Percy Jackson and the last hope for a good adaptation

Aniket Panicker

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Gotta cash em out
April 19, 2023

Angel Harper

The Percy Jacksons stand facing away from each other.

It’s 2023, and the Percy Jackson fandom is exploding. Can you believe that? I certainly wouldn’t have if you told me that back in 2020.

It’s been months since the new teaser for the Disney plus Percy Jackson series dropped onto the internet, and I have never been more excited, nervous and optimistic for a tv show than I am right now.

That being said, optimism can only take you so far before pessimism kicks in. And the two live action movies have done nothing to help that sentiment.

Before we go on though, I do have a confession to make.

I watched the movies first. There, let’s get that out of the way.

I know. I’m dumb.

Feel free to laugh and shout and yell at me until your heart’s content. But in my defense, I was 8 back then. And I didn’t have the slightest idea of what I was missing out on, nor the slightest idea of what I was actually watching.

Fast forward two years, and one of my friends introduces me to a book called “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.” It was a nice title, and the cover was the coolest thing I had seen at the time. A boy in orange holding a gold sword, staring at an imposing tower in the middle of a thunderstorm. So I thought, “Sure, I’ll give this a shot.”

And so I did. You know how the rest plays out.

Now I know the movies weren’t that bad. And to be honest, I don’t completely hate them either. But what’s annoying is that I simply don’t care for them.

On their own, the movies are incredibly bland. They stand as just another series of films trying to profit off of the popularity of a beloved franchise. But here’s the problem, the movies will never be able to stand on their own.

Why? Because it’s Percy Jackson. And that means being held to the standard of the books.

And I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone when I say this, but the movies definitely don’t live up to that standard.

Not only do the films change the founding plot of the entire series by aging up the main trio of Percy, Annabeth and Grover from the age of 12 to 16, but the character dynamics are also notably different.

Percy and Annabeth’s relationship especially is altered from a slow burn romance as in the books, into more of a love as first sight type of relationship. And Percy’s relationship with Chiron, his mentor figure, also feels significantly shallow compared to that of the books.

The fight between Luke and Percy at the end of the movie is also vastly different than the books, as in the books, there’s not much of a fight at all, but just a confrontation which ends with Percy severely wounded.

But those few things are the only changes that are a major turnoff for me, although there are plenty more in the movie that the Percy Jackson fandom would love to tell you all about. And the second movie deserves a separate rant in and of itself.

For the sake of time though, let’s just skim over the rest and get back to the main topic: The Disney plus show.

I am beyond excited for this. The author of the books himself, Rick Riordan, is said to have heavy involvement with the production and direction of the show as a whole.

But wait, there’s more.

Because apart from Riordan spearheading the whole thing, the show was also blessed with the greatest casting of demigods that any Percy Jackson fan could ever ask for. Our main trio of Percy, Annabeth and Grover look better than ever, and can I just say, whoever decided to cast Lin Manuel Miranda as Hermes honestly deserves a raise.

And if all that wasn’t enough by itself, Riordan decided to add to the already insurmountable excitement by announcing that he’s going to release another mainline Percy Jackson book.

No, I’m not joking. I couldn’t make this up even if I wanted to.

All in all, 2023 seems like it’s shaping up to be the year of Percy Jackson. And if that’s the case, then I’m all here for it.