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The Star-Studded Fantasy Adventure Everyone's Watching On Hulu

It is sometimes said that superheroes are our modern-day Greek Gods. But what if the Greek Gods themselves were our modern-day Greek Gods? Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is set in a vision of America in the 21st century where the deities of old still hold sway. The family-friendly adventure flick combines the thrills of a Marvel or DC movie with the rich lore of the Olympian pantheon. If that sounds too good to pass over, you're not alone. The movie is currently streaming on Hulu, where it is one of the service's most popular film selections.

It's not just that the movie has an exciting premise. The epic story also attracted an incredibly stacked cast to play various members of the Greek pantheon, and the mere mortals that are affected by their drama. Rosario Dawson (who should soon be making her debut on The Mandalorian), Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman, Steve Coogan, Sean Bean, and Catherine Keener all show up to play characters as varied as Medusa to a struggling mom. To put it into perspective, that's three Oscar nominees, one King of the North, and a James Bond for good measure.

Here's what else you need to know about this adventure fantasy straight out of ancient Greece, that's racking up views on Hulu.

What is Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief about?

Like many teenagers before him, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief sees its titular hero struggling to figure out his identity. However, instead of confusing feelings brought on by puberty, Percy (Logan Lerman) is dealing with the shock of finding out that he's the secret demigod offspring of the Greek God Poseidon (Kevin McKidd) and therefore has incredible powers (not entirely accurate, but that's okay). As though that weren't enough to deal with on top of math homework and thinking about college applications, the Olympian God of Gods, Zeus (Sean Bean), believes that Percy is responsible for stealing his immensely powerful thunderbolt.

In order to find the stolen thunderbolt and clear his name, Percy teams up with fellow myths come to life. These include Grover (Brandon T. Jackson), a satyr and Percy's sworn protector, and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario), the demigod offspring of the Goddess Athena (Melina Kanakaredes). The trio's journey takes them across the country and eventually into the depths of Hades itself. 

But despite Percy's newfound powers and the help from his friends, going up against the monsters of legend and lore proves to be more challenging than figuring out how to ask someone to the prom.

The film is based on a celebrated series of novels

The film is based on the first novel in a five-book series by Rick Riordan, with the subsequent books following Percy's continued adventures and journeys of self-discovery. In an interview on his website, Riordan explained that he began exploring the concepts at the heart of the novels after his son, Haley, asked him to come up with some new stories of the Greek gods. He said, "Off the top of my head, I made up Percy Jackson and told Haley all about his quest to recover Zeus' lightning bolt in modern day America. It took about three nights to tell the whole story, and when I was done, Haley told me I should write it out as a book."

Haley inspired another important aspect of the novels. Percy's teenage journey includes learning to thrive while having ADHD and dyslexia, a trait he has in common with Haley. Riordan told The Guardian, "[Haley] would crawl under the dining room table and refuse to do his homework. So I used Percy Jackson in the ways that myths have always been used, to explain things that are difficult to explain. To say: you see the world in a slightly different way."

The Percy Jackson film franchise may be dead but the story will continue on Disney+

With five main entries in the book series, there seems to be potential for a big blockbuster Percy Jackson film franchise. 20th Century Studios clearly thought so, as they released a sequel to the first film in 2013. Titled Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, the follow up sees Percy and his pals traveling to the titular sea in order to retrieve the powerful Golden Fleece, the key to saving their world from certain destruction.

The sequel didn't exactly light the box office on fire, and although Lerman expressed interest in a third film, it never materialized. To nobody's surprise, in 2020, the franchise was declared dead.

However, that doesn't mean that we won't be seeing more live-action Percy Jackson. In 2020 it was announced that a new adaptation of the novels was underway at Disney+. Instead of a film franchise, this adaptation will take the form of a series which, given the scope of the books, is probably a smart choice. The project is still in the early stages of development, but if you are one of the many that recently caught Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief on Hulu, and want to see the story continued, it's time to look into a Disney+ membership.