Disney recently announced that they will be developing a Percy Jackson TV series adaptation for their Disney+ streaming service. This new series will be a reboot, completely separate from the two Percy Jackson fantasy-adventure films starring Logan Lerman that we got from 20th Century Fox back in 2010 and 2013, respectively. You know who’s really happy that Disney are essentially tossing out those older films after acquiring them through the Fox takeover? Rick Riordan. Who’s he? Oh, only the guy who created Percy Jackson.
Riordan has long made no secret of the fact that he was not happy with how Fox adapted his best-selling book series, which followed the titular teen who discovers that he is actually the demigod son of a mortal mother and the Greek god Poseidon. However, the author’s enmity for Fox’s adaptations reemerged recently after some prompting on Twitter. It began when a Twitter user tagged in Riordan complaining that the first film, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – which is currently available on Disney+ – had a scene that was censored unnecessarily. I have no idea what the censoring is, and further reading seems to imply that nobody else knows what this twitter user is talking about as the cut appears to be identical to the theatrical version. Whether this person made a mistake or not, it definitely set Riordan off.
This prompted some feedback from other Twitter users, some of whom really enjoyed the films while others were not impressed. Not impressed would be big step up for Riordan though, who compared the process of having his work adapted to “going through a meat grinder”.
That last line is the most telling. Does this imply that Riordan is feeling better about Disney’s upcoming TV series adaptation? Maybe the House of Mouse actually did the one thing Fox never did, which was actually listen to the guy who originally wrote the story about how to now write this story. Riordan revealed that it was this major oversight on Fox’s part – and nothing to do with the cast – that resulted in him never having watched the movies and never planning to.
Some folks responded though by saying that it doesn’t matter if Riordan actually liked the movie adaptations or not, or even bothers to see him, because before the movies ever hit the screen he had already been paid his lucrative development deal. Well, that’s not quite true.
If you’re wondering exactly what it was about the Percy Jackson scripts that Riordan hated so much, you can check out a blog post he did about it in 2018 where he detailed some of his failed battles with producers. These include things like ageing Percy up from 12 to 17 years old, a change that directly contradicts a prophecy that is central to the books’ story. Also how the movies were aimed at the late-teen Young Adult crowd, but the books were actually written for and had a well-established audience of 9 to 12-year old kids.
And Riordan may just have been onto something. The first film and its sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, both ended up being completely innocuous but kind of forgettable cinema fluff that got very mixed reviews from critics – though most praised the performances from the young cast. Both films were technically box office success as they each turned a profit, they were actually rather meagre dividends, resulting in no further adaptations of Riordan’s other Percy Jackson books or its two follow-up series since.
What did you folks think of the Percy Jackson movies? Are you excited for the upcoming series where maybe the character can get done right on screen for the first time?
Last Updated: June 10, 2020