Percy Jackson and The Olympians… and the TV Show!

Sara Parulekar A&E Editor

“Pssst. Hey demigods…” whispered Rick Riordan on May 14th, 2020 in his tweet announcing his collaboration with Disney+ to create a live-action Percy Jackson TV show. 

It’s hard not to know who the fictional character Percy Jackson is when his YA fantasy novel has sold more than 69 million copies, hitting the shelves of more than 35 countries and translated into 37 languages.

The five-book series begins with the Lightning Thief: “a light-hearted fantasy about a modern 12-year-old boy who learns that his true father is Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Percy sets out to become a hero by undertaking a quest across the United States to find the entrance to the Underworld and stop a war between the gods”, as mentioned on Riordan’s website. The novel was adapted for the screens with two 2010 and 2013 films, famously starring Logan Lerman, which were widely critiqued by fans and Riordan himself. 

A still from ‘The Lightning Thief’ (2010) featuring Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson

Luckily, Riordan posts constant updates on his website, and relayed on August 13, 2022, that “the filming has followed the book story very closely, almost as if the author were involved himself!”. According to Riordan, the first season will cover the first book of the series through eight episodes and hopes that it can have a total of five seasons- one for each book of the series.

A still from the First Look Trailer

Fans were ecstatic with the casting of the three main characters, which stars Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri, and Leah Sava Jeffries as Percy Jackson, Grover Underwood, and Annabeth Chase, respectively. Aryan and Leah both proudly provide POC representation for all audiences, yet Leah’s casting as Annabeth sparked harsh racial backlash online, leading to Riordan defending her in a website post.

“You are judging her appropriateness for this role solely and exclusively on how she looks. She is a Black girl playing someone who was described in the books as white. Friends, that is racism,” said Riordan.

It is important to note that the Percy Jackson series was written by Riordan with inclusivity in mind for his son Haley, who was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, inspiring Riordan to make the main character hyperactive and dyslexic. 

Riordan firmly stated that “[the show] will be an adaptation that I am proud of, and which fully honors the spirit of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, taking the bedtime story I told my son twenty years ago to make him feel better about being neurodivergent, and improving on it so that kids all over the world can continue to see themselves as heroes at Camp Half-Blood.”

Disney has yet to release a premiere date, but the show is expected to be released in early 2024. Until then, we’ll have plenty of time to watch and rewatch the teaser trailer Disney provided. And as Percy Jackson himself says, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Teaser Trailer:

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