Percy Jackson and the Olympians finally introduced Zeus, played by the great Lance Reddick, in the season 1 finale, “The Prophecy Comes True.” After besting Ares, played by Adam Copeland, in single combat, winning the Helm of Darkness, and returning it to Hades, Percy, played by Walker Scobell, has one last stop to make on his way to Camp Half-Blood. He travels to Olympus to meet Zeus and return Zeus’s missing Master Bolt that started this whole mess.
There’s a terrific verbal battle between Percy and Zeus, and Percy definitely says too much about Zeus, the Gods, and Kronos, which nearly results in Zeus using his Master Bolt. Poseidon, played by Toby Stephens, interferes and stops Zeus. He surrenders to Zeus, and the brothers begin making plans in ancient Greek to gather the family and unite to stop Kronos.
At the end of the episode, Percy Jackson and the Olympians dedicates the episode to Lance Reddick, who died in March 2023 at the age of 60.
Reddick is so incredible as Zeus in this episode. I would have loved to meet Zeus earlier in the series. There’s something so captivating about his performance and personality. Most of the Olympians are well cast, but Zeus and Poseidon’s casting are spot on.
Zeus is only on screen for a few minutes in the season finale of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, but his presence is felt throughout the season, and you can feel that presence radiating as Percy approaches Zeus on Olympus. There's a very real feeling of Zeus being above all of this nonsense with this little demigod, and that shows in how dismissive Zeus is of little Percy Jackson, who he lets live merely because he reveals some valuable information about Kronos. That power is all Reddick, and it's a testament to how good he is as an actor.
According to TV Insider, Percy Jackson author and executive producer of the series commented on Reddick’s passing:
"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."
Stephens, who went toe-to-toe with Reddick in the scene, also commented about working with Reddick, via TV Insider:
"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. 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."
Reddick is best known for his work on The Wire, Bosch, Fringe, and more recently, the John Wick film franchise. Over the years, he’s popped up in so many great shows and movies, and it was always good to see him on screen. That presence that Reddick brings as Zeus is so captivating and commanding. When he spoke, you listened, and he brought that to every role of his that I have seen. He was just, as mentioned, a perfect casting as Zeus.
On behalf of our whole team at Bam Smack Pow and FanSided Entertainment, our thoughts are with the family, friends, and colleagues of Lance Reddick.