Percy Jackson Series Took Inspiration From An ’80s Sci-Fi Classic

By Douglas Helm | Published

The release of the Disney+ series Percy Jackson and the Olympians is just around the corner, and fans of Rick Riordan’s beloved book series are hoping that it lives up to expectations. Purely from an inspiration standpoint, it seems like the creative team is on the right track.

ET the Extra-Terrestrial As Inspiration

Director James Bobin, who directed the first two episodes of the show, cited the all-time classic Steven Spielberg film ET the Extra-Terrestrial as a visual and emotional inspiration.

Bobin said, “E.T.’s a good working example of how we wanted this to feel.”

And that it’s like the 1982 film in the sense that it’s “emotionally grounded and very real,” while also incorporating fantastical elements (via TV Insider).

Percy Jackson Capturing That Magic?

As far as making the viewers feel a sense of wonder and magic, it doesn’t get much better than Steven Spielberg.

If Percy Jackson and the Olympians can capture some of that essence, viewers will certainly be in for a treat.

It should also help to make up for the times fans of the book franchise have been slighted by Hollywood’s handling of the source material.

Percy Jackson Movie Issues

Film adaptations of Rick Riordan’s book series were released in 2010 and 2013 by 20th Century Fox but were not well-loved by fans due to their deviations from the source material and the lack of involvement from Riordan.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians has already righted one of the wrongs by bringing on Riordan as a co-creator, executive producer, and writer for the series. It seems like fans will finally be getting a faithful adaptation all these years later.

First Season Based On The Lightning Thief

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The first season of Percy Jackson and the Olympians will adapt the first book of the series, The Lightning Thief.

The book follows 12-year-old Percy Jackson, who is a demigod born to Poseidon and a human mother who learns of his divine heritage and goes to Camp Half-Blood, a training ground for demigods.

However, he finds himself accused of stealing the master thunderbolt of Zeus, leading him to embark on a quest to clear his name.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Cast

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians will star Walter Scobell in the titular role, along with Aryan Simhadri and Leah Sava Jeffries as his companions Grover the satyr and the demigod Annabeth. Lance Reddick, in one of his final roles before his passing, plays Zeus.

The rest of the cast is rounded out by Toby Stephens as Poseidon, Virginia Kull as Sally Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hermes, Glynn Turman as Chiron, Jason Mantzoukas as Dionysus, Megan Mullaly as Alecto, Timm Sharp as Gabe, and Dior Goodjohn as Clarisse La Rue.

Plus, there is Charlie Bushnell as Luke Castellan, Adam Copeland as Ares, Timothy Omundson as Hephaestus, Olivea Morton as Nancy Bobofit, Suzanne Cryer as Echidna, Jessica Parker Kennedy as Medusa, and Jay Duplass as Hades.

Next Big Hit?

percy jackson

Undoubtedly, Disney is hoping that Percy Jackson and the Olympians can be the next big YA hit on the level of the Harry Potter and Hunger Games franchises.

We’ll just have to wait and see if the series can pull off something that pleases both book fans and newcomers alike. You can check out the series when it hits Disney+ on December 20.