Ever since the news broke that Disney+ was developing (rebooting) a new Percy Jackson live-action TV series, fans of the Rick Riordan books have made requests vocal. They want to see a more accurate take on the character and a more faithful adaptation of the YA fantasy novels. But will the showrunners deliver? Here’s what we hope to see in the Disney+ Percy Jackson series reboot.
In 2005, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief hit shelves for the very first time and the love for the title character rapidly began to build.
We followed Percy, a troubled kid with ADHD on a school field trip, with his physically disabled best friend Grover Underwood (who Percy suspects had been held back a couple of times because he was “the only sixth grader with acne and the start of a wispy beard on his chin”) who is being harassed by another one of his classmates, Nancy Bobofit. This trip, like every other trip Percy has ever been on, does not go well and he ends up not only getting suspended but also happens to trigger what turns into the beginning of his many adventures by accidentally vaporizing his maths teacher.
Percy Jackson fans would go on to watch the son of Poseidon spend the rest of the book series fighting monsters, sassing the gods (much to everyone else’s horror), and flat out denying whatever feelings people suspected him of having for Annabeth Chase (everyone’s favourite daughter of Athena). He was the sarcastic, monster-fighting hero that a lot of people could relate to and became a lot of kids’ happy place. Watching him grow up from a boy who struggled to take down a minotaur, to a young man who can stare down a god without fear (because he’s just so done with them constantly interrupting his life at this point) is one of the most satisfying things about his entire story.
The Percy Jackson book series gained so much popularity in just a few years that in 2010 the first book was adapted into a movie and fans were incredibly excited… until they got around to watching it. The creators of the film adaptations had taken so much out and seemed to have completely ignored a large majority of the source material that what was supposed to be a fantastical story of a 12-year-old was no longer recognisable.
Fans rejected the movies so harshly that after the second movie, Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters, further plans for the rest of the series were scrapped. To this day you cannot tell a Percy Jackson fan that you preferred the movies, because it will garner you a reaction anywhere from a shudder of disgust to a one-sided screaming match that’ll leave you wondering why you even decided to say anything.
After that epic failure fans have been wary about any talk about further adaptations – though everyone was pleasantly surprised by The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical – in May of 2020, when news began circling about a Disney+ series that was in development, fans were suspicious. It wasn’t until author Rick Riordan announced the Percy Jackson series himself with the biggest smile on his face (and assured fans that he would be heavily involved in the recreation of the beloved book series, unlike last time) that fans of all ages finally came out of the woodwork to show their support and excitement for the upcoming show.
Disney finally began filming the new Percy Jackson reboot series back in June and fans have been patiently waiting for the first episode to drop ever since.
While we wait, why don’t we take a look at a couple of things that we can’t wait to see and that we’re hoping will be included in this adaptation?
One of the biggest issues the people had with the previous adaptation of the film was the characters themselves. Everything from the main trio being too old (Alexandra Daddario was 22 when she played Annabeth in the first film) to many characters’ personalities being nothing like they were in the book.
Fans went absolutely bonkers when casting announcements began and many found themselves agreeing with all of Riordan’s decisions. After seeing the chemistry between Walker Scobell and Ryan Reynolds in The Adam Project, both on-screen and when they were promoting the film, everyone came to a unanimous decision that the young actor has the perfect amount of sass to play Percy Jackson, a character who took on the god of war (and won) and beat a hundred-handed-one at a game of rock-paper-scissors by being a wise-guy.
Joining him in the lead will be Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth (just based on the way she interacted with fans during a Live people know she is going to be the perfect Annabeth) and Aryan Simhadri, who will be playing everyone’s favourite awkward satyr with an enchilada addiction, Grover.
Besides the fantastic main trio, a lot of other characters who play a big role throughout the Percy Jackson series (and a couple who we only see briefly) have also been announced and fans couldn’t be happier with the casting.
Glynn Turman (who is best known for playing Lew Miles in Peyton Place) has been chosen to play everyone’s favourite centaur, Chiron, who Percy briefly knew as his Latin teacher Mr. Brunner. Mr. D, or Dionysus as he is more commonly known outside of Camp Half-Blood, will be played by Jason Mantzoukas. Fans are particularly excited to see how he brings the grouchy camp director, who’s always giving Percy a hard time, to life.
