In February 2010, theaters in different parts of the world got noisy. Not with sounds of excited cheering and impressed exclamations, but rather with the wails of despair and the cries of disappointment. These came from the fans of the Percy Jackson book series, who had flocked to theatres in hopes of witnessing a wonderfully written series come to life on screen. Instead, what they had to unwillingly witness was the absolute destruction of the plot and tone of the first book, The Lightning Thief, as the makers discarded almost every detail besides the names of characters.
No one, however, was more dismayed than the author of the book series, Rick Riordan. In 2009, Riordan had penned down a lengthy email to the makers after having read the final script. He pointed out all that was wrong with the script (basically everything), to which the makers paid no heed. As expected, the movies failed big time.
In 2020, about ten years after the movies had crushed the fandom, Riordan resurrected fallen hopes and expectations by teasing the possibility of a Percy Jackson series. On his official website, Uncle Rick had stated a while back that in case of a possible reboot of the series, if he were happy with the project, he would actively promote and talk about it. And that is precisely what he’s been doing ever since the very idea of the series, which is still far from showing up on our screens, came into existence. The most recent update that was shared regarding the series, both by Uncle Rick and Disney’s official social media pages, is the most exciting one yet. This was the news of having cast the young, talented and adorable Walker Scobell as the titular character of the show- Percy Jackson himself.
Let’s understand why Walker Scobell is probably the perfect choice to play the lovable, heroic demigod.
Walker Scobell’s Of The Perfect Age
One of the many, many, many criticisms that both Riordan and the audience had for the movies was that the age of the actors for the main cast was way off. The actor who played the role of Percy, Logan Lerman, was eighteen at the time, all of six years older than Percy was in the first book. Alexandra Daddario, who played Annabeth, was twenty-two, exactly ten years older than Annabeth Chase in the first book. This was probably due to a conscious effort by the makers to have older characters so that they could introduce a love angle between Percabeth (Percy and Annabeth) from their very first scene together. Not only did this completely mess up the storyline and character dynamics, it also ruined Percabeth (Percy and Annabeth).
In the books, the whole idea was that demigods go out on quests and missions from a very young age because, given the fact that they are constantly being hunted down by Greek monsters, they have shorter lifespans than most. The concept of pre-teens and teenagers with ADHD and dyslexia running around swinging swords and being called ‘heroes’ while actually being treated as ‘errand runners’ ( if this was not a phrase before, it is now) by the Greek gods was what sold the overall storyline to the readers. It also added a hint of sadness that these kids often get dragged into godly politics at a very young age, having no idea what they’ve done wrong. They end up losing their human parents sometimes, or have to settle for weird compromises to get by. It also makes more sense that Camp Half-Blood, a ‘demigod summer camp’ exists for kids rather than late adolescents and young adults. Additionally, one of the main storylines in the series was a major prophecy destined to unfold when Percy turned sixteen.
All of these important elements and plot details got Miss Trunchbull-ed out the window, and what we got left with was just another shallow teen adventure story with flat jokes and forced ‘sexual attraction’ between Percy and Annabeth. This is another major issue that, at least I have with the movies. The beauty of Percabeth is their journey. From Annabeth’s first words to Percy when she is formally introduced to him at age twelve- ” You drool when you sleep”, to becoming close friends despite their godly parents being rivals, them giving each other innocent, adorable nicknames- ‘Seaweed Brain’ and ‘Wise Girl’, to developing cute crushes on each other, to finally confessing their feelings by the end of the first series, when both characters are sixteen. This development is what makes Percabeth one of the most well-written and beautiful book couples till date. What they tried to do with Lerman and Daddario was almost offensive to the chemistry of the book characters. In the words of Uncle Rick- “Please do not ‘sex up’ my children’s story.”
Of course, this is not to discredit Lerman, Daddario or any of the other actors. A lot of them are actors who’ve showcased appreciable acting skills in their other projects. Lerman himself is very likeable as an actor in movies like Perks of Being A Wallflower. However, the age factor simply cannot be ignored in a series that depends so heavily on it.
Enter Walker Scobell, the new face for Percy Jackson. Walker is thirteen presently, just about the perfect age to play the part. If everything turns out well, it would be a delight to watch him grow up on screen, as it once was to watch the kids from Harry Potter.
Walker Scobell Looks The Part
Yes, I’ve already mentioned that he’s the same age, but that’s not what I’m going for. Right now, I’m gonna be a tad shallow, so bear with me.
Percy Jackson is the unassuming hero who everyone falls in love with. No, I’m not kidding. At least six people have canonically fallen in love or had a crush on him at some point in the series. Although they all eventually move on except one, there has to be a certain undeniable charm to the demigod for him to attract so much attention and affection.
And let’s face it, Walker Scobell is an adorable kid. He’s got exactly the kind of goofy charm that works so well for Percy as a character. Does anyone else wanna reach out and pull his cheeks through the screen while watching The Adam Project? No? I guess it’s just me then.
Walker Scobell Has Played Young Ryan Reynolds
If there’s one trait that’s more defining of Perseus Jackson than his charm, it is his sass. I mean, there’s a reason why the fandom has dubbed the demigod as Persassy Jackson. We’re talking about the kid who mailed Medusa’s severed head to the gods of Olympus just to make a point, defied Hades and got away with it, dared to sit on a god’s throne just to summon him, and simply has to make a snarky remark even while facing death.
So, obviously, the person best suited to play the role would be young Ryan Reynolds. No, seriously. In the movie, The Adam Project, Scobell plays the younger version of Ryan Reynolds’ character Adam. He was perfectly able to bring the same amount of sass, snark, sarcasm and humour to our screens as Ryan Reynolds has done all these years. And that’s saying something. His dialogue delivery and comic ability makes him the perfect choice for Persassy.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
When it was first announced that there would be a Percy Jackson tv series, fans from all over the world were filled with hope and apprehension. We hoped we could, maybe, get a proper adaptation this time around. Now, with the casting of Scobell as Percy, it appears the makers have taken a step in the right direction. Personally, I’m so glad for Scobell. Hope we’re able to live all of Percy’s adventures with him soon.