Why The First ‘Percy Jackson’ Adaptation Left Fans Outraged
With the recent news of the Disney+ Percy Jackson reboot, fans are immensely excited for what’s to come. Rick Riordan announced the upcoming live-action series on his social media. The first season will cover the events of the first novel in the series, The Lightning Thief. He also assured fans that he and his wife Becky Riordan will be very involved in the writing of the script. Fans on social media are ecstatic since the first films completely deviated from the original novels.
The first adaptation made the big mistake of aging the characters up
Percy Jackson and the Olympians series consists of five novels and tells the story of a kid who finds out Greek gods and goddesses exist. And that he’s the son of Poseidon. It’s a lot of fun and very adventurous. Over the course of the five books, Percy goes on many quests and it all leads up to a prophecy aimed at his 16th birthday.
However, the 2010 movie had very little in common with those books. When Riordan first read the script, he noted that it wasn’t accurate and disliked a lot of it. In fact, in an email he wrote to producers in 2009, he told them it was “terrible.”
A big mistake the script made was aging up the characters. As stated above, the kids start off around 12 years old, and the books take them through their early teen years. In the first film, the characters are 17 or so.
Riordan told the producers that this would would “kill” any chance of a franchise if they went with this concept, and we know that it ultimately did. It also didn’t allow for the movie to focus on Percy’s prophecy. You know, the thing that’s central to the whole series and a major aspect of Greek mythology.
“These kids are the seed audience for the movie,” Riordan wrote about 9-12-year-olds the books are made for. “They are the ones who will show up first with their families, then tell their friends to go, or not go, depending on how they liked it. They are looking for one thing: How faithful was the movie to the book? Make Percy seventeen, and that battle is lost before filming even begins.”
The movie also changed the character of the villain too much and made the romance way too direct
Riordan also noted that, in the script, the character of Luke was turned into “a sniveling little slimeball.” He said that Luke is meant to be cool, older, and competition for Annabeth’s attention. He’s someone that the younger kids look up to and he’s also not supposed to blatantly be a villain.
He also wanted the dialogue to “sparkle” and “freshened up.” He noted that there wasn’t any “Percy-brand humor” and noted that even as a movie not based on a book, it didn’t work well.
Another major thing wrong with the scripts is the fact that the romance between Percy and Annabeth is so straightforward and obvious. “On the romantic front, Percy is attracted to Annabeth, but she also intimidates and annoys him at times,” Riordan wrote. “He’s not completely driven by hormones to get the girl, as he is in the script. Their relationship needs to be more nuanced.”
Another problem with this is that it didn’t leave a lot of room for growth going forward.
Author Rick Riordan offered to rewrite the script and predicted fans would hate it
Riordan basically said that the person who wrote this script hadn’t read his books. Things needed to change to please fans, and Riordan offered to rewrite the script. They didn’t take him up on that offer, and that might be why fans were outraged with the adaptation. And Riordan warned of this.
“If the script goes forward in its present form, I don’t need to be the Oracle of Delphi to foresee what will happen,” he wrote. “You will lose the fans of the series 100%, but more importantly the script will fail to impress even regular moviegoers who haven’t read the book.”
But, regardless, Riordan is currently working on the reboot and has much more input. If all goes well, fans might even get Heroes of Olympus at some point too. Greek and Roman gods, here we come.