February 27, 2024

Not only was Season 1 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians a massive hit on streaming, where it racked up 110 million hours viewed, it was also a major event online.

Every week, viewers flocked to social media to share their reactions, fan theories, and fan edits. My own social media timelines were regularly alight with Percy and Annabeth — or “Percabeth” — shippers losing their minds at every “Seaweed Brain” or “Wise Girl” mention, as well as speculation about what any adaptation changes from Rick Riordan’s original Percy Jackson books might mean for the future of the show.

And you know who else was seeing these reactions? The cast of Percy Jackson and the Olympians themselves.

Stars Walker Scobell, Leah Sava Jeffries, and Aryan Simhadri revealed at the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter press tour that they are extremely aware of — and grateful for — fans’ creations online.

“We’re all pretty plugged into the social media aspect of the show,” Simhadri said. “I love seeing the edits, I think they’re great.”

Mashable’s Elena Cavender defines an edit as “fan-made videos typically set to music that slice together clips of a celebrity or character,” also calling them “the internet’s love language.” For Percy Jackson and the Olympians, edits range from epic season recaps set to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” to jokier videos comparing the cast to the Powerpuff Girls.

“Seeing the edits makes [the show] feel like it really happened,” Scobell added. “I knew that even if I wasn’t going to be Percy Jackson, I was going to watch the show. So seeing all these awesome edits of the Ares fight and just us as Grover, Annabeth, and Percy, it’s been weird.”

My dad keeps sending me photos of me photoshopped into a wedding dress.

– Aryan Simhadri

The large internet presence of Percy Jackson and the Olympians fans is no surprise. The first book, The Lightning Thief, released in 2005, meaning that the series’s younger readers grew up alongside the rise of social media and the development of online fandom culture.

While many viewers are coming to Percy Jackson and the Olympians as fans of the books, a portion of the audience is also made up of people who have little to no prior knowledge of Riordan’s work. For Jeffries, fan theories from non-book readers became a fascinating element of the show’s impact online — especially the ones concerning the many mystery of Season 1: Who stole Zeus’ (Lance Reddick) Master Bolt?

“[Some fan theories] were like, ‘Oh, Annabeth Chase is the lightning thief!’ and I was totally confused by that. Why did you think it’s me?” Jeffries said at TCA.

Scobell added: “I saw a post of people saying, ‘Percy’s just lying, he actually took the lightning bolt, so this whole series is a lie.”

The fan reactions have even spilled over to the actors’ families. “My dad keeps sending me photos of me photoshopped into a wedding dress,” Simhadri revealed, referencing a key moment from The Sea of Monsters, the second book in Riordan’s series and the source material for the recently greenlit Season 2.

Will those Grover wedding dress edits become reality next season? Will fans cook up crazier theories to surprise the actors? Percy Jackson fans have some time before Season 2, but when it hits, remember: The cast are watching.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is now streaming on Disney+.

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