In 2014’s The Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus, Rick Riordan wrapped up the tales of Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Grover Underwood, allowing them to concentrate on the future rather than saving the world. Save for the occasional cameo, since then the three have yielded space to other protagonists, such as god-turned-mortal Apollo. However, in September 2023, Riordan will reunite his iconic trio for another grand adventure, when they’re called upon to retrieve a missing artifact.

Percy Jackson and the Chalice of the Gods started off as a way to entice Hollywood studios into supporting the rebooted Percy Jackson TV adaptation for Disney+. “What if I sweetened the deal,” Riordan said he pondered, “by giving the readers something they’ve been wanting for the last decade, a classic Percy Jackson novel from his point of view, featuring Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, just like the original five books? It would be the first time since The Last Olympian in 2009 that we had an honest-to-goodness Percy Jackson novel.” (The Heroes of Olympus series, which initially focused upon Roman demi-god Jason Grace, expanded the cast and was told from multiple points of view.)

“I knew we basically had a year to play with during Percy’s senior year in high school, where nothing had been sketched out, no canon described,” Riordan said. “All we know is he’s in school in New York. So what would happen to him? Of course, he’s getting ready for college. And I’ve been through that with my two boys, and that means recommendation letters. And to get into New Rome University, you need recommendation letters from the gods, and they don’t give those out for free. So Percy has to do quests—not to save the world this time, but just to get into college.”

But the television deal with Disney took off and the pitch proved unnecessary after all, so Riordan shelved the idea while working on other projects. When Disney asked Riordan if he had anything they could publish to support the show, he said, “I have these ideas that I came up with two years ago. Why don’t we give the fans a treat?”

Continuing the Tradition

In Chalice of the Gods, Percy and his friends must assist Ganymede, Zeus’s cupbearer, in retrieving the missing Chalice, a magical artifact capable of granting immortality to those who drink from it. “There will be other gods we haven’t seen,” Riordan said. “It’s going to continue the Percy Jackson tradition of encountering gods and monsters, and it takes place mostly in and around New York City. It’s not meant to be a world-ending adventure, it’s just a day in the life of a demigod.”

For now, this installment is intended to act as a standalone, or as Riordan calls it, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Six.” Future adventures aren’t out of the question, he said, but that remains to be seen depending on the reception of this one, and whatever ideas might emerge. Despite Percy preparing for college, Riordan assures fans that this is appropriate for readers of all ages. “He’s 17 going on 18 in this, but in terms of tone, it’s not that different. I’d feel very comfortable recommending this to middle graders who knew the other books. There’s not going to be a huge tonal shift; we’re not tackling darker or more violent themes. That’s just my mindset. I write in a very middle grade way. I have readers from eight years old to 80, and everybody’s welcome. As long as you don’t mind silly dad jokes and middle grade humor.” According to Riordan, returning to Percy after so long was easy, “like putting on your most comfortable pair of jeans.”

I have these ideas that I came up with two years ago. Why don't we give the fans a treat?

Of course, that’s not the only Percy Jackson-related book in the works for 2023. In May, readers can look forward to Riordan’s collaboration with Mark Oshiro, The Sun and the Star, which focuses on the demigod son of Hades, Nico di Angelo, and his boyfriend, demigod son of Apollo, Will Solace, as they journey into the Underworld to save an old friend. “This will be a totally different project from Chalice of the Gods, in terms of subject matter and process. This is really the first time I ever sat down and co-wrote a book with anyone, and Mark was just fabulous. They’re an incredible writer and brought so much to this that I wouldn’t have thought of or approached in quite the same way.”

Meanwhile, production on the Disney+ series proceeds steadily, with an anticipated release date of 2024, according to the most recent announcement. “This is a big show,” Riordan said. “It’s ambitious. No one has really done anything like this before on a number of levels: to have a show carried by young actors in every single scene, and it’s a road trip show so every episode is entirely different. It’s tough, expensive, and challenging. And what we’re seeing is pretty incredible.”

On top of these other projects, Riordan is still busy shepherding the Rick Riordan Presents imprint for Disney-Hyperion. Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Rosanne A. Brown, which is inspired by Ghanaian mythology, came out in September. The Lords of Night by J.C. Cervantes, a spin-off of her Mayan-inspired Storm Runner trilogy, was released on October 4. Next, readers can look forward to Winston Chu vs. the Whimsies, a Chinese mythology-inspired adventure by Stacey Lee, coming out in February 2023. “The only problem with the imprint is that every book becomes my new favorite,” Riordan said. “The authors are all tremendous. They’ve formed a family among themselves. It’s so positive and constructive, and they uplift other writers. It’s probably one of the most gratifying experiences in my life in publishing.”

Riordan also plans to get back out on the road for his first in-person book tour since before the pandemic, something he’s looking forward to. “It’s really nice to see the readers and their enthusiasm,” he said. “There’s a level of energy you get from a live event that’s difficult to reproduce.” As Riordan puts it, “2023 is going to be a really interesting year.”