Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan’s brutal takedown of movie adaptations proves divisive

Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan has sent fans of his book series into a spin after sharing a withering take on the “bad” film franchise.

The writer is best known to many for writing the six-novel series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, which centres on Percy, an adolescent demigod, and his battle to stop the Titans from taking over the world with his friends.

Though the books are some of the best-selling of all time, book readers have long expressed mixed feelings towards the film versions, which starred Logan Lerman as the titular hero.

In December 2023, a new TV adaptation of Riordan’s stories began, which boasted a fresh cast and was co-created by Riordan himself. It was ahead of the sixth episode that the author decided to hit out at the films.

Posting on Instagram Threads on Tuesday (16 January), Riordan, 59, wrote: “Can’t wait to visit the Lotus Casino tonight in Percy Jackson 106! Iris-messaging, animals run amok, Hermes and much much more!”

However, the writer continued his post by taking the opportunity to distance the TV show from the films. In the first movie, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010), a memorable scene saw Percy and his friends Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T Usher) visit a Las Vegas casino. The scene was soundtracked by Lady Gaga’s song “Poker Face”.

The same moment is repeated in episode six of the TV show, titled “We Take a Zebra to Vegas”, but has Dua Lipa’s 2020 hit “Levitating” playing in the background instead.

Though some fans of the films believe that reusing the same song would have made a nice connection between the Percy Jackson projects, Riordan was staunchly against the idea.

He continued: “(Side note: as much as I love Lady Gaga, if some of you seriously think I’d allow any callbacks to certain movies, you haven’t been paying attention for the last decade. The show is its own thing. And imo [in my opinion] it’s so much better!)

Logan Lerman played Percy Jackson in the films (Moviestore/Shutterstock)
Logan Lerman played Percy Jackson in the films (Moviestore/Shutterstock)

“Normalise Bad Movie Erasure. See you tonight in Vegas, baby!”

Riordan’s frank comments have divided fans of the Percy Jackson books. While some agree with his disparaging views on the films, others are more sympathetic – and have their own critiques of the TV programme.

“Rick’s savageness makes me feel a little less bad about being critical of the show. If he can dish it, he can take it. Both adaptations have their pros and cons,” wrote one viewer on Reddit.

Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson author (Getty)
Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson author (Getty)

Elsewhere, a different commenter defended the film’s version of the casino scene, writing: “You can hate the movies as much as you want but the lotus casino scene was really nice.”

New episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians are released on Tuesdays on Disney+.