5 Ways ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ TV Show Will Differ From the Movie Adaptation

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5 Ways ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ TV Show Will Differ From the Movie Adaptation

Percy Jackson & the Olympians is a novel series written by Rick Riordan. There are six parts of the series written so far with the latest one being Percy Jackson: The Chalice of the Gods. The first book-to-screen adaptation of the novel came out in 2010 with Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. The film starred Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, Brandon T. Jackson as Grover Underwood, and Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth Chase.

The film adaptations got mixed reviews and were continued with one more installment, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Percy Jackson never returned for another installment. Good news for the fans though — Percy Jackson, after 10 years, is now back with a TV adaption for Disney+ this time. The new series is called Percy Jackson and the Olympians and its first season will premiere on December 20, 2023. The show’s first season will have eight episodes and the differences between the film adaptation and TV series are already clear. Let’s find out how the TV adaptation of Percy Jackson and the Olympians differs from its silver-screen counterpart. 

1. The Main Half-Blood Characters Are Played by Kids

Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief

In the 2010 movie adaptation, the character Percy, portrayed by Lerman, was about 18 years old. Similarly, other main half-bloods, played by talents like Daddario and Jackson, were from the same age group at the half-blood camp. Contrastingly, in the Disney+ series, younger actors have taken the mantle. Walker Scobell and Leah Jeffries, both around 12 at the time of cast, lead the pack, while Aryan Simhadri, who plays Grover Underwood, is three years older than the Scobell and Jeffries but still appears younger than the film’s main cast. This likely adds a new dynamic to the show and will allow the showrunners to project the story as a coming-of-age one — hoping that it gets renewed for another season.

2. The TV Series Will Have a More Diverse Cast

Cast of Percy Jackson TV Show

While the role of Annabeth was played by Daddario in the film, Jeffries, a person of color, takes it on in the Disney+ adaptation. Similarly, Simhadri, who plays the goat-legged Grover is an Indian-American actor. Better yet, the role of Zeus, played by Sean Bean in the film adaptation, is now being taken on by none other than John Wick’s Lance Riddick. This diverse cast underscores the deliberate decisions made by the show’s creators to add variety and distinction to the show.

3. Rick Riordan Was Openly Critical of the Movies But Is Fully Involved With the TV Series

Scene from one of the Movies

The film and novel series made after the Greek Gods was Riordan’s brain-child. He was passionate about its on-screen adaptation but only a few months in Riordan became alienated from how the film was going to turn out. The writer had gone public about the creative differences he had. In 2019, however, Riordan pitched the idea of a TV show to Disney+. In 2020, the development of the show was announced. Riordan isn’t only actively involved with the creative process this time but has also co-written the pilot episode and has created a “Bible” for the show that will be followed throughout.

4. Poseidon Will Have More Screentime

Poseidon (Far Right) in percy jackson movie

In the movie adaptation, Poseidon made a fleeting appearance, portrayed as a significant figure preoccupied with his duties, leaving little time for his son. Nevertheless, his indirect support and guidance never failed Percy. Contrastingly, in the TV adaptation, Poseidon, played by Toby Stephens, is slated to appear in two episodes, as is Riddick’s Zeus. This suggests that Poseidon will likely have a more substantial screen presence compared to his brief role in the movie counterpart of the series.

5. The Series Will Include Many Parts From the Books That Were Omitted From the Movies

Percy Jackson TV Show adaptation

Percy Jackson and the Olympians season 1 will follow the first book — The Lightning Thief. However, as compared to the movie which had a runtime of approximately 2 hours, the show will have significantly more room to include all the tiny details from the book. “I think we had the advantage of, if you have eight… half-hour or 40-minute or whatever it is to tell the story of the chapter book itself, that’s to our advantage for sure. You know, the movie — 90 minutes is not a long time to tell this quite complicated story,” the show’s executive producer James Bobin confirmed in an interview with The Direct.

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