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‘Percy Jackson & the Olympians’ EPs Talk Adapting & Honoring Books, Plus Reactions to Early Footage | Features

Walker Scobell as Percy Jackson in 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' Season 1 Episode 2

An armor-clad Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell) looks out into a forest at Camp Half-Blood in Percy Jackson and the Olympians Season 1 Episode 2 (Credit: Disney/David Bukach)

Like many Gen-Z readers, Percy Jackson was one of the book franchises that got Romatowski into reading. “Percy Jackson himself was one of my first comfort characters, really,” they share, “and I appreciate that they are taking it so seriously. They’re putting so much heart and effort into the production.”

These three agree that based on what they saw during the panel, they trust this team to take creative liberties with the source material. They want some liberties taken, in fact. As Negron-Main explains, they “would be disappointed if” the show made an exact, one-to-one adaptation of the book plot. “We already have the books,” they say. “Nothing can compare to the books the way that I would want them to, but I feel like this is going above and beyond what you would expect.”

“We saw a little bit of things that were just ever so slightly different than the way that they’re written in the book,” says Vos. “I already am totally on board with the things that they have done, and I’m excited to see what they did throughout the rest of the series.”

“Because Rick has been so involved and because we have all of this evidence of every step of the way being so careful and precise, I feel like it is in good hands,” they add. “I’m excited to see how they bring new perspectives and more depth to the story. Even if it’s not a one-for-one translation, I’m excited to see how it is translated.”

TV Insider shared this fan reaction with Steinberg and Shotz during a roundtable interview backstage at NYCC. Other than the teasers, the Comic Con scenes was the first time any fan anywhere in the world saw Percy Jackson and the Olympians Season 1 footage. While Shotz initially feared the fan response (“Do we want to hear this?” he asked with a nervous laugh), he was grateful to hear their thoughts.

Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jeffries, and Aryan Simhadri in 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians'

Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jeffries, and Aryan Simhadri as Percy, Annabeth, and Grover (Credit: Disney)

“Even with when the teaser came out, the fan base went on social media and was zeroing in on certain details being like, ‘Wait, why are we seeing that? I don’t remember that from the book, but this must be set up in this part.’ And so they were playing along with us, of what about this are we exploring? And so to hear that reaction — thank you for sharing that — is overwhelming in the best way. It’s exciting to think that they are, yes, wanting us to honor the books that they’ve loved for a generation, but at the same time, there are things that they’re excited about in finding new ways that this story can broaden itself.”

Speaking of what did make into the series and what didn’t, Steinberg confirms there are things from The Lightning Thief that naturally didn’t make it into Season 1.

“There was never an exercise of how do we get everything in,” he explains. “I think the exercise was how do we get everything that we feel like you are really looking forward to in. I think the hope was that a diehard fan could watch this and feel like all the stuff you’re looking forward to is there.”

“Does that mean everything’s in it? Of course not,” he continues. “And I think that that was something that even before we had a conversation with Rick and Becky about how this was going to work, even they knew we’re not saying this is going to be a xeroxing of the book into a script. But I think you get the big pieces.”

“And it’s an adaptation. It is important to find new things,” Shotz adds. “We constantly, as we were sitting in the writers’ room, were figuring out what can we pull out of this that you didn’t see here? Oh, it can go this direction, it can go that direction. So yeah, it’s honoring and being true to the set pieces, the worlds, the characters, and at the same time finding new stuff so that when someone’s coming to this, ‘Oh, I read this 20, 18 years ago,’ and it’s like, ‘I’m coming to this and it’s like, yeah, I’m getting my book, but I’m also getting so much more.’”

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Series Premiere, Wednesday, December 20, Disney+

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