‘Percy Jackson’ Series Adds ‘The Lightning Thief’ Musical Writer — Why That Should Excite Fans

The Percy Jackson series on Disney+ added an exciting addition to the fold. Becky Riordan, author Rick Riordan’s collaborator and wife, revealed the writer of The Lightning Thief Broadway musical is part of the show’s creative team. And this Broadway/book crossover should make fans especially hopeful for the quality of the upcoming series, which just kicked off the Percy Jackson Season 1 writers’ room on July 12.

Logan Lerman wears a black suit and tie at the premiere of 'Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief' in 2010. He stands in front of a blue and white poster for the film, which shows him holding a lightning bolt.
Logan Lerman at the premiere of ‘Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief’ in 2010 | Theo Wargo/WireImage

Joe Tracz wrote ‘The Lightning Thief’ ‘Percy Jackson’ musical

On July 12, Becky tweeted about the writers’ room starting work on Annabeth Chase’s birthday. (For those new to the PJO universe, Annabeth is one of the franchise’s main characters.) She credited writer Joe Tracz for pointing out the coincidence.

Tracz wrote the book for The Lightning Thief Broadway musical. The musical started as an Off-Broadway show, and then it went on tour and quickly became a theatrical cult classic. Its successful Off-Broadway run and tours landed it a 16-week limited run on Broadway. It’s going back on tour in 2022. Tracz has also written for Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and just won an Emmy for Netflix’s Dash & Lily. He also wrote the book for Broadway’s Be More Chill (a digital era Little Shop of Horrors, of sorts). Basically, he’s an expert at writing adventure stories about and for teenagers.

Riordan and PJO fans famously do not like the Percy Jackson movies because of how much they ignored the source material. In fact, the author hasn’t even seen the movies because he didn’t like the scripts that much. But Riordan and Becky are committed to making the Percy Jackson series the adaptation of fans’ dreams. And to do that, they need writers who understand the story’s universe.

The Lightning Thief musical is considered by many PJO fans to be the one loyal adaptation of the books. Tracz’s book and composer Rob Rokicki’s music captured the essence of the story in a way fans loved. Chris McCarrell, Kristin Stokes, and George Salazar’s portrayals of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover were also beloved. (Jorrel Javier played Grover on Broadway.) Having the writer of The Lightning Thief musical on the TV’s writing team is a sign of the group’s commitment to a high-quality adaptation.

RELATED: Is ‘Percy Jackson’ on Disney+?

Rick Riordan ‘Percy Jackson’ series updates

Riordan sang the praises of the Percy Jackson series’ writers on his blog on July 13, saying they all fit the bill of being Percy Jackson fans first and good writers second. He said:

“Well, folks, we are off to a roaring start in the PJOTV writers’ room. After our first two days, I am delighted to report that I am feeling more confident than ever about the quality of writing this show will have, and I am over the moon about the level of thoughtfulness and love for the PJO book series that everyone is bringing to the discussion. This is a group that knows the books, understands the importance of making longtime (and brand new) readers happy, but also making a show that feels fresh and surprising in the best ways, so even if you think you know the story backwards and forwards, you will find the show a compelling experience. And if you’ve never read the books, it will work for you, too!”

He added, “I can’t stress enough how great it is to work with a team that gets the spirit of PJO, and also brings new perspectives and new writing talent to the story.”

RELATED: ‘Percy Jackson’ TV Series Director Will Be a ‘PJO’ Book Fan, Rick Riordan Says

PJOTV release date, creative team

Joining Riordan, Becky, and Tracz in the writers’ room are Daphne Olive, Monica Owusu-Breen, Xavier Stiles, Zoë Neary, and Stewart Strandberg. Black Sails and Jericho‘s Jon Steinberg and Dan Shotz are the showrunners. While the writers’ room is looking strong, Riordan noted the show isn’t green-lit by Disney yet. That means there’s no release date just yet. He said:

“We are still waiting for an official series order, and that will require finding the right director. Once that hurdle is overcome, things should start to move much more rapidly on production, casting, etc., but keep your fingers crossed, because this series still is not a 100% done deal until we get that green light. Nevertheless, the fact that the studio has approved the writers’ room to start is a very good sign and a massive step forward.”

The author is committed to finding a Percy Jackson director who is also a fan of the books. It seems their interested in having the same director lead every episode of season 1. Kate Herron did this with Loki, indicating Disney is open to a one-director-per-season deal.