Some videos of Rick Riordan speaking on his The Mark of Athena book tour have come online! Check out what he talked about below.

The videos are a little shaky, so we’ve rounded up the most important parts to report to you. These are from his talk at Temple Judea in Miami, Florida.

He begins by talking about how and why he started writing about Percy Jackson. It came as a conglomerate of thoughts surrounding stories his own grandfather used to tell him, his son’s ADHD, and Greek mythology. When he says, “Okay, well, one day there was this boy named Percy Jackson,” the room explodes and for just a second you forget that this is a novelist speaking, and not a rock star.

His son then encouraged him to write the story down. Riordan was already pretty busy, but he agreed that he’d give it a shot – doubting that anyone would really like it. Once he had The Lightning Thief written out, he passed it onto his sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, where he says that even though he’s sent manuscripts to New York, “I was more nervous having my own students read this book.”

His students loved the book and had some great ideas – some of which actually made it into the book! One student said, “Okay, he’s got his magic pen. But what happens if he loses it? Because that happens in middle school.” “Oh, yeah. That’s a good point,” Riordan replies. He even says that the original title was Son of the Sea God, but one girl said that he gave away who Percy’s father was too soon. Riordan ended up changing it on the advice of his student.

Riordan even says that he used a fake name when he sent the manuscript out to agents, because he was embarrassed! He didn’t think anyone would be interested in it, but said, “almost immediately seven different publishers wanted to publish it.”

There seems to be a small gap in time between the first and second video. Now Riordan is introducing his son Haley and telling the audience that Haley had been interested in writing his own short story that took place in the Percy Jackson world. We don’t get to hear what he says, but Haley seemed enthusiastic and the audience loved him right from the get-go.

In the third video, Riordan starts off by talking about the cover to The Mark of Athena. He also says he loves this book because all seven demigods of the prophecy are finally together in one place. He also mentions that this is very much Annabeth’s story – much to the audience’s delight. You can read our review of The Mark of Athena right here.

Then Riordan says, “You may have heard rumors. It is true. Next up, I’m going Norse.” He starts saying names like Odin, Thor, and Loki, while the audience continues to cheer. He also says that it’s not because of Thor or The Avengers, although he did enjoy those movies.

He even says it’s not because of the comic books, although he grew up reading them. Instead, “It’s really about, for me, going back to the very beginning. Like I told you guys, I really cut my teeth as a reader on The Lord of the Rings and Norse mythology. So this is like going back to the very beginning of mythology.” He even says that Norse mythology is his favorite out of all the sets of stories – even more than the Greek.

Because it’s so early on, he can’t really tell us much. He says that it will be the Norse gods in the modern world, like his other three series. The Norse also had a similar concept of demigods. Even though he’s pretty mum on the details, we’ve had a few ideas of our own.

Are you looking forward to Riordan’s next series?

Photo Credit: ContactMusic

Marvel revealed today that a new television series, Legion, has been picked up by FX for the 2017 season!

Legion has been picked up by FX for an 8-episode season to air early in 2017. The series is being described as, “The story of a troubled young man who may be more than human.” Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Aubrey Plaza, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, and Bill Irwin are set to star in the series, which will begin filming this summer in Vancouver.

Legion will follow the story of David Haller, who has struggled with mental illness since he was a teenager. He’s been in and out of psychiatric hospitals ever since being diagnosed as schizophrenic. However, a strange encounter with another patient has David wondering if the voices he hears and his visions might be real.

FX President of Original Programming Nick Grad teased the series by saying, “We’ve come to expect excellence from Noah Hawley and with Legion he has delivered another major creative achievement. Just as he did in reimagining Fargo, he is bringing an entirely new aesthetic and sensibility to the enormously popular and richly represented X-Men world.”

Executive Producer and Head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb added, “Marvel Television is thrilled to not only have our first partnership with FX go to series, but working with the enormously talented Noah Hawley makes it even better. From the first time we heard Noah’s vision to his exceptional script and cast through the extraordinary filming of the pilot, we knew the series would be incredible.”