The fury that was formerly Percy’s maths teacher at Yancy Academy, Mrs. Dodds, who took great pleasure in terrorizing him and became the first monster he killed is going to be played by Megan Mullally. The beloved Sally Jackson will be portrayed by Virginia Kull and her husband, who she married to hide Percy’s demigod smell from monsters, Gabe Ugliano, will be played by Timm Sharp.
Dior Goodjohn will be taking on the role of Clarisse La Rue, the hot-headed daughter of Ares that gives Percy a harder time than her dad does (I’m pretty sure Percy is more intimidated by her than he ever was of Ares), and Luke Castellan, the son of Hermes that was disappointed by the gods one too many times, will be played by Charlie Bushnell. Finally, Olivea Morton will be making a brief guest star appearance as the “freckly red-headed kleptomaniac” Nancy Bobofit.
The few narrow-minded fans that reacted negatively when they saw how diverse the cast was going to be, and threatened not to watch the show if actors like Leah Jeffries weren’t recast, were very quickly handled by Rick Riordan. He berated them for bullying his young actors and would be more than happy to lose a couple of fans over his choices if it means a more supportive and safer fandom.
Many characters’ personalities in the Percy Jackson films didn’t match their book counterparts at all. Even Logan Lerman, who did his best to try to give us a good Percy Jackson with the script he had, failed to bring out the truly sarcastic side of his character (despite the bad taste left in our mouths after the films, we can all agree that once upon a time Lerman would have been the perfect candidate for Percy).
The characters that were most notably different from the books were Grover, who was significantly more confident, and the gods, who all have almost zero personality.
The Return of Grover’s Character Development
The big problem with Grover’s sudden bought of confidence was that it completely erased his chance for character development. He’s supposed to be a slightly awkward, shy character, who is still dealing with his past failures, and whose confidence grows throughout the series as he conquers his struggles. His humbleness around finding all the kids that had been sired by the big three (Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades) is also an enjoyable aspect of his character.
Returning him to his original personality in the new Percy Jackson series will completely change the friendship dynamic between him and Percy and it will allow the writers to put the necessary emphasis on his lifelong dream of earning a searcher’s license and joining the search for his missing god, Pan.
The Gods Have Personalities
The gods are some of the most interesting characters in the books and Riordan’s ability to humanize them while also not taking away from the idea that they are gods is amazing. The drama between them that sometimes leaks into Percy’s adventures (such as when Annabeth and Percy are caught in a trap that Hephaestus had set up for Ares and Aphrodite) is often the thing that pushes the story forward. Them having almost zero personality besides “I’m an all-powerful god” in the movies takes away from people’s enjoyment of them and at times makes them indistinguishable from each other.
Some fan-favourite characters are gods like Poseidon (the dynamic between him and Zeus at the end of the last book is the best, and the very clear love he has for Percy ends up portraying him as one of the best godly parents), Hermes, and Apollo (you can’t not love his haiku’s). Hestia and Artemis are also top picks. Fans cannot wait to see how the characters are fixed in the new series. Even Ares, who most fans have no love for, is somewhat enjoyable in the books. Or rather, people enjoy watching Percy annihilate him both in wit and on the battlefield.
Hopefully all of this is corrected in the upcoming Disney+ Percy Jackson series.
5 Key Plot Points and Memorable Moments Excluded From the Film
Here are a few moments we hope to see in the new Disney+ Percy Jackson reboot series:
1. The Fight between Ares and Percy
It is the most iconic fight in the books and fans were devasted when it wasn’t included in the film adaptation. This is one of the many fights that show off just how smart Percy is and it is used to show fans that Percy is slowly learning how to use his newfound supernatural powers tactically rather than just choosing to blow up a bathroom or water fountain.
This fight is also the thing that results in a rivalry between Ares and Percy that will last until the day he dies. It’s such a key aspect of Percy’s character that even when he has lost his memory in Heroes of Olympus, Percy is shown to not only recognise Ares in his Roman form but very clearly shows contempt for him (it’s a very entertaining scene that gives us an outsiders perspective of how strange Percy actually looks when he talks back to gods, rather than it looking like a normal thing he does through his own perspective).
2. The Monsters Percy gets Attacked by Throughout the Story
Percy is attacked by monsters quite frequently on his adventures and all of the fights are as entertaining and interesting as the lot. We watch as Percy irritates his attackers by talking back to them or insulting them by not knowing who they are. We discover later that all the monsters were sent his way to slow Percy down or kill him (mostly kill him) so that he doesn’t return the lightning bolt before a war between gods breaks out.
