Percy Jackson Disney+ Show Adds New Details to Lightning Thief's Story

Creator Rick Riordan reveals some of the ways that Percy Jackson and the Olympians is going to differ from the original book saga. Disney+'s upcoming Percy Jackson show is based on Riordan's best-selling series, with season 1 setting out to adapt the first book, The Lightning Thief; any further seasons will likely adapt the subsequent novels. The book series also sparked a 2010 movie and 2013 sequel that both debuted to mixed reviews, thanks to noticeable changes from the books like making the pre-teen characters significantly older.


Now, Riordan is aiming for a much more accurate adaptation with the help of Walker Scobell as Percy, Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth Chase, and Aryan Simhadri as Grover Underwood. The new Percy Jackson series first started filming this June with showrunners Jonathan E. Steinberg and Dan Shotz, who previously worked on Black Sails and FX's The Old Man. Riordan has continually assured fans that the Disney+ series will be a better representation of the books, particularly since he dislikes the movies. For example, Percy Jackson season 1 is already confirmed to feature notable book moments like the Minotaur fight and Camp Half-Blood's Capture the Flag. However, this doesn't mean there won't be some changes to the story.

Related: The Percy Jackson Series Can Create Disney's Own MCU Rival

As filming continues, Riordan keeps giving frequent Percy Jackson and the Olympians progress updates on his blog. In his latest post, the author reiterates that the Disney+ adaptation of his Percy Jackson novels stays true to his original works. However, he also shares some ways in which the TV show will be different. Read Riordan's full quote below:

How much Percy content have we covered? Put it this way: If you were following along in the book, we have pretty much filmed through chapter nine in The Lightning Thief. That’s a big chunk of the story, but there is a massive amount of fun and games still to come! And yes, the filming has followed the book story very closely, almost as if the author were involved himself! Sure, there are small tweaks and changes here and there, which were mutually agreed upon, but the biggest difference is the ‘value added.’ You will get peeks at character backstory, foreshadowing Easter eggs of things to come, and nuances in Percy’s family history that I think you will love. The neat thing about revisiting this tale, almost twenty years after I first wrote it, is that I get to address some of the questions that fans have asked me over the years: “What does this mean?” “Why does this happen the way it does?” “What would happen if —?” It’s been really satisfying and fun.

percy jackson annabeth chase and Grover Underwood in percy jackson and the lightening thief 2010

Scobell also recently shared some of the ways that his new Percy Jackson diverges from previous iterations of the character. While Logan Lerman's 2010 Percy is often portrayed with a calm demeanor, Scobell reveals that his Percy will have "Poseidon's fury", which the actor has enjoyed getting to perform. Coupled with Riordan's comments, it seems like Percy's feelings of anger and frustration will be among the elements that will get new, deeper development on the show. One of the more controversial (while albeit insignificant) changes to Scobell's Percy is that his version of the character may be blonde instead of having his infamous black hair from the book. However, it still sounds like fans don't have to worry too much about accuracy here.

As an adaptation is translated from one medium to another, changes are going to be inevitable. Understandably, this can make fans of the original apprehensive about engaging with the new interpretation. However, shows like Netflix's The Sandman have proven that having the original creator on board makes for a much smoother, and much more successful, transition process. With creator Riordan involved, it's clear that any changes made for Percy Jackson and the Olympians will stay true to the intended tone of the original book series. It might even enhance the stories that came before as Riordan gets to explore fresh details on a grand scale.

Source: Rick Riordan