, a recurring gag in the books.
What About the Other Gods?
Several notable mythological figures from the books are missing from the first season's cast list, though will likely make appearances in seasons based on the later Percy Jackson books, as Rick Riordan teased.
Athena, for instance, does not show up, despite being the godly parent of Annabeth Chase, one of the show's main characters. Hera, Apollo, Artemis, Demeter, Aphrodite, and Hestia are all missing from the list, as well.
However, that gives reason to believe that further seasons could be in the works, as those characters would be saved for those stories.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians premieres on Disney+ on December 20.