The series, which features a stacked cast, follows the life of Percy Jackson, the Demi-god son of Poseidon. The events of the books, and now show, quickly pull the young kid into a world of crazy magic, mayhem, and Greek Gods.
Demi-gods like Percy are kept safe from the world's dangers by staying at Camp Half-Blood. Each camper is assigned to a cabin resembling their heritage—a war-themed cabin for Ares, sea-themed for Poseidon, and so on.
Those cabins, and the Gods themselves, are often lauded as one of fans’ favorite parts of author Rick Riordan’s iconic story.
Creating Camp Half-Blood & Designing the Gods
While speaking exclusively with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, Percy Jackson and the Olympians production designer Dan Hennah and costume designer Tish Monaghan talked about the iconic cabins at Camp Half-Blood and teased what’s ahead for the show’s interpretation of the gods.
When asked about their work on the cabins in Camp Half-Blood, which are all based around one of the major Greek gods, Hennah explained how they were “wooden buildings” that they wanted “to add the Greek god element without stone:”
“Well, certainly, in terms of the builds of the cabins, we went with the premise of a school camp. So it's wooden buildings. But at the same time, we wanted to add the Greek god element without stone. So they're wooden buildings, but they have a character. Each building has the character of a god.”
He then teased that if a Season 2 happens, “we’ll see more of the buildings:”
“So, it's like Poseidon's building is going to be aqua colors. It's going to have Greek pillars, that sort of thing. And each of them is distinct. Should we get lucky enough to go for a second series, we'll see more of the buildings. But, at the moment, what we've got is very much along those lines.”
As for Monaghan’s role with the costuming, she revealed that “[they] were at one point not even going to get inside any of those different houses:”
“... We were at one point not even going to get inside any of those different houses. We got inside Poseidon and inside [Hermes]... But Hermes is like a collective of kids. They're like a little bit of the lost souls. And I know for sure we wanted to find ways that we could differentiate the different houses. But, there was little opportunity for us to illustrate that, and I think the one house, had they gotten inside Ares’ house, then they would have been able to see something.”
When it came to Clarice and her fellow Ares kin, Monaghan explained how they “really tried to put a stamp on the military aspect of it:”
“... With those campers and Clarice, we really tried to put a stamp on the military aspect of it. So intentionally, I tried to add as much camo or olive drab... and I looked to my collections of photos from Vietnam and their Vets. So I would just try to incorporate some of those classical imagery without being too nail on the head kind of thing for the kids in Ares' house.”
While the different cabins at Camp Half-Blood are fun, it's nothing compared to the unique thrones and the gods themselves.
Hennah noted that in designing those thrones and Mount Olympus, they “had to take it back a step, in terms of time:”
“Regarding the thrones, at first it was about finding Mount Olympus, and the concept of a mountain top and what would be there, and also the concept that the home of the gods was pre-Ancient Greece. So, we had to take it back a step, in terms of time.”
Describing the area, the production designer revealed that on top of the “circle of thrones,” there are “still parts of the mountain” that can be seen in the structure:
“But in terms of grandeur, and also layout, it was very clear, sort of circle of Thrones with Zeus at the head of it. So the sort of traditional magical architecture... but around the thrones, there are still parts of the mountain. But still, to be able to see through that and see the world beyond, that was sort of, from a structural point of view, where we went with that.”
Monaghan shared that the way author Rick Riordan described Zeus in the book is exactly how they aimed to portray the larger-than-life god:
“Yeah, well, I have toyed with the idea and just questioned our producers and director if they wanted to see any remnants of Greek antiquity on the characters, but they really wanted to stick to the book. And that was kind of the mantra, like, go to the book when in doubt. And in the book, Rick Riordan had referred to Zeus being dressed in a three-piece business suit. And so that's exactly what we did. And I think it's kind of cool how you juxtapose Greek antiquity with what our set is, and our throne is based on that with someone in contemporary clothing. “
Percy Jackson's Marriage to the Books
Thankfully, fans not only got to see some of the Camp Half-Blood cabins in the trailer (along with some spoiler-filled moments), but the set pieces will be among the first elements of the story they’re introduced to while watching the show.
It's clear that plenty of love and attention went into them, and audiences will see more as the story progresses over (hopefully) multiple seasons.
As for the Gods themselves, seeing them and the magnificent Mount Olympus will likely have to wait. Most of them don’t enter the first book's story until the end—in a brief scene, to say the least.
Given how accurate everything else has been up to this point, it's difficult to see how that would change. The creatives seem married to the books’ original vision, arguably the perfect attitude.
The first major Greek God viewers will meet in the show, besides Jason Mantzoukas’ Dionysus, will probably be Ares. For the Disney+ series, Adam Copeland will bring the God of War to life as he enters Percy’s story roughly halfway through his quest.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians premieres with a two-episode debut on Wednesday, December 20 on Disney+.