Disney’s “Percy Jackson” Series Hopes to Mend Broken Hearts

An antidote.
Published On October 09, 2023

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians” may well be the last chance to give Rick Riordan’s universe a faithful adaptation. And the author isn’t holding back on his feelings. Photo: Disney Plus

Disney’s “Percy Jackson” revival is not for the optimists. The streamer has been on a losing streak of superhero films and shows after years of dominance, and there’s no assurance that demigods could fare any better.

If successful, however, it could very well become a decade-spanning franchise somewhat similar to Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” At least that’s what creator Rick Riordan likes to think.

The first two “Percy Jackson” films had but one fundamental problem: a lack of Rick Riordan.

Riordan had been on a decade-long campaign to get, in his words, the “two hours of blank screen” remade into something meaningful. The Percy Jackson books seemed to repel adult readers, and the makers of the first two films had a clear audience to appeal to: kids.

Interestingly enough, they replaced the younger heroes from the source material with moodier adults. As a consequence, one fact became abundantly clear by the repulsive “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” — Riordan had little control over the film, (and the woozy CGI monsters served as the cherry on top).

While the series creator held nothing against the actors, he made his disappointment abundantly clear. “It’s my life’s work going through a meat grinder when I pleaded with them not to do it,” he tweeted.

The series could “be the antidote” to the movies.

“The wait is over, demigods,” said Riordan as he announced the Disney+ series. Following it was a report from The Hollywood Reporter suggesting that Riordan will be more actively involved in the development — co-writing the pilot and serving as an executive producer.

Currently on tour for “The Chalice of the Gods” — the sixth installment in the Percy Jackson series — Riordan talked about the pressures and responsibility of being involved with the series. “There’s a lot of, I guess, pent-up wish fulfillment about having an adaptation that really sort of reflects the books. And I think — I hope — this series is going to be the antidote for that,” he told The Wrap.

The first season of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is based on “The Lightning Thief” — the first Percy Jackson book. “The Adam Project” star Walker Scobell lands the lead role, joined by Leah Sava Jeffries and Aryan Simhadri as Annabeth Chase and Grover Underwood.

The series premieres December 20 on Disney+.