In the comics David Haller is the son of Professor Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller. A mutant like his father, David also suffers from several mental illnesses, including dissociative identity disorder. Each of his personalities controls one of his superpowers. David eventually joined his father in the mission to help humans and mutants coexist. I’m intrigued to see how FX might connect Legion to the X-men universe.

Will you tune in to watch ‘Legion’ on FX?

Disney has just announced a few new details about their Mary Poppins sequel starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and directed by Into the Woods helmer Rob Marshall.

The movie is officially titled Mary Poppins Returns and will hit theaters December 25, 2018. The date is the same one Disney used for their 2014 musical adaptation of Into the Woods. Mary Poppins Returns is being billed as a sequel to the 1964 original.

Here’s Disney’s official synopsis for Mary Poppins Returns:

Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Said Rob Marshall in a statement, “I am truly humbled and honored to be asked by Disney to bring P.L. Travers’ further adventures to the screen. The iconic original film means so much to me personally, and I look forward to creating an original movie musical that can bring Mary Poppins, and her message that childlike wonder can be found in even the most challenging of times, to a whole new generation.”

Mary Poppins Returns is the latest in a line of live-action sequels and remakes Disney has put into production. Others include next year’s Beauty and the Beast, which the studio just unveiled a trailer for. Last week we also heard that they’re working on a live-action Little Mermaid movie.

Are you okay with a Mary Poppins sequel?

The Harry Potter play Cursed Child opens in a week, and we’ve just got our first look at Ginny Potter née Weasley. But not everyone is impressed.

Harry Potter fans have long ago resigned themselves to the fact that Ginny Weasley, badass Quidditch superstar and Voldemort possession survivor, is doomed to exist on the fringes of the story.

Despite her undiluted badassery, Ginny floated on the edge of canon throughout the Harry Potter book series, and for this reason, there are unfortunately many fans who simply don’t see Ginny as anything other than Harry’s only heterosexual ticket into the OBHWF.

But while Hermione Granger (rightfully) takes up most of the spotlight as far as female representation is concerned, J.K. Rowling actually created an equally important female character in Ginny Weasley, despite — or maybe because — of her absence from Harry’s part of the story.

Related: 9 reasons why Ginny Weasley’s cooler than the movies give her credit for

Reading the book saga closely will reveal that Ginny Weasley was actually better than everyone (and she knew it). And the fact that she got to be such a quietly confident BAMF, without Harry ever being consciously aware of it (though clearly it made an impression!), definitely meant a lot to me as a young girl growing up Potter.

Ginny may not have been the Chosen One, or the Chosen One’s best friend, but she kicked ass — and continued to kick ass — whether or not anyone gave her credit for it.

Let’s recap the awesomeness of Ginny Weasley:

  • Ron may have been Harry’s best friend, but his little sister was the seventh Weasley child and the first girl in seven generations. Talk about your magic number!
  • By all accounts, she was an immensely powerful witch: Growing up with six brothers made her resilient and hard-working, and she seemed to have the same extraordinary raw talent as Fred and George (but she applied herself more).
  • She was possessed by Voldemort in her first year at Hogwarts, literally making her the only person even remotely qualified to understand what Harry was going through. This came to a head in Order of the Phoenix, when it was Ginny of all people who stood up to Harry and told him that he was being stupid.
  • She overcame her crush on Harry and went on to have a rich and interesting social life which didn’t involve him. When Harry finally noticed and fell in love with her, she didn’t let that slow her down.
  • She stood up for both Neville and Luna, clearly cool and self-confident enough not to care what anyone thought of her companions (unlike Harry, who was far more judgemental towards both Luna and Neville).
  • She was a professional Quidditch player, even taking Harry’s place as Seeker for a while before landing a spot as Chaser while still at Hogwarts.

For all this, Ginny never really amounted to the ‘fourth member of the trio’ fans might have hoped for ahead of Deathly Hallows. She didn’t join Harry, Ron and Hermione on the Horcrux hunt (solely because Harry wanted to ‘protect’ her), and yet her badassery continued to assert itself behind the scenes, as she joined Dumbledore’s Army at Hogwarts and fought in the ensuing battle.

