I think we can all agree that the adaptations of Percy Jackson and the Olympians (thankfully, only two were made: The Lightning Thief in 2010 and Sea of Monsters in 2013) were just atrocious. Not only were they nothing like the book, but they also aged up and changed the characters unnecessarily to fit into the YA “heartthrob” market, which was very popular at the time.
I’ve had a desire to see Percy Jackson rebooted since Fox announced that they would not be moving forward with the films, and it’s because I think the books have so much potential to be the next big young adult franchise. They’re that good. If adapted properly, with an age-appropriate cast and story that adheres more closely to the one in the books, I think Percy Jackson could be a huge success, not only critically but financially.
In honor of that belief, here is my fancast for a Percy Jackson reboot.
Unknown Asian or Polynesian actor as Percy Jackson
I’ve long had a desire to see Percy as non-white, and I think it would not only make perfect sense from a story perspective, but it would change absolutely nothing about the character. Percy being Samoan or Pacific Islander would enrich his history and add to the fact that Poseidon is so attracted to his mother. Making him Asian could also work.
Percy is described as having olive, tanned skin with sea green eyes and windswept hair. Give a child actor of the above descent some contacts and extensions, and I think he’d be a perfect fit for the character. Plus, someone who could really handle the physicality and athleticism of playing Percy. See Brandon Soo Hoo above for an example of what Percy could eventually look like.
Allegra Acosta as Annabeth Chase
Though I would prefer an unknown to be cast as Percy, I think Allegra is a perfect choice to play Annabeth. In the books, Annabeth is described as being a “lethal blonde” – having blonde hair and storm-gray eyes. There’s no reason a Latina actress can’t either dye her hair blonde or wear a blonde wig. Allegra seems like she would be able to play the character close to the way she is supposed to be, and I can see her pulling it off perfectly.
Chosen Jacobs as Grover Underwood
If you seen the new IT movie, you know that Chosen Jacobs is able to steal the few minutes of screentime he has. He’s just so darn charismatic and likable, and has a way of mixing fear with bravado. Though Brandon T Jackson was much too old to play Grover and the character was written much differently than he is in the books, I was all in favor of making Grover African-American – and I think Chosen would embody the character perfectly, while adding depth and nuances of his own.
Pua Magasiva as Poseidon
The gods were given little to do in the original movies, and a reboot would obviously have to change that. So my idea is to make Poseidon a Pacific Islander character.
I think that diversity in the gods just makes so much sense from a story perspective. If the gods are supposed to reflect American society, why wouldn’t that also reflect the diversity of said society? America is a place where people of all races and ethnicities live, so why wouldn’t that be the same for the gods? Reuniting Pacific Islander people to their sea roots in films is a movement I fully support (see: Moana, Aquaman, etc) and I see no reason not to continue that tradition here. Plus, Pua Magasiva is a fantastic actor who could really embody both the badassness and humor of Poseidon from the books.
Benicio del Toro as Zeus
In the books, Zeus is described as always appearing angry, with a long, weatherman beard and salt-and-pepper hair. I think Benicio del Toro could own this character. Zeus isn’t one of the gods we get a lot of connection to in the books, but Benicio would be able to bring logos and gravitas to the character. I really feel that the gods should feel like characters too, and I think casting Benicio could help to improve that.
Mads Mikkelson as Hades
Hades is said to be menacing and terrifying. He is supposed to reflect modern tyrants such as Napoleon, Hitler, etc. They made the character funny and Mick Jagger-like in the film, and it was the complete opposite of what he’s supposed to be. Casting Mads would recitify that. We all know that Mads is the ultimate villain actor; any time he plays the villain, he nails it. But he’s also good at tender, emotional moments (evidenced by his performance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). I think he could perfectly play Hades.
Jon Bernthal as Ares
Though they gave the ‘rockstar’ role to Hades in the films, that’s really supposed to be Ares. He’s a very mean, ‘dudebro’ kind of character who Percy detests, because one of his natural abilities is to make people angry. Jon Bernthal has demonstrated that he’s an expert at playing antiheroes. He’s not only killing it right now as the Punisher (who is actually very similar to Ares), but he also gave a very nuanced performance in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver. He would make a fantastic Ares.
Pedro Pascal as Dionysus/Mr. D
Pedro Pascal is a masterful actor. Narcos has made me a fan of his, and I want to see him succeed in any role he’s in. And I think he could make waves with this one.
In the books, Dionysus is described as a lazy, drunken man with a beer gut who Percy would have never assumed is a god. He and Percy are constantly at odds, and they have sort of a love-hate relationship with one another. Pedro could completely own this role. Dionysus is one of my favorite characters from the series – he’s so funny, and he’s so full of himself. I think Pedro could do a great job.
Amber Midthunder as Persephone
If you’ve seen even one episode of Legion, you would know that Amber Midthunder is perfect at playing a kick-ass superhero – and in the books, that’s essentially what Persephone is. We don’t see much of her, but she has an excellent argument with her mother Demeter that perfectly telegraphs who that character is and what she’s supposed to represent. Amber Midthunder would do a fantastic job.
Rena Owen as Sally Jackson
You may know Rena as Taun We from the Star Wars prequels. Her role is small, but she makes an impression. I think she would do a fabulous job playing a caring, loving, supportive but afraid woman – Sally Jackson. Sally is another of my favorite characters from the books. So often you see characters’ parents die, or be horrible people, and I love that Percy has both of his parents and they both love and support him. I think Sally’s role is very important, and Rena would nail it.
Melissa Leo as Mrs. Dodds
Melissa Leo is a seasoned actress who’s been working a very long time, and she always leaves a lasting impression in whatever she’s in. The last project Leo appeared in was Fox’s Wayward Pines. While that show wasn’t amazing towards the end, Leo’s performance as a cruel and thoughtless leader really kept my attention. She’s amazing, and she’d make a perfect Mrs. Dodds – Percy’s pre-Algebra teacher who’s secretly one of Hades’s Furies, Alecto.
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Chiron
Chiron is the immortal centaur instructor of all the demigods who attend Camp Half-Blood. Having a black Chiron has been a dream of mine for a while, and I think Chiwetel Ejiofor would do a fantastic job. He’s already proven he can act thanks to his magnificent work in 12 Years A Slave, but I think this role would allow him to play a mentor who both loves to train heroes and is afraid of what might someday happen to them.
Millie Bobby Brown as Thalia Grace
Thalia comes in later in the series. Who she is is a bit of a spoiler, so I won’t say. All I’ll say is that she’s an insanely cool character. Millie Bobby Brown has proven on Stranger Things that she can steal scenes and do masterful acting without ever opening her mouth, and Thalia’s look and facial expressions are a big part of that character. She would play really well off of the young actors playing Percy, Grover and Annabeth while also drawing attention to herself.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Priyanka Chopra and Michelle Yeoh as Artemis, Aphrodite and Hera
Three goddesses I love to read in the books, Artemis, Aphrodite and Hera are all insanely cool characters with great stories and dialogue. First, Gugu Mbatha-Raw would make an amazing Artemis – an immortal warrior and goddess of the hunt. Then, Priyanka Chopra would do a fantastic job playing Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love (Beyonce would also nail this role) with Michelle Yeoh killing and commanding as Hera, the goddess of marriage and family.
These are my ideas for the perfect Percy Jackson cast! Be sure to share your thoughts.