Percy Jackson Author Had God-Like Praise For Lance Reddick's Zeus Performance

Lance Reddick's death has left what feels like a sudden and instant hole in the film and TV industry. The actor is rightfully being remembered for his turns in everything from "John Wick," to "The Wire," to "The Eric Andre Show," but I think one of his most exciting roles was still ahead of him. The actor sadly passed away with several projects in the works, but one of the most highly-anticipated was "Percy Jackson & The Olympians," which wrapped filming on season 1 last month.

The Disney+ adaptation of Rick Riordan's young adult book series of the same name is set to tell the story (hopefully the full story, unlike previous mediocre movie adaptations) of a demigod teenager whose life is turned upside down when he discovers his parentage and ends up at Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for kids of the gods. Reddick will play Zeus, the intimidating ruler of Mount Olympus who accuses Percy (Walker Scobell) of stealing his magic lightning bolt. Like the mythical figure on which he's based, the Zeus of Riordan's book is a figure who can be as antagonistic as he is powerful.

'He could pull the planets out of alignment'

Rick Riordan is on board the new series as an executive producer, and throughout the show's casting process, he kept fans updated and sometimes was the first to break the news about stars and young actors joining the cast. In Lance Reddick's case, the author wrote a blog post detailing how perfect he thinks the actor is for the part and praised Reddick for bringing to the role "so much gravitas he could pull the planets out of alignment." It's a sentiment Riordan says he shared with Reddick when he first met him. The author also cites his favorite works of the performer's, including "The Wire," "Law & Order," "John Wick," and the Prime Video series "Bosch," where the actor played Chief Irving, Riordan's favorite Reddick role.

Riordan calls Reddick's "Bosch" character the "immovable object" that meets Titus Welliver's "unstoppable force," and his praise doesn't stop there. He also writes that "Lance is the perfect actor to channel [Zeus'] personality," pointing out that Reddick "projects an aura of authority and power that makes him perfect for the king of Olympus." It's true that, among his many strengths, Reddick was one of the great "I'm-not-mad-just-disappointed" actors, a man who could communicate a dozen shades of expecting better from his fictional colleagues when playing the superior officer to rogue cops or FBI agents. He turned procedural-like parts into an art form, layering in not just level-headed frustration, but also a sense of support — an unspoken but palpable knowledge that McNulty (Dominic West) or Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) could do better and will do better.

Zeus is a force to be reckoned with

The book's version of Zeus, however, is a more hotheaded character than most of the roles Lance Reddick is known for. Haughty, selfish, dramatic, and demanding, the god's narcissism would be funny if it weren't so dangerous for our heroes. Reddick's casting was announced after filming on the show's first season began, which means Riordan was able to tease a major scene in which Zeus definitely loses his chill. "When he makes his displeasure known to Percy Jackson ... wow, wait until you see that scene," Riordan writes. As if that's not enough praise, he adds, "If you were Zeus, king of the gods, and you could be anyone you wanted, you would definitely choose to be Lance Reddick." He goes on to describe the "godly aura" of Reddick and co-star Toby Stephens.

While Zeus plays a major role in the two of Riordan's Percy Jackson-related book series, a second season of the show has not yet been announced as of publication time. If the show continues, it will no doubt have to recast Reddick's character, but for now, we'll be waiting to see the late, great actor play a role that feels right for someone whose on-screen presence always included tremendous gravitas: The most powerful man in the world.