The Percy Jackson movies are famously disliked by fans of the books. And author Rick Riordan hates them even more. In fact, he didn’t even see the movies because of how much he disliked the scripts. He was largely shut out of the creative process for the films, and his input was rarely considered when offered. But with the Percy Jackson TV series on Disney+, that’s all going to change. A TV adaptation means there’s plenty of time to include scenes from the books the movies left out (or in some cases, completely changed). And Riordan revealed a scene he’s looking forward to creating the most in a recent interview.
Is the Gateway Arch in ‘Percy Jackson’?
A lot of pivotal things from Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief were excluded from its big screen adaptation in 2010. The characters were also completely contradictory to the source material. And things as basic as the age of the characters were changed. While aging up characters is common, it’s a major flaw for Percy Jackson. The prophecy the entire book series is based on depends entirely on Percy growing from age 12 to 16.
Major battles from The Lightning Thief were excluded as well. One thing the Logan Lerman movie left out was the battle at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Percy and his friends, Annabeth and Grover, travel across the United States on a quest to find Zeus’ stolen thunderbolt. They encounter countless monsters along the way, and many battle scenes take place at American landmarks.
At the Gateway Arch, Percy fights Echidna, Mother of Monsters, and the Chimera (which manifests as a chihuahua). The scene is significant because Percy jumps from the top of the 630-foot tall structure and survives. He lands in the Mississippi River below. A being the son of Poseidon, the water heals him. He’s also completely dry and breathing while submerged. This scene marks the first time Percy prays to his father for help. And while still in the river, a nymph approaches the young demigod with a message from his father telling him where to go on his quest next.
Rick Riordan is excited to finally depict the Gateway Arch scene for the ‘Percy Jackson’ TV series
It’s a big moment, to say the least — one fans wish they had seen in the movie. And Riordan is eager to make it. He cited it in a recent interview while on a press tour for his book The Tower of Nero (part of The Trials of Apollo, a Percy Jackson spin-off series).
“I am especially looking forward, I think, to the St. Louis Arch scene because we haven’t gotten to see that ever,” he said, according to fan site Oráculo dos Semideuses. “So that’ll be fun.”
On June 13, Riordan shared on his blog that the pilot script and season 1 outline are already complete. The plan for the St. Louis Arch scene is undoubtedly included. A previous update also announced they’ve begun the search for their Percy Jackson actor. Now, finding a director is the last hurdle before the show can start production “in earnest,” Riordan said.
Once they start, they’ll have access to Disney’s bevy of resources and funding. It’s Riordan’s hope that Percy Jackson will be approved for a budget comparable to that of The Mandalorian and WandaVision.
‘Percy Jackson’ on Disney+ could use film tech made famous by ‘The Mandalorian’
Riordan is hoping Percy Jackson will have more in common with The Mandalorian than just budgets. As he said:
“So the filming. That’s later, but there is a lot of different ways we’re looking at doing this, like, for instance, we could do some location visits. We also might have access to the rig, which is the virtual environment where they, for instance, film The Mandalorian, and they do it like all there in the room, but they do amazing things with it. So we have a lot of very cool toys that we can maybe play with.”
This specific rig is a revolutionary new tool created by famed special effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Rather than actors having to perform in a room made of green screens on every wall, the Stagecraft by ILM is a round room with large LED screens. Also called the Volume, the technology powering it allows for the image on the LED screens to follow along with the camera. The effect is an extremely realistic landscape for actors to perform in front of and fans to enjoy. And it eliminates the need for a green screen.
Percy Jackson will be filled to the brim with special effects. And depicting Percy jumping from the top of the St. Louis Arch into the Mississippi river below will be able to be more realistically portrayed with the help of the Stagecraft.