To me, it always felt like the essence of Ginny, the soul of this character, simply would not be repressed no matter how much J.K. Rowling tried to bench her (and the benching in itself was not an issue; Ginny was never meant to be a main character, and as laid out above, it actually worked to her benefit).

Ginny Harry 2

But unfortunately, the Harry Potter movies have done a lot to undo the subtle ways in which Rowling empowered Ginny between the lines. With Ginny’s value in the story mostly inferred rather than expressly stated, it clearly became as easy of a subplot to trim away as Nearly Headless Nick’s deathday party.

Ginny had hardly any presence in the movies at all, peaking in Chamber of Secrets (because they couldn’t completely ignore her in that one) and otherwise having only a few scattered, out-of-context moments of empowerment that still paled in comparison to the material given to characters like Fred and George, Draco, Luna, and Neville. Heck, even made-up character Nigel had more of a presence in the movies than Ginny did.

And of course it didn’t help that Bonnie Wright (who is a talented actress — check out After the Dark and see for yourself) had no chemistry with Dan Radcliffe, and that they gave the best Harry/Ginny moment of the series to Ron/Lavender for some inexplicable reason.

But still she married Harry, and still they had three kids (all of whom were named after people important to Harry, but alright). The One Big Happy Weasley Family prophecy came true, and all was well…

Until now. (Dun dun dunnn.)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens for previews in London next week, and everyone’s excited for the trio and their kids to return. Once again Ginny is getting second billing, not being announced as part of the main cast, but rather revealed a week before the show opens, along with a photograph of Poppy Miller in character:

ginny_potter_poppy_miller

There’s also a family portrait of Ginny, Harry and their son Albus, with Ginny holding on to her youngest son protectively (there’s that mother’s love again), kicking us in the feels because it’s pretty much exactly what Harry saw when he looked into the Mirror of Erised:

l-r Harry Potter (Jamie Parker), Albus Potter (Sam Clemmett), Ginny Potter (Poppy Miller)

And I actually love this. I love that Ginny is included (especially since, um, Harry’s other two kids are nowhere to be seen), front and center by Harry’s side.

As far as her clothes go, no, I’m not a fan. They remind me too much of movie-Ginny’s getup in the epilogue, and it’s just not what I’d imagine she’d wear. But it’s just an outfit; it doesn’t actually tell us anything about Ginny’s role in the play, so I’m not too worried about that.

What I am worried about is the fact that she’d be revealed here as part of Harry’s Erised fantasy. It’s doubtless we’ll see more character reveals over the coming days, and Harry will likely factor into more constellations (notably the Ron-Hermione-Harry group photo we’re all waiting for). Ginny probably won’t.

I’m worried that Ginny’s role in this story will amount to being Harry’s wife and Albus’ mom. Not that J.K. Rowling hasn’t full well established that The Power of Motherhood pretty much overrules everything else, but that’s not what Ginny is — or, rather, that’s not all she is. As much as I love Molly Weasley, Ginny represented a different kind of female character. I hope the play stays true to that.

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As a long-time Ginny fan used to everyone overlooking and under-utilizing this fantastic character, I’m just desperately hoping now that the eighth Harry Potter story will give us the Ginny we know from the books, rather than her inferior on-screen counterpart. While Cursed Child isn’t and shouldn’t be about her, I’m hoping this is Ginny’s chance to reclaim some of the agency the movies robbed her of.

And call me an optimist, but I’m hopeful that this is exactly what Cursed Child is gonna give us. I trust that J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany don’t let the movies’ depiction of Ginny influence what is supposed to be the next installment of the book series.

In J.K. Rowling’s own words on Pottermore, Poppy Miller’s Ginny will be, “Kind and cool, exactly as I imagined her.” It’s not the bat-bogey hexing firecracker we know and love, but hey, everyone grows up, right? So even if we get just a couple of scenes with Ginny, let’s presume she’ll be her badass, Quidditch player self, and that she’ll be given space to exist in her own right, rather than as a prop in Harry’s perfect family.

She may not have been the most important character in Harry Potter, but she was my favorite, and Cursed Child has an opportunity to undo the damage the movies did to this fantastic, empowering heroine. Let’s hope they take it.

Are you looking forward to seeing Ginny Potter in ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’?