When I was ten years old, I discovered the book series that would change my life.
I distinctly remember cracking open the cover of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan in the car as we drove to New York City for a family vacation. I had always been a voracious reader, but I think I set a new record for myself when I finished that book in just a couple of days and then immediately devoured the rest of the series. Percy’s voice pulled me into his story and his world and wouldn’t let me go. After reading the rest of Riordan’s series, I was struck with the realization that I wanted to create worlds and change lives using only words just like he did. I wanted to help others escape their lives for a couple of minutes, hours, or days simply by telling a good story like he did. I wanted to become a writer, a decision that would change the course of my life.
But why is Percy’s story so relatable and compelling for so many readers, young, old, and everything in between? His adventure has inspired two (not-so-true-to-the-plot) movies and even a (true-to-the-plot) Broadway musical, not to mention the millions of fans who have re-read the books more times than they can count and all the fanfictions, cosplay costumes, and fan illustrations that have been created. Percy Jackson has spent 535 consecutive weeks on the New York Times’ List of Best Sellers. 535 weeks! His sassy voice draws readers in, and his dyslexia and ADHD are relatable for many people. Percy and his friends taught the world that it’s okay to be different and that the very things that make you unique are also what make you strong. He, Annabeth, and Grover never back down. They rise to whatever challenge awaits them, even under the threat of death, and they always try. Yes, the demigods are fighting mythological monsters, but they’re also fighting monsters that are very real in our world today: bullying, judgement, and deceit. Each version of Percy’s story has shown that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it, a very important message for readers and viewers alike.
And it was announced on May 14th that this message is now going to reach audiences through a live-action television show on Disney+.
Although this announcement brings back memories from the release of the disappointing 2010 film adaptation, fans of the series are thrilled by the news of the TV adaptation because author Rick Riordan who was intentionally left out of the planning process for the film is going to be involved every step of the way for the TV series. He’s already hard at work writing the outline for the pilot episode after months of meetings with the Disney producers. Even though The Lightning Thief Musical provided a true-to-the-plot adaptation that the fans have been craving, Riordan is determined not to let the TV series become a repeat of the disappointing films. The very plan to adapt all five books of the series through the format of one book a season ensures more time spent on the plot points and will hopefully allow the show to stay true to the story that readers know and love. Unfortunately, while this news is extremely exciting, there isn’t much more of it. Predictions abound, but Riordan explained on Twitter that they don’t know anything else at the moment, even including what year the first season will likely be released. The loyal fandom refuses to be discouraged, however, and as the rumors fly, the love all the fans share for these characters dear to our hearts continues to grow.
So, while you’re waiting for this sure-to-be-epic TV show to be released, why not re-read the story of Percy Jackson again? Or listen to the cast album of the musical? Now’s the time to immerse yourself once again in the world of heroes and monsters, gods and goddesses, friends and foes. And buckle up; the TV show will be here before we know it.
I know I’m ready.
PRR Writer, Wendy Waltrip
Pick up your own copy of the series today!