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‘Percy Jackson And The Olympians’ Actor Charlie Bushnell Discusses Luke’s Betrayal In Season 1 Finale

SPOILER ALERT! This post contains details from the season finale of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

We finally know who the real Lightning Thief is.

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Percy Jackson and the Olympians wrapped its first season on Tuesday with an action-packed episode that ties up all those loose ends after Percy, Annabeth and Grover narrowly escape the Underworld. That includes who really stole the Master Bolt.

Turns out, it was Luke all along. The son of Hermes has been in cahoots with Kronos to possibly destroy Mount Olympus and overthrow the gods. All is revealed when Percy and the team return to Camp Half-Blood, where they expect to find an ally in Luke, still thinking Clarisse stole the bolt. But Luke soon reveals himself, getting entangled in a battle with Percy, who he tries to convince to join his cause.

“That was an intense scene to film,” Charlie Bushnell, who plays Luke, told Deadline. “It’s a little different than what goes down in the book. Personally, I like the changes. I think it’s more exciting for a TV show adaptation.”

Bushnell spoke with Deadline about the Season 1 finale and the possibility of expanding Luke’s story in Sea of Monsters, if the series is renewed.

DEADLINE: The finale scene with Luke and Percy is a great moment, and it’s a big one for Luke. How did you and Walker prepare for it?

CHARLIE BUSHNELL: That was an intense scene to film. I think we filmed that over the span of like three days, and leading up to the filming of that scene, there was a lot of stunt training, because of course, there’s the final fight that we