Word got out about Fox 2000’s plans to move forward with a second installment in the Percy Jackson film series earlier this year, with The Lightning Thief director Chris Columbus reduced to serving as producer on the sequel, titled Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters.

A director has at last been locked down for Sea of Monsters, which is already being scripted by writing duo Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Agent Cody Banks, Ed Wood). On top of that, Fox studio heads have reportedly exercised an option in original Percy Jackson star Logan Lerman’s contract that will ensure that he returns for the Lightning Thief followup.

24 Frames says that Thor Freudenthal (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Hotel for Dogs) has been hired on to call the shots on Sea of Monsters. That Fox 2000 would recruit a director like Freudenthal – who is well-versed in the art of crafting family-friendly entertainment and knows how to work fast – is not too shocking, considering both the PG-Rated tone of the Percy Jackson series and the studio’s hopes to get the next installment out in theaters by 2012.

Author Rick Riordan’s original Sea of Monsters novel follows young Percy (Lerman) as he encounters his cycloptic half-brother, Tyson. Percy must thereafter team up with his newfound sibling and girl pal Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) to traverse the titular sea and locate the mythical Golden Fleece – the key to saving both their beloved “Camp Half-Blood” from encroaching evil forces and Percy’s friend Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) from suffering a terrible fate.

Besides incorporating the page-to-screen changes made in The Lightning Thief (ex. ending with Percy being aged 17 instead of 12), the Sea of Monsters movie adaptation is also expected to include plot points and elements from other Percy Jackson novels as well – similar to what another young adult fantasy adaptation, The Mortal Instruments, is said to be doing.

Sea of Monsters is just one of several upcoming books-turned-films about teens setting out on fantastical adventures, now that the Harry Potter franchise is about to reach its end. Other candidates hoping to appeal to that Potter crowd include the aforementioned Mortal Instruments movie, The Seventh Son, Oscar Pill, The Maze Runner, and the Chronicles of Narnia semi-prequel, The Magician’s Nephew.

As it stands, the next Percy Jackson movie is in a position to do just as well (if not better) financially as those other titles. Most casual moviegoers and fans of Riordan’s original Lightning Thief novel seemed to enjoy its film adaptation well enough – and Sea of Monsters looks to maintain the unique but accessible spin on Greek mythology that its predecessor delivered. Plus, the friendly-to-all-ages design of the Percy Jackson stories should lend it wider appeal than some of the darker young adult fantasy projects on the horizon.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters is expected to begin production during the second half of 2011. Look to hear more about the film in the near future.

Source: LA Times