When Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was released in 2010, Percy Jackson & the Olympians (PJO) fans everywhere could hardly contain their excitement. Thinking that the film would see the original book’s narrative brought to life on-screen, fans rushed in droves to the theater to see it, only to be severely disappointed. Fans weren’t the only ones less than satisfied with the movies; Rick Riordan, the author of the book series, expressed his distaste for the film adaptations as well. Fans even went on to dub the movies as the “Peter Johnson” films — a not-so-affectionate nickname for Percy used in the novels by Dionysus.
Despite the woes of the past, hope has risen anew at Disney’s order for a live-action television adaptation of the series — this time with Riordan at the helm in the writers’ room. Along with that hope, a new wave of fervor for the PJO series and its sequel series, The Heroes of Olympus, has ignited, with veteran readers and newbies alike excited to see what could result from this reimagined telling of the stories.
With the series currently in development (though it hasn’t officially been picked up), it felt like the perfect time for a PJO re-read, and that led me to think: what are some classic scenes from the book that fans would like to see in the series? Today, we’re taking a look at moments from The Lightning Thief that we think should definitely make it into season 1 of the Percy Jackson live-action television adaptation.
- Minotaur Fight – Maybe this is just me, but I for one was always miffed that we never got to see Percy rip off the Minotaur’s horn with his bare hands as the gods intended. The film adaptation had the Minotaur run into a tree and Percy simply pulled out his horn and used it. This scene is one of the earliest indications of just how good Percy is at fighting — even without using his powers. I mean, come on, he was a scrawny little 12-year-old with no battle training, and yet he did that. I would like to see it.
- Percy’s Powers – There were so many instances in the first book where we discover a new ability of Percy’s, and I feel like that in itself is half the fun of the book’s worldbuilding Riordan does in introducing readers to the life of demigods. From talking to zebras, to becoming the “Supreme Lord of the Bathroom” (busting the bathrooms up to avoid being treated to a swirlie, so true), to diving off of the St. Louis Arch, to wading into Santa Monica Pier and promptly riding a mako shark, there are just so many fun moments to choose from that showcase Percy’s Posideon-fueled might.
Perce-onality (See what I did there?)
- Percy Jackson, Master of Chaos – If there is one thing fans can be sure of, it is that Percy is the literal embodiment of chaos. From sending Medusa’s head to Olympus (he said
“I am impertinent,” and he did not lie. Perseus “Pay your child support” Jackson everybody.) to charging headfirst into battle sans plan, the young demigod always keeps his companions and readers alike on their toes. We hope this is something that won’t change in the series.
- The Original Himbo – Battle strategy? Check. Quick, on the fly thinking? Check. Common sense? Womp womp. Percy Jackson is supreme leader of the fictional himbo club (especially when it comes to one Ms. Annabeth Chase). This trait combined with his unmatchable chaos is arguably the thing fans love most about Percy, and as such, we simply need this aspect of his personality to shine through on our TV screens.
Classic Percabeth Moments
- You Drool When You Sleep – Ah, the art of the loving roast — one Annabeth perfected early on as showcased by this scene. This scene was actually filmed, which is why it was especially heinous that it wasn’t included. Fans everywhere know this is a classic Percabeth moment. I mean, come on. It was so telling that their unique dynamic came out in one of their earliest interactions.
- The Tunnel of Love – Who doesn’t love this blessedly awkward pit stop on the young demigods’ quest? Though Percy and Annabeth don’t get together until the end of the first series, there are so many moments throughout the five books where you can see the young demigods’ affection for each other build — even if they are claiming to worry about cooties in the moment (ah, to be 12 again). This event feels like the first book’s biggest foreshadower about the eventual evolution of the pair’s friendship into a relationship. As such, it simply must be marked down for all to see play out in the television series.
- Seaweed Brain/Wise Girl – Does this one even need an explanation?
- Mr. D – Let’s be real. If we don’t see Mr. D call Percy Peter Johnson, Perry Johanssan, or some other ridiculous variation of the initials P.J., what is the point?
- Ares – In the first movie, Ares is never even mentioned, and with his character getting cut out, a major plot point goes with it: Hades’ Helm of Darkness. This plot ties in directly with Kronos’ role in the story (surprise surprise, he was also erased from the first movie), and without it, major gaps in the series’ timeline appear. Aside from that, I think Ares would be a cool character to encounter on the screen. Is anyone else secretly hoping for the infamous skin motorcycle to show up? Just me?
- Kronos – As I mentioned above, the Titan Lord of time wasn’t even mentioned in the first movie, which is puzzling to this day because he serves as the first series’ overarching villain.
- The Oracle – In the first movie, the Oracle (like many other important things) simply didn’t appear. A staple of Camp Half-Blood, the Oracle of Delphi is a constant in every book, and for good reason. By doling out prophecies, the Oracle is the impetus that signals the beginning of quests and major plotlines. Also, without said Speaker of Pheobus Apollo, we’d be missing a crucial piece of Luke Castellan’s origin story — and we’d never meet Rachel Elizabeth Dare (much later of course), and that is truly a crime.
- Blue Food – This obviosuly isn’t a major storyline, but is it truly PJO without the blue foods???
Throughout his career, Riordan has worked on trying to include diverse representation within his stories, including characters of various races, religions, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds. It would be amazing to see that translate over onto a visual medium, especially because of the far reach this television program will be sure to have on younger and older audiences alike. Things are certainly looking up with Riordan’s statement concerning the preliminary casting call.
This quest for diversification of characters began with the topic of learning disabilities, something built into the PJO series. As Riordan has talked about, PJO was written for his son who was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia as a child. Many of the demigods in PJO have some type of learning or processing disorder, allowing people to see a bit of themselves in the characters they love so much. We hope that the positive and educational conversations celebrating people’s differences that are present in Riordan’s works will continue to expand and be a theme in the show.
OG Cast Reunion
While the fandom generally wrote off the movies, very few people slam the actual cast members themselves. I, for one, think it would be a wonderful treat to have some of the cast from the movie franchise make a reappearance in some form or fashion — perhaps as the gods of Olympus themselves? You can’t tell me you can’t see Logan Lerman in a Hawaiin shirt, Bermuda shorts, and flip-flops with a trusty trident at his side as Poseidon, or Jake Abel with a caduceus as Hermes. Regardless, seeing the cast members in some capacity would be nice, especially seeing as how they have expressed their hopes for the television series’ success as a true homage to the novels.
Picking and choosing what things will actually appear in the live-action PJO series will undoubtedly be a difficult task for the writers’ room, as every single detail can’t be included. However, we have faith that with Rick and Becky Riordan at the helm alongside a team who is equally impassioned about this classic children’s book series being adapted right, fans will finally get the adaptation they deserve.