The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

The Student News Site of Buena High School

Buena Speaks

“Percy Jackson” franchise finds its sea legs with Disney

Percy Jackson from TV show to book to movie (left to right). A transformation worthy of the demigod himself.
Isabella Prewitt
Percy Jackson from TV show to book to movie (left to right). A transformation worthy of the demigod himself.

Three different stories, three different heroes, three different interpretations, all from one world. The “Percy Jackson” franchise has been around since the first book, “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan, published in June 2005. Since then, the series has exploded around the world reaching people of all ages. The latest rendition is Disney’s new TV adaptation, “Percy Jackson and The Olympians,” which came out on their streaming service, Disney+, Dec. 20, 2023. 

The story follows a 12-year-old boy, Percy Jackson, as he discovers his origins as a demi-god and the dangers following him. Meeting friends such as Grover and Annabeth on his journey, Percy uncovers new pieces of himself and his past. The books are based on Greek mythology and the legends of Gods before Percy’s time are heavily referenced, and impact the new generation’s story-line.

Because the books are beloved by fans, any adaptation is bound to have criticism. The first adaptation that was created was the movie, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” came out in 2010, five years after the publication of the first book. In the movie, Percy is played by Logan Lerman who was 17-years-old at the time of filming.

The main issue with the movie adaptation was the fact that the characters’ ages drastically changed from 12 to 16, which also changed the story’s demographic. One of the biggest problems between the book and the movie adaptation is the sexual nature of the characters in the film. Grover, who in the books is described as sweet and kind in nature, is turned into a horny and perverted teenage boy, who is supposedly comedic relief. 

The movie takes the baseline of the plot of the book and completely rewrites the quest aspect of the story. Instead of Percy and his friends trying to get a straight shot to LA, without flying, and facing obstacles and monsters along the way, the movie’s characters search for Persephone’s pearls. 

In any book-to-movie adaptation, there will always be changes since some books are more complex than others, and following the plot exactly would make the movie too long. Hollywood’s job is to make the adaptation entertaining for their current audience, causing most of the plot points to be cut and re-established to fit the movie’s length of two hours. 

This is where the TV show adaptation is already showing more promise to readers and fans. The show cast Walker Scobell as Percy who was 13 when filming the show only one year older than Percy was in book one. Within the first five of eight episodes, fans can already see the similarities that the movie lacked. 

Some people will claim that the show is a little boring or conventional, but true Percy Jackson fans understand that the show is similar to the books with pacing, if not faster.”

The actors not only fit the characters’ original ages but the episodes are filmed and released like chapters in a book, which readers of the series can appreciate. The show takes creative liberties to modernize the story, such as cast diversity and modern cultural references, while still keeping to the original atmosphere of the books. 

The TV series has a budget of around 12-15 million per episode, which gives the production as a whole much more flexibility. Since the series has five books, it is easier to have five seasons of a show than five whole movies that would not stay true to the original story, and because of this they were canceled after the second movie. It should also be noted how the format of a TV show can allow the writers and directors to explore more details within the story and add more modern takes. 

One of the most profound moments in the new show would have to be the scene when Percy meets Medusa for the first time and listens to her story. After understanding her past and the punishment she received from Athena he asks her “If you aren’t a monster then what are you?” and Medusa responds with “I’m a survivor.” This is setting an example for children watching the show to hold empathy for those whom they don’t fully understand. Disney did an incredible job in showing the growth of this new generation and what children should be seeing in their media. 

Some people will claim that the show is a little boring or conventional, but true Percy Jackson fans understand that the show is similar to the books with pacing, if not faster. As more episodes are released the more fans are shown the complexities woven within the show. The show even has small references to The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, which has to do with Grover’s “Consensus Song” in episode three.

Rick Riordan is a co-creator on the show, whereas with the movies Riordan had little to do with the films at all. This means that even if readers and fans disagree with how the show is telling the story, the author himself is happy with the direction the show is taking. In most adaptations, the ones that have direct author input are usually the best adaptations as the energy of the story stays consistent.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Isabella Prewitt, Editor-in-Chief
Isabella Prewitt is a senior at BHS and in her second year at Buena Speaks. She loves playing water polo/swimming, reading, and hanging out with her friends.

Comments (0)

All Buena Speaks Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *