TV Review: “A Hero’s Journey – The Making of Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is the Perfect Cherry on Top of an Action Packed First Season Sundae

Now that Percy Jackson and the Olympians has finished with its season one finale, viewers are able to take the time to see how the beloved book was adapted to the screen and the work that the cast, crew, and executive producers put into the creation of the show.

A Hero’s Journey – The Making of Percy Jackson on Disney+ begins with author Rick Riordan talking about how he wanted the viewers to see the hero in themselves. The Percy Jackson books ask readers to consider big things. With over 180 million books sold, executive producer Dan Shotz talks about how Riordan’s involvement is essential to making the show work.

Riordan talks about how this saga started as a bedtime story for his son to comfort him because of his learning differences in school. This tale that was meant for his son, is now enjoyed by millions of readers around the world.

Viewers learn how and why the story was created, but we also get to learn more about how casting the trio of lead actors to play Percy, Annabeth, and Grover happened.  Executive producer Dan Shotz describes how when they found Walker Scobell for the role of Percy, he was convinced that everything would work out. To Riordan, Walker embodies what it means to be Percy.

Aryan Simhadri had never been cast in a major role before, and he was convinced that he would never land the role of Grover. Riordan loved Simhadri’s humor and felt that he understood the character of Grover well. With behind-the-scenes video, viewers will get to see how Scobell, Simhadri, and Leah Jeffries bonded easily as friends which makes for a brilliant combination on screen as Percy, Grover, and Annabeth.

Sets were numerous in the real world, but to Dan Shotz, the magic of ILM’s Volume soundstage and the possibility of the virtual environments was a game changer.

Viewers who watched the epic confrontation between Percy and Alecto at the Met Museum, will be shocked to see the behind the scenes look at the virtual set that was the Met Museum. I thought they filmed at the real New York City location.

Charlie Bushnell who plays Luke Castellan is awed by the Volume and the fact that he feels like he is in the forest even though he isn’t. Jay Duplass, who plays Hades describes how with the Volume, he doesn’t have to use his imagination like he would with green screen or blue screen technology because with the Volume, you can see what you are interacting with.

Throughout the filming, and the discussions with the cast and producers, one thing that is reinforced is how well the cast embraced each other and the intense work that was necessary to tell the story of season one.

Walker Scobell loved the stunt work. His commitment to the role was unprecedented, and Scobell talks freely about his love for the character and the numerous times he’s read the books. The pivotal underwater scenes pushed Scobell to his limits, but he flew through his training, and mastered the complicated underwater filming.

On set, the kids were accompanied by their parents. Leah Jeffries’ parents described her initiative and desire for perfection. Rick Riordan describes how Leah has a sense of grounding that is rare to see. Whether its Jeffries’ parents supporting their daughter, Scobell’s father tearing up at how proud he was of what his son accomplished, it’s easy to see that the young actors had a massive amount of people supporting them on their journey to the screen.

Virgina Kull who plays Sally Jackson, Megan Mullally as Alecto, and Jessica Parker Kennedy who plays Medusa, they all gush about how great the kids are and the focus and commitment they give to their roles.

Throughout the show, viewers will be impressed, and amazed at how much fun the filming looked. Aryan talks about how they should charge people to do what he got to do on the wire work. The kid actors may have enjoyed the stunt work, but they also kept up to date on school between filming.  

From behind the scenes on set, to the recording of the soundtrack, to how important these stories are the fans, the producers and actors were all committed to making the best production possible. Ending the show, Riordan says that its critical viewers see themselves in the form of the lead trio. To the author, anyone can be a hero and we need to tap into the best inside of us.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a dynamic story of finding the hero inside of you. To the fans of the book and television series, you won’t want to miss A Hero’s Journey – The Making of Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+.

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Bill Gowsell
Bill Gowsell has loved all things Disney since his first family trip to Walt Disney World in 1984. Since he began writing for Laughing Place in 2014, Bill has specialized in covering the Rick Riordan literary universe, a retrospective of the Touchstone Pictures movie library, and a variety of other Disney related topics. When he is not spending time with his family, Bill can be found at the bottom of a lake . . . scuba diving