Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan has written a letter to explain why teachers shouldn’t be showing the Percy Jackson movies in their classrooms.

Riordan has been a long-time opponent of both movies based off his Percy Jackson books, making clear, time and time again, that he does not, nor will he ever, have anything to do with them.

Though the first film found mild success (enough to make a sequel, at least), the second one was not strong enough to warrant a third in the series. There are five books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians saga, so while there was plenty of source material, there wasn’t enough interest in the adaptations to continue the franchise.

Percy Jackson movies don’t sit well with author Rick Riodan

Percy Jackson movies

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 these movies to their students. He even offers up some alternative activities.

Dear Teacher,

Hi! I am so grateful that you are teaching Greek mythology to your kids and maybe reading my books with them. I hope it goes well! If you want some lesson plan ideas I have a ton of free stuff on my website, mostly pulled from my own fifteen years as a middle school teacher.

Now a plea: Please, for the love of multiple intelligences, DON’T show those “Percy Jackson” movies (ironic quotes intentional) in your classroom for a compare-contrast lesson or, gods forbid, a “reward” at the end of your unit. No group of students deserves to be subjected to that sort of mind-numbing punishment. The movies’ educational value is exactly zero. A better use of classroom time would be… well, pretty much anything, including staring at the second hand of the clock for fifty minutes or having a locker clean-out day.

If you need a break and are using the movie so you can have time to grade papers, hey, I totally get that. I was a teacher for a long time! May I suggest Clash of the Titans, or the cheesy old 1960s version of Jason and the Argonauts, or heck, even the animated Hercules from Disney, as bad as it is. Those movies have plenty of things to compare and contrast with the actual Greek myths. But my heart breaks every time I hear that classroom time is being thrown away watching those vapid Percy Jackson adaptations.

Maybe the kids want to watch them on their own. Fine. Whatever. Personally, I would rather have my teeth pulled with no anesthesia, but to each his or her own. Spending class time time on those movies, though? I’ve justified a lot of things in my years as a teacher. Once I did a barbecue pit sacrifice of prayers to the Greek gods with my sixth graders. Once I taught the kids a traditional Zulu game by rolling watermelons down a hill and spearing them with broomsticks. We took fencing classes when we studied Shakespeare, reenacted the entire Epic of Gilgamesh, and, yes, we watched some pretty great movies from time to time. But I can think of zero justification for watching the adaptations of my books as part of a school curriculum. (And please, don’t call them my movies. They are in no way mine.)

Thanks for listening. I hope you have a great school year. I hope your kids get excited about reading. And I hope you’ll consider this author’s plea. The kids don’t need classroom time to learn that movies can be really, really bad. They’ll find that out on their own!

Yours truly,

Rick Riordan

In the time since this open letter was published in 2016, Riordan has talked about his sentiments regarding the adaptations time and time again, although his stance has remained the same.

In December 2017, he wrote about about the Fox-Disney merger and what it meant for a reboot of the franchise. Though he had no more information than he had previously, he did sound hopeful about the idea that Percy would be “coming home” to Disney. Read his full thoughts.

Most recently, Riordan has said that he feels lucky enough to have had the opportunity to complain about a bad adaptation of his books, but it’s also clear that he’s still tired of fielding questions about a pair of movies he had no influence over despite having repeatedly talked about his lack of involvement.

For those who are interested in seeing other Rick Riordan series adapted for film or television, rest assured that the author has not been completely turned off by the idea despite his dislike of the two movies that were already made, though there’s been no luck so far getting his other books optioned.

How do you feel about Rick Riordan’s attitude regarding the ‘Percy Jackson’ movies?

Editor’s Note: This article was first written on March 25, 2016 and has been since updated with additional information.

We want to hear your thoughts on this topic!
Why not write a comment below or submit an article to Hypable.

Introducing the Hypable app

Free for iOS and Android