Based on the best selling novels by American author, Rick Riordan, the Percy Jackson books follow, well…Percy Jackson as he discovers he is actually the son of Poseidon. The main series is comprised of five books:
- The Lighting Thief
- The Sea of Monsters
- The Titan’s Curse
- The Battle of the Labryinth
- The Last Olympian
Of those main five books in the series, only two were adapted into movies. Of those two movie adaptations, only zero were good adaptations. It was clear Fox had no idea what they were doing when they decided to adapt these books into a franchise, except Fox wanted a Harry Potter-esque franchise of their own.
Percy Jackson is the type of story that should be a guaranteed commercial slam dunk. The Harry Potter vibe is there in terms of being a story of a heroic threesome attempting to save the world. Then, we get the Greek-mythological twist. The story is fun, has a ton of action, and is actually pretty educational (I know, ew).
These films should’ve been far more successful than they were. Now that Disney has purchased 20th Century Fox and their entire film library, they own Percy Jackson. There couldn’t be a more perfect studio to do these stories justice and they have plenty of options on how to do it.
The obvious option here is to give Percy and his friends a good dusting off for round two. A film series could absolutely work in the right hands, and Disney’s hands are certainly the right ones for this property.
This is the kind of material Disney could turn into a highly profitable franchise with mass appeal. They have the ability to take this material, and like Warner Brothers did Harry Potter, make a film franchise that balances the fantastical aspects with the ever increasing drama as the main characters get older.
The Potter films, while films about wizards and magic, were still very relatable films to kids growing up. The Percy Jackson films could potentially tap into that same formula for a rebooted film franchise:
A boy finds out he’s the son of Poseidon and a demigod, then he, along with his satyr (half man, half goat) best friend and love interest/fellow demigod, go on adventures and complete quests to save the world from the wrath of angry Gods.
I mean, come on. The story has the material to turn into a Harry Potter-ish franchise without a doubt. The potential for a hit franchise is there.
Fox didn’t know what they were doing when it came to this franchise. They changed so much of the story that I wasn’t sure what I was watching.
I’m not sure if you heard or not, but Disney kind of has a knack for adaptions.
The source material is juvenile enough to attract families while also becoming more mature as the movies go on (a la Harry Potter). This dynamic appeals to both the teenager and young-adult audience. It really is the perfect material for the House of Mouse.
Live-Action Disney+ Series
This is perhaps the best option for Disney to utilize. Even if it’s just initially to gauge interest levels in the property.
One very evident thing was seen in the film adaptations that Fox produced. The complete lack of development of the characters and the world the characters inhabit were heartbreaking. The characters felt hollow. The relationships felt forced. The story made very little sense as it barely reflected the books. And the payoffs felt unearned.
Expanding the story into a Disney+ Series would allow for more time to develop these characters and really flesh out the world around them. This is an interesting and very unique world these characters live in, the world itself is as big of, if not more so, a draw than the main characters themselves.
In order to properly develop a world, you need time, a series would provide more of that than a film. Part of the appeal of the books was how the Greek mythology was mixed perfectly in with modern America, like a PG-13 version of the hit Starz series, American Gods.
This mixture creates the unique setting of these stories. The world may appear “normal” from the outside, but there are fantastical elements to this normal world that aren’t seen unless they need to be. It’s the development of this world and setting that lends itself well to a series to be built up over time.
Disney + has been all the talk recently with their announcements of their extensive library of content including the additions of eight, yes I said eight, new Marvel shows and new Star Wars shows. Percy Jackson is another property ripe with potential that they could turn into an appealing series to add to their library.
Percy Jackson Universe
Why not do both? Maybe throw in an animated series as well for good measure?
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but the source material does provide the necessary materials to truly create a universe out of this world, these stories, and these characters.
In addition to the five books in the main Percy Jackson series, Riordan also created numerous related novels and series that take place before, during, and after the main series. Among those writings were two sequels book series:
The Heroes of Olympus
Detailing the conflict between the Greek demigods, the Roman demigods and Gaea/ Mother Earth, this series is a direct sequel the Percy Jackson series. The series is based upon a prophecy told in The Last Olympian in which seven demigods would unite to protect the world against Gaea.
The sequel series does feature some of the same characters from the main series like Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, but also features brand new characters. The series is comprised of five books:
- The Lost Hero
- The Son of Neptune
- The Mark of Athena
- The House of Hades
- The Blood of Olympus
Whether this series gets made into a film franchise or a TV series, it’s more than safe to say that there’s plenty of material to make either one work.
The Trials of Apollo
This series, follows the trials of the God, Apollo, who has been transformed into a human as a punishment from his father and King, Zeus. The Greek Supreme Being is angry with Apollo for many reasons, chiefly because Apollo allowed is Roman descendant, Octavian, to rise to power during the events of The Heroes of Olympus series.
The only two characters from the Percy Jackson series to appear in this series are Grover Underwood and Piper McLean. Outside of those two characters, the rest of the characters we are meeting for the first time. The series consists of four books:
- The Hidden Oracle
- The Dark Prophecy
- The Burning Maze
- The Tyrant’s Tomb
Like The Heroes of Olympus series, this series has plenty of material to fill a film franchise or Disney+ series. Ripe with interesting characters (new and familiar) and settings, this series would expand the Percy Jackson Universe even further.
Outside of sequel series, Riordan has also created a series of supplementary works, companion series if you will. Among these supplementary works are The Demigod Files and The Demigod Diaries.
The Demigod Files are a collection of short stories all revolving around Percy Jackson and taking place between the fourth and fifth books in the main series. The short stories simply tell tales of additional adventures and events Percy experiences during the time leading up to the event of the final book.
The Demigod Diaries, while also a collection of short stories, these stories are directly tied to the events of The Heroes of Olympus series. Unlike how The Demigod Files follow Percy Jackson for each story, the stories told in The Demigod Diaries follow a different character for each story.
The Final Chapter
All that material and Fox used it to make two film adaptations that weren’t even faithful to the books. Such a shame. But now, the story and the wealth of material are in the safest hands imaginable.
With the Percy Jackson novels, the two sequel series, and all of the companion books, Disney has a buffet of characters and storylines to select. Film franchises, Disney+ live action spin-off series, Disney+ animated series, Disney+ films…why not all of those?
So many options. Luckily, they also have a lot many characters for spin-off shows and films, stories from Greek mythology from which to draw inspiration, and so much source material to directly adapt onto whatever medium they so choose.
Percy Jackson is right where he needs to be. Now we wait for Disney to work their magic.