Let’s go to Camp Half-Blood and Play Capture the Flag!
Fans worldwide know and love the gigantic spectacle labeled New York Comic Con. However, fans attending the event this past Sunday were treated to a surprise guest. Though technically not on the list of speakers for the jammed-packed panel, Rick Riordan, creator of Percy Jackson & The Olympians, made a surprise appearance.
To the joy of fans in attendance, Rick Riordan made a surprise appearance at New York Comic Con this past Sunday with his wife, Becky Riordan, who closed out the panel for the upcoming Disney+ adaptation of Rick’s cherished, modern-day mythological fantasy novels, Percy Jackson & The Olympians. The books are about a boy who discovers he is a demigod, a half-human and half-god being, and is the son of the mighty sea god Poseidon. It seems Riordan is eager for everyone to see how the new adaptation has turned out. Famously, he was not as enthusiastic about the movie versions of his books back in the early 2010s, but they did generate quite a bit of money at $430 million worldwide.
Of the fans that filled the hall wall to wall, many wearing orange and black Camp Half-Blood t-shirts handed out at the door cheered and applauded when seeing Rick Riordan. Of course, Riordan did not come empty-handed. Several clips were shown for those fortunate enough to be present at Manhattan’s Javits Center. One of the many clips was a five-minute reel of Walker Scobell, who plays Percy, in an early test of his fighting skills while at the famous Camp Half-Blood, a place for young demigods in training. However, this was only a taste of the even bigger surprise!
Bigger Sneak Peak & Similarities
The real treat of the event was the sneak peek of the first seven minutes of the premiere episode! This sneak peek explores Percy’s back story to the second grade, then a thrilling chase scene, and finally Percy, his mother Sally (Virginia Kull), and his friend Grover (Aryan Simhadri) attempting to outrun the fearsome Minotaur! Though seven minutes is not that long, the preview gave insight into the aesthetic of the filming and how the story will unfold. Above all, it showcased the chemistry between the actors. It is interesting to see how the show will do things differently than the previous movies did. Scenes shown in those seven minutes were also in the films, yet they feel very different. This could be for a few reasons. For example, new actors, writers, and producers, to name a few.
Season one takes a different approach to The Lightning Thief story. This time, Percy is shown as a troubled kid with bad grades and school bullies he must deal with daily. Unlike the movie version with Logan Lerman, who played a more teenage version of Percy, who also struggled with dyslexia and visions. Walker Scobell’s Percy is only around 12 years old.
Much younger than Lerman’s previous portrayal. It gives a more childlike and boyish feel to the show. Scobell’s version is only now becoming aware that his powers are emerging, and the audience will see that throughout the show. It will be interesting to see how fans see the similarities and differences between the films and the upcoming series.
Hearing From The Production Team
The panelists slated to be at the convention were mostly part of the creative team behind the camera. Showrunners/writers Jonathan E. Steinberg and Dan Shotz and the director of the two-episode premiere, James Bobin, were in attendance. Also present were production designer Dan Hannah and visual effects supervisors Erik Henry and Jeff White. As well as, costume designer Tish Monaghan. A great set of vital roles of production in a show like this. Steinberg gave credit where it was due by mentioning Riordan, who is heavily involved in the project.
Steinberg said, “It would be extraordinarily difficult to try to do it justice, to do it right, without the person who dreamed it, and I think without the person who really did the work to sell it and find this audience and this fan base.”
Both showrunners and director James Bobin said that their own children have read and cherished Riordan’s work. Riordan originally meant for the books to be for children. The original books emerged from stories Riordan made up to entertain his dyslexic son after they read Greek mythology together. Steinberg talked about the all-star actors that make up the cast. This list of actors includes Lance Reddick as Zeus in one of his last performances, plus Adam Copeland as Ares. A big challenge the production faced was bringing the world of Percy Jackson to life while filming in Vancouver, Canada. VFX supervisor White said many sets, like the Met Museum, were simulated using a giant virtual LED wall. This way, the actors would have virtual surroundings to better react to instead of just a plain blue screen box.
Though the books were made with children in mind, they have captured the minds and hearts of people of all ages worldwide. Fans of the previous films will enjoy diving back into the world of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The new series is set to premiere on December 20th on Disney+. Until then, fans should pick up the books if they haven’t already!
Percy Jackson & The Olympians (2023) Official Disney+ Trailer