The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Season 1 finale finally introduces the late Lance Reddick as Zeus, sky god and King of Olympus. Zeus’ presence has lingered all season long as Percy (Walker Scobell), Annabeth (Leah Sava Jeffries), and Grover (Aryan Simhadri) searched for his stolen master bolt and to uncover the identity of the lightning thief. With Toby Stephens‘ Poseidon and Jay Duplass‘ Hades introduced in Episode 7, Zeus is the last remaining god of the Big Three left to meet before the season comes to an end.
Reddick died on March 17, 2023 of complications from Ischemic Heart Disease and Atherosclerotic Coronary Artery Disease. The 60-year-old’s death was a shock to all, and his absence is sorely felt by the Percy Jackson team. While he only appears in the Episode 8 finale, “The Prophecy Comes True” (debuting on Tuesday, January 30 at 9/8c on Disney+), his time on set made an impact on those who worked with him. TV Insider spoke with author/series co-creator Rick Riordan and Stephens about the late star. They say that Reddick delivered a performance that’s as powerful a force as you’d want Zeus to be.
“Oh, Lance Reddick. It’s bittersweet. It stings. It’s hard to accept that he’s gone. It was such a blow,” Riordan says. “I am grateful that at least I got to meet him and talk to him when he was on set and tell him what a fan I am of his work and how much it meant to me in all of his different things that he’s done over the years, from The Wire all down to Bosch, down to Percy Jackson.”
Stephens got to spend more time with Reddick on set, and the two became quick friends.
“It was so strange because we instantly connected just as actors and as people,” Stephens shares. “I really liked him. I genuinely connected with him.”
“We sat around [on set] and we were talking. I came up through theater when I was a younger actor, and he loved theater and he wanted to do more theater. He was sitting there talking, and I just really liked him, and it was such an honor and a pleasure to work with him,” Stephens goes on. “I was really shocked and really, really quite devastated by the news [of his death]. And I was incredibly sad, obviously, for his family. But I was also sad that I wouldn’t get the experience to work with him again, because I really enjoyed it.”
Stephens “really admired” that Reddick “had this kind of real presence about him, but yet was very humble and really just so lovely to talk to and to work with.”
“I was really looking forward to doing more stuff with him,” Stephens goes on. “That’s really disappointing, but I’m sure they’ll find a way to honor him in the way that they continue the story forward. It’s just really sad.”
Reddick’s Zeus is a powerful and mighty force, but he’s just as fallible as the other Olympians we’ve seen throughout Season 1.
“He had such gravitas,” Riordan says of Reddick’s thunderous performance. “He was such an incredible patriarch, and I say that knowing it’s a loaded word, but he had that energy that he was the father of this family in all the good ways and in all the bad ways.”
“He had the power,” Riordan goes on. “He was a perfect leader, and to see him embody Zeus, the king of the cosmos, was just incredible. So it’s bittersweet, but I’m glad that one of the things the show can do is be a coda and a tribute and one of his last performances.”
See Reddick’s thunderous debut as Zeus in the Percy Jackson Season 1 finale. In the episode, Mount Olympus beckons, and Percy must face his greatest battle yet.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Season 1 Finale, Tuesday, January 30, 9/8c, Disney+