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‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ Trailer: What is it About?

Does the show look like it will be faithful to the books?

Still from Season One of 'Percy Jackson and The Olympians'.
Annabeth, Grover, and Percy in Season One of 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians'. Credit: Disney+

The teaser trailer for the Disney+ adaptation of Rick Riordan’s beloved series is officially out. Let’s examine what about the upcoming show looks promising, what looks uncertain, and what fans hope to see. Potential spoilers ahead.

The Story of Percy Jackson

Before examining the trailer, I’d like to give a brief synopsis of what the book series Percy Jackson & the Olympians is about. Riordan’s novels follow protagonist Percy Jackson as he learns that he is a demigod, the son of Poseidon. Along with his friends, fellow demigod Annabeth and satyr Grover, Percy must save Olympus following the resurrection of Kronos, his grandfather and the King of the Titans.

Now having given a summary of Riordan’s cherished books, let’s begin to discuss the trailer for Disney’s upcoming adaptation.

@percyseries

All the stories are real. On December 20, catch the two-episode premiere of #PercyJackson and the Olympians on @Disney+.

♬ original sound – Percy Jackson

What Looks Promising

There is a lot shown in the teaser trailer that makes the Disney+ series look promising. To begin with, STEALTH’s cover of Vance Joy’s “Riptide” plays throughout the trailer, a nod to the name of Percy’s sword. While this certainly isn’t the biggest indicator as to whether or not the show will be satisfactory, it does show attention to detail.

What’s more, the trailer makes a point of showcasing book plots that were left out of the Percy Jackson movies, released in 2010 and 2013, respectively. These plots include Percy’s battle with Echidna atop the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Percy and Annabeth’s adventure on the Thrill Ride O’Love. Arguably the most important plot shown in this trailer involves Ares, the god of war. His absence in the movie adaptation showed a lack of care and understanding of the source material. To see him in this trailer, played by WWE legend Edge, is reassuring and exciting for fans.

Lastly, an age-appropriate cast shows knowledge of the books. Percy is 12 years old at the start of Riordan’s series. This matters as a prophecy seemingly dictates that the battle for Olympus will occur when Percy is 16. This brings about fear and dread for him with each year that he grows older. The movie began when Percy was already 16, essentially tossing that prophecy out. Such a mistake has clearly been rectified by this new show.

Leah Sava Jeffries, Walker Scobell, Aryan Simhadri.
Leah Sava Jeffries, Walker Scobell, and Aryan Simhadri have been cast as Annabeth, Percy, and Grover. Credit: Disney+

What Looks Uncertain

The Disney+ teaser gave us our first look at Percy, Annabeth, and Grover. It also gave us a look at other characters, such as Clarisse and Luke. In all honestly, few of these characters seem to match their physical descriptions given in the book. I don’t necessarily mind this. Rick Riordan himself was involved with casting, stating that he cared more for finding a character’s essence than matching a physical description.

The reason I’m considering actors as uncertainty is because this trailer gave us little in the way of their acting. It is a teaser, after all. As of right now, fans must rely solely on Riordan’s promise that the show characters will feel like the book characters. It should be easy to trust the author himself. However, fans got so burned by the failed movies that many are still nervous about this show.

One specific casting uncertainty worth mentioning is the casting of Poseidon. I say this somewhat as a joke, as I’m sure Toby Stephens will be great. Fans, however, were very attached to the idea of Logan Lerman, the Percy in the movies, now playing Percy’s dad. That dream obviously did not pan out, so Toby Stephens has some big (nonexistent) shoes to fill.

What Fans Hope to See

All fans can agree that the one strength of The Lightning Thief movie was the montage of the Lotus Hotel. Set to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” this scene fairly faithfully follows the book and is by itself iconic. We can see the new trio arrive at the Lotus Hotel in the Disney+ teaser. If “Poker Face” is not playing when they step inside, it will be a disappointment. Is it necessary? No. Would it be fun? Yes! It would also show that the fans were thought of when making this series. Give us “Poker Face”!

Jokes aside, these books mean a lot to many in Gen Z. When it comes to what fans hope to see, I think the answer is simple. We just want a television show that will accurately portray this story in a new medium. We want characters that don’t feel like strangers and plots that are intact.

Based on this trailer alone, I am optimistic about the Disney+ series. Each scene in the teaser is easily identifiable as a moment from the first book. What was omitted in the movies is clearly not omitted here. Furthermore, having Rick so involved and so pleased with the show inspires a lot of confidence in it. I think his involvement is evident in this teaser, and thus the teaser serves its purpose of garnering intrigue and anticipation.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians airs on Disney+ on December 20, 2023.

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