It’s been a tumultuous decade but Rick Riordan is finally all in again on Percy Jackson and Hollywood. The creator of the popular book franchise was famously unimpressed about how Fox treated his characters with its two movie adaptations, 2010’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and 2013’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Sea of Monsters. But now, he’s much more confident that Disney is doing right by him and the fans with the new Disney+ streaming series Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Are Fans Tired of Marvel and DC? Superhero Fatigue at NYCC 2023
“After the movie experience, I basically wrote off Hollywood for a long, long time,” Riordan told Variety. “I really didn’t want to have anything to do with the film industry. There were many years of me saying, ‘I don’t want to engage. I don’t want to think about other adaptations. I’m done.’ But when it started to become clear that something was going to happen with me or without me, I had a long talk with Becky, my wife. We said, ‘Well, if something’s going to happen, it’s probably best to give it one more shot.’”
The Disney+ series, which debuts with two episodes on December 20, reportedly costs as much as The Mandalorian (up to $15 million per episode) and was developed in tandem with Riordan. One of the biggest changes is that this time, Percy and his friends will be age-appropriate. The films cast 20-year-olds as the young teenagers—but now, actual teenagers play the roles.
“Now, having been through the production process, I totally get why they did that. It’s much easier to work with older actors,” Riordan said, but he’s glad the series didn’t do that. “Once you have older teens, it’s a completely different dynamic. You lose so much of the wonder. The magic of being a middle grader doesn’t come across the same way. There’s a jaded teenage quality.” Riordan thinks the new approach (he calls the new cast “perfect”) is much more in line with his intentions with the multi-book series, and will satisfy fans who were frustrated with how the movies handled the story. And if the show is a success, the plan is to go on and adapt as many of Riordan’s books as possible.
“We want them all,” Karey Burke, president of Disney’s 20th Television, told Variety. “In spite of the movie experience that he had before, he’s an expansive thinker about his work. He doesn’t have a rigid interpretation of it. The other series that he’s created that live in this world are all part of our universe that we can adapt.”
You can read much, much more about the world of Percy Jackson, including the casting, chemistry between the leads, and more, over at Variety. The piece certainly made me more interested in the show. Disney, it seems, is treating it with the respect and scale of its Marvel and Lucasfilm shows. Which is saying a lot.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.