A Percy Jackson 3 movie following the events of The Titan’s Curse book, isn’t in development and never will be. No one is happier about the news than series author Rick Riordan. Updated June 2020 with news about a reboot being in the works at Disney.
We initially learned that a threequel was off the table back in 2014, when Logan Lerman (who plays Percy Jackson himself) said, “It’s not happening,” when asked about Percy Jackson 3. Lerman has been a champion of both the character and the books in general, stating previously that he loves the Percy Jackson movies and would like to continue in the role.
However, it just wasn’t meant to be. After the first movie, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, tanked at the box office, it was a miracle they decided to give the franchise a second shot. But they did, and it was in the form of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
While Sea of Monsters did much better than its predecessor, at least in the eyes of the series’ fans, it was apparently not enough to guarantee a Percy Jackson 3 movie. Many were hoping a third movie would happen, if only to see how much better they could improve upon the last two movies’ mistakes.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief hit theaters in 2010 and made $226 million worldwide ($88.7 million domestically). The sequel Sea of Monsters debuted in 2013 and made $199 million around the globe ($68.5 million in the U.S.).
The news of no Percy Jackson 3 was certainly disappointing to longtime fans of the book series, but there is now much better news to look forward to: In early 2020, Disney announced that they were developing a Percy Jackson TV show, which will air exclusively on Disney+. And no one is happier than Rick Riordan.
‘Percy Jackson’ movies despised by Rick Riordan
Author Rick Riordan’s disdain for the movies was initially revealed in 2016, following a tweet from a teacher showing Sea of Monsters in her classroom. Riordan wrote an open letter to all teachers about why they should not, under any circumstance, show the Percy Jackson movies to their students.
“No. Stop. Please. No class deserves such a punishment. I mourn the loss of perfectly good classroom time,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet on March 25, 2016.
In a longer letter he wrote about some alternative activities that are better than watching the Percy Jackson movies.
Swipes at the movies continued over the years. In June 2020 he once again shared his disdain:
Well, to you guys, it's a couple hours entertainment. To me, it's my life's work going through a meat grinder when I pleaded with them not to do it. So yeah. But it's fine. All fine. We're gonna fix it soon . . . 😀 https://t.co/YFuk55kGJU
— Rick Riordan (@rickriordan) June 8, 2020
He followed up by explaining that he’s never even seen movies — he’s simply judging them off of the scripts:
Finally, I still have not seen the movies, and don't plan on ever doing so. I judge them from having read the scripts, because I care most about the story. I certainly have nothing against the very talented actors. Not their fault. I'm just sorry they got dragged into that mess.
— Rick Riordan (@rickriordan) June 8, 2020
I left out a very important word, lol. "Trashy scripts can never end up being *great* films."
— Rick Riordan (@rickriordan) June 9, 2020
A couple years ago, Riordan shared extracts from two emails he sent to the producers of Lightning Thief in 2009, in which he gave them suggestions for the scripts. He doesn’t pull any punches.
So you want to read more about why I was thinking of COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL PJO reboots? Well, okay. Here's some behind-the-scenes info for you from my personal archives! https://t.co/J7RIV69hHI pic.twitter.com/pwA2CvDCUV
— Rick Riordan (@camphalfblood) November 16, 2018
As you can tell, Riordan is — understandably — passionate about and frustrated by what’s going on with the movie. The producers were kind enough to reach out to him for his advice, which he gives plenty of. He is not unreasonable, and in fact states several instances where he knows details in the book must be altered or removed in order to make a better film.
But he also cites plenty of areas where he feels — as both a teacher and a writer — the script is lazy. He even gives them 12 pages of improvements, and offered to handle the re-writes himself. He even said he’d drop his other projects and make the re-write his top priority.
To be fair, I’m sure the producers and the directors had their own vision for the movie, and had their own thoughts on what would make it a box office success. Critique is also never easy. I don’t want to put down anyone involved in those movies because they all had jobs to do and they did them to the best of their ability. Making a movie is a complex endeavor where you must marry creativity with practicality. It is not easy.
Moving forward, however, I hope Riordan is being brought on in a more integral role with the Disney+ adaptation. He cites Harry Potter’s success in his emails, and it’s clear he thinks that keeping J.K. Rowling involved in the process over the course of the franchise was the smart move. Keeping Riordan involved in any future Percy Jackson television show or movie will only help unite the fandom behind these films.
Case in point: The Lightning Thief musical has seen a fair amount of success, and I’m sure more than just a few tickets were sold because Riordan has endorsed the play.
As fans continue to discuss how they wish there were a faithful adaptation (particularly as a series instead of a movie franchise), it would make sense for Hollywood to listen and begin working on something that will ultimately please Percy Jackson readers.
Percy Jackson at Disney+
Percy Jackson is officially in development at Disney+, and the good news is that Riordan appears to be heavily involved in the process. He has made no secret of the fact that he’s made several trips to Los Angeles to meet with Disney and give him his vision for a successful television series. He has also been championing the TV adaptation, which is more than what can be said for his role with the movies.
We don’t know when the Percy Jackson TV show will begin filming, but we’re looking forward to hearing more developments. Riordan has promised he’d be sharing more news, and we’ll share it as we hear it!