He fights Echidna (who he calls enchilada, much to her irritation) and her Chimera at the top of St. Louis Arch. This is a fight that ends with him jumping into the Mississippi River and meeting one of his father’s nereids who gifts him with three pearls (which will later help the trio escape from the underworld).
He fights the three furies (who work under Hades) multiple times in the book and it’s their involvement during the quest that leads Percy to believe that Hades is the one who has taken Zeus’ lightning bolt. It is later revealed that Hades Helm of Darkness is also missing and that it was stolen by Ares. Percy is quick to return the helm to the furies after he has defeated Ares.
3. The Mist
The Mist is a background mechanic, but it is also one of the most integral parts of Percy Jackson’s lore. It is a magical veil that keeps the mythological world hidden from the mortal one so that some semblance of peace is kept between the two and the mortal world doesn’t break.
Demigods can sometimes be tricked by it and not see things for what they truly are, especially when they’re not actively trying to see through it, like in the second book when Percy didn’t realise that Tyson was a Cyclops. The mist is later shown to be manipulatable by users of magic (such as the children of Demeter). In Heroes of Olympus Piper McLean (daughter of Aphrodite) notes that the Mist is a lot like charmspeaking, in that people have to be shown what they want to see for you to be able to manipulate them.
Luke’s turn was one of the most shocking reveals for readers all over. Learning that the guy who had been helping him, the guy who had been extremely friendly the whole time Percy had been at the camp, and the guy who Annabeth considered her older brother, was the bad guy was absolutely heartbreaking for a lot of people. The fact that the reveal also almost ends up killing Percy makes it that much worse for everyone involved.
5. Kronos’ Overall Involvement
Kronos is a titan and the father of the main Olympians (Hera, Hestia, Demeter, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus). Throughout the entire series, he is the one that manipulates everything so he can regain his strength and once again rule over the world.
His worst work is seen with Luke, where he takes the anger the young demigod has toward his father (Hermes) and fans it into a full-blown rage, convincing Luke to start a war against the gods and eventually sacrifice his body so Kronos can use it as a vessel to do his bidding from.
The monsters sent after Percy on his quest (most of them anyway) are all sent by Kronos.
While they might not be very important to the overall plot of the stories, the small moments between characters and little elements throughout the books keep the story alive and add a little bit more flavour to it. Here are a few we hope to see in the new Disney+ Percy Jackson reboot series:
The blue food – Blue food was Sally Jackson’s small way of rebelling against her abusive husband. Gabe had once claimed there was no such thing as blue food, so she started going out of her way to prove him wrong. Percy is insistent on eating blue foods in honour of his mother. Even his nectar tastes like his mom’s homemade blue chocolate chip cookies. It’s a small thing between mother and son, but it is one of the small key elements that make Percy, Percy.
“Seaweed brain” – the nickname that Annabeth uses for Percy, that progresses from being an insult to a friendly nickname and eventually an affectionate term of endearment. Percy in turn calls Annabeth Wise girl. The change in the usage of the nicknames is very telling of the stage that their relationship is at. It is also a nickname that only Annabeth is allowed to use, as shown in Percy Jackson and The Titan’s Curse when Thalia uses it and Percy reacts negatively
The Camp Necklaces – Camp beads are given to each camper at the end of summer. They are used to show how many years campers have been at Camp Half-Blood and are painted with a little design that shows a significant event that happened at the camp that year. At the end of his first summer at Camp Half-Blood Percy receives a black bead with a turquoise trident, most significant for Percy because it is a symbol of his going to the Underworld and surviving the experience.
Fans are excited to see what’s going to happen with Disney+’s upcoming Percy Jackson reboot series. The first season is set to run for 8 episodes and is expected to drop in early 2024, but there is no official release date just yet.
What are you hoping to see in Disney+’s new Percy Jackson reboot series?
Hannah Lieberum is, first and foremost, a geek with a passion for writing. Her love for reading, from the classics through to sci-fi, often needs her to focus and overanalyse the narrative of films and games, while her love for art allows her to see the beauty in unexpected shots. An excellent backstory will always win her over, and she will never pass up the opportunity to sit back, relax and watch Star Trek while petting her permanently grumpy cat.