Percy Jackson Show Makes 2 Key Changes to Echidna

By Gillian Blum Posted:
Percy Jackson show Echidna

Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+ finally adapted a fan-favorite sequence from the original Percy Jackson books with its depiction of the iconic St. Louis Arch scenes featuring Echidna.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Episode 4 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

This sequence has been highly anticipated, both by fans and those working on the show.

In summer 2023, months before Percy Jackson and the Olympians had any full trailers, lead actor Walker Scobell himself teased the scene where Percy falls from the top of the monument by commenting "Light work" on a TikTok about the sequence.

Multiple creatives on the series have even pointed out the Chimera — the monster Percy fights in this sequence — as one of their favorites to bring to life.

But, fans may have been surprised by a couple of story changes surrounding Echidna, the Mother of Monsters, who sets the monster on her hunt for Percy, Grover, and Annabeth in St. Louis.

Echidna's Main Differences in Disney+ Percy Jackson Show

Percy Jackson and the Olympians saw a slightly different version of the Mother of Monsters, Echidna, in its fourth episode than fans are used to from the books.

The changes to Suzanne Cryer's character in the Disney+ series were not as extensive as those made to Medusa in Episode 3, but they were noteworthy nonetheless.

Echidna's Introductory Location

Echidna in Percy Jackson show

The books and the show differ greatly in where Echidna and the Chimera are first introduced.

In The Lightning Thief, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover first meet Echidna and her dog on the ride to the top of the St. Louis Arch.

The trio was not there in the book to seek refuge, per se, as the Arch was not an Athenian temple like it is in the show. Rather, their train simply stopped in St. Louis, and given her love of architecture, Annabeth was desperate to visit the arch and go to the top.

The show, however, has Percy, Grover, and Annabeth meet Echidna on the train itself. She breaks into their cabin from the outside (as revealed by Grover pointing out the glass on Echidna's jacket), and ransacks their beds and room. After being alerted by Echidna herself, blaming the trio for the mess, the police question the heroes, and arrest them in some capacity.

Echidna then talks to them, eventually revealing who she is and that she needed them to understand what was going on so that the monster in her carrier (later revealed as the Chimera) could catch their scents in order to track them.

Percy, Grover, and Annabeth are chased by the monster, essentially blowing up the train. They ultimately find refuge in the St. Louis Arch, but have to deal with the reaction Percy has to the poison from the Chimera's stinger, which stabbed him back on the train.

They go to the top in an effort to seek aid from Athena, but end up needing to fight the Chimera before they can try.

This is where the book and the show align almost identically, as Percy stays behind while sending Annabeth and Grover back down the arch, and fights the Chimera before falling down the monument, into the water below. The water heals him, and he speaks with a water spirit with a calming voice.

Echidna's Appearance & Dog

Echidna in Percy Jackson graphic novel
Percy Jackson graphic novel

Though not as much of a change as the previous, plot-heavy one, Echidna's appearance and dog are both fairly different in the show from what they were in the books.

In The Lightning Thief, Percy describes Echidna as "this big fat lady" with distinctively ugly features and the appearance of "a blue-jean blimp:"

"We got shoehorned into the car with this big fat lady ... She had beady eyes; pointy, coffee-stained teeth; a floppy denim hat, and a denim dress that bulged so much, she looked like a blue-jean blimp."

In the show, Cryer appears as a much less ugly version of Echidna. She wears a pink blazer and is far more slim than the book describes her. She is missing the denim entirely, and her eyes and teeth were not particularly notable either.

Additionally, book Echidna takes on a different form from her human look, which does not happen in the show.

Percy describes her monster look as having a "forked tongue," with "fangs" and other monster-like features:

"I smiled uneasily at the fat lady. She smiled back, her forked tongue flickering between her teeth ... She rolled up her denim sleeves, revealing that the skin of her arms was scaly and green. When she smiled, I saw that her teeth were fangs. The pupils of her eyes were sideways slits, like a reptile's."

The dog (which eventually turns out to be the Chimera), too, appears differently in the show and the book.

In the show, the Chimera's mist-adjusted form is a small dog with dark brown fur, which is only shown outside of its carrier for a couple of seconds.

In the book, however, Percy spends enough time with the dog that he is able to note it is a Chihuahua with a "rhinestone collar" and "beady eyes." He also notes that "none of the guards said a word about it:"

"Her dog [was] a Chihuahua with a rhinestone collar. I figured maybe the dog was a seeing-eye Chihuahua, because none of the guards said a word about it ... The dog had beady eyes like its owner, intelligent and vicious."

Why Was The St. Louis Arch So Highly Anticipated?

The build-up for this episode, despite its changes, was intense.

Fans have been looking forward to this scene for years, particularly because it was left out of the Percy Jackson movies entirely.

Not only is it insane to think about Percy falling 630 feet from the top of the St. Louis Arch, but it is also rewarding to see Percy learn he can breathe underwater for the first time.

Rather than this magical revelation, presented in the show with a callback to a new-for-Disney+ flashback of Percy and his mom in a swim class, the movie had Percy staying underwater for minutes upon minutes, before even knowing he was a demigod.

Plus, it is always nice for fans to see Annabeth demonstrating her love of architecture — something that is revealed over the course of the books to be representative of her innate characteristics.

The first four episodes of Percy Jackson and the Olympians are now streaming on Disney+, with the remaining four episodes releasing weekly through January 30.

- In This Article: Percy Jackson (Season 2)
Release Date
Aryan Simhadri
Leah Jeffries
Walker Scobell
- About The Author: Gillian Blum

Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.