It was recently announced that the Percy Jackson series is getting a Disney Plus adaptation which made a lot of people nervous, considering the disaster that was the cinematic installment of the series (not to mention the Broadway show). The creator of the series Rick Riordan had famously slammed the Logan Lerman-starrer films as his ‘life’s work going through a meat grinder.’
But a new adaptation obviously brings fresh hope, maybe the reboot would make some necessary updates and come up with a better plot design, since Riordan himself will be heavily involved with the development. But would the mythology-led series work in 2020?
10 Could Succeed: Not Enough Greek Mythological/ Fantasy Outings
Greek mythology is vibrant, rich, and intricate, however, Hollywood has never been able to commercialize it the right way. Even in movies like Clash of the Titans, Troy, or 300, the essence of Hellenic culture just wasn’t there, and these movies never really attracted young crowds. Percy Jackson is a young, cool demi-god who is human and was identifiable and his story could actually showcase the entire breadth of Greek mythology, from the mighty gods to popular folklore tales, and that could certainly turn out to be a promising outing under the right director.
9 Should Be Forgotten: Would Need A Total Revamp
Ideally, 20th Century Fox should have done away with the entire cast once they realized that it wasn’t working, after The Lightning Thief did not do as well as expected. But bringing out a sequel with the same cast and formulaic screenplay cemented Percy Jackson’s legacy as a failed franchise because as critics unanimously agreed the films just weren’t cutting it.
A major reason for that is, of course, the makers couldn’t figure out the tone of the film and it was very different from Rick Riordan’s narrative style which alienated the fans of the books. Plus, striking the perfect balance between ancient Greek gods and the modern world and weaving them in the same story is difficult and unless the entire franchise gets totally rebooted with a different style and a different approach, it just won’t work.
8 Could Still Work: Has Some Excellent Storytelling
Riordan’s literary abilities are boundless when it comes to getting youngsters interested in ancient mythology, which is how the Percy Jackson books became such a hot-selling young adult series. Each story was designed around a focal point that was in some way or other interesting to teens and even pre-teens. But the films, especially Lightning Thief, made things too complicated and simultaneously did away with a lot of the background detailing which took away from the feel of the books. If the franchise does come out with another film, the makers need to stick more closely to Riordan’s styling and design.
7 Should Be Forgotten: Mythical Fantasy Will Always Have Naysayers
Even really well-made mythology-led fantasy films (be it Troy, Ben-Hur, or The Mummy) are not everybody’s cup of tea. They are very different from straightforward fantasy films, as mythical fantasy is closely associated with the idea of research or history.
Most viewers think they need to be aware of a certain premise if they buy tickets to a history-backed fantasy film, same goes for legend or fable-oriented films. Most importantly, it’s tough to get young adults or teenagers to get interested in the franchise, and that is Percy Jackson’s core demographic.
6 Could Still Work: Mythical Superheroes Are Trending
Godly superheroes are totally intriguing because of obvious reasons. Be it Thor, Wonder Woman, or Aquaman, these are creatures who are entitled to rule in some way or the other so it’s fitting that they choose to save the world with their gifts. Percy Jackson is a demi-god (he’s the son of Zeus) and though the films couldn’t really flex that angle or even design his personal backstory that well, a fresh exploration of Percy as the powerful young godly superhero and the chosen one, could really work.
5 Should Be Forgotten: The Films Were Simply Unadventurous
To put things in perspective, Percy Jackson is a human boy who discovers he’s a literal half-god, and the son of Zeus, no less. His best friend is a satyr, who’s also his protector and his love interest is literally the daughter of Athena. This is simply epic, but to relive the incredibleness of this opus, the makers had to create a set-up convincing enough to fit Percy’s amazing personal situation, much like Warner Bros did with Harry Potter.
Percy had better chances to work than Harry Potter because his mythology chronicles the cradle of western civilization, whereas Harry’s world is totally new and alien to the audiences. But the Percy Jackson films lacked the element of wonder, drama and extravagance that this subject really needed.
4 Could Still Work: A Sweeping Story
For the franchise to work in 2020, or of course, in the coming years, the makers have to pick a story that’s either topical or superbly dramatic. Finding a timely or contemporary storyline could be tricky, but there’s enough drama in the Percy Jackson novels which could be adapted for the big screen. The Last Olympian, for instance, is one such story. It’s audacious, risky, tense and establishes Percy as the leader. It sees Percy teaming up with other gods for a quest to save Mt Olympus, he goes to the underworld and literally takes on the curse of Achilles and some other high stakes drama ensues. But this could easily make for a two-part instalment for the franchise.
3 Should Be Forgotten: Rick Riordan Really Hates It
Riordan had famously expressed how annoyed he is at the cinematic franchise and had actually spoken very plainly as to how he planned to show his lack of support. The writer had publicly criticized the films and had at one point revealed his email recommendations for script changes which were not carried out. Riordan had said that in the future if a Percy Jackson project does happen he may not be able to comment on it for contractual reasons but fans could tell if he likes the films by checking his social media or his website.
“Am I talking about it? Promoting it? Sharing cool things? I am probably happy. Am I completely ignoring it and never mentioning it on social media? Yeah . . . that’s probably not a good sign. For instance, check out my website, rickriordan.com. Do you see any indication there that the Percy Jackson movies ever existed? No. No, you do not,” Riordan wrote on his site.
2 Could Still Work: If Greek Gods Were Represented Well
Percy’s world features the who’s who of Greek mythology and yet the films’ treatment really fails the ambitiousness of the books. The makers failed to realize that the secondary characters hold a lot of significance in each story, so for future adaptations casting the other demi-gods would need more time and investment. A diverse cast is something that could really solve a lot of problems and some relevant updates would help. For instance, if demi-gods camps were shown to be strewn across the world, like the wizarding world in Harry Potter.
1 Should Be Forgotten: The Adaptation Would Be A Legacy Decider
Not to put pressure on the makers of the new adaptation, but the upcoming project would really define the cinematic legacy of the Percy Jackson franchise. If it goes poorly, future directors would steer clear from the franchise for decades to come, which is unfortunate. The films received really bad reviews and even alienated Riordan’s fandom. The films are even used as examples of bad franchise design, along with the Dark Universe, which was an even bigger disaster, so maybe makers should sit this one out unless they’re really, really sure that they’ve got a winner on their hands.
NEXT: Percy Jackson: 5 Reasons Fans Are Excited For The Disney+ Series (& 5 Why They’re Not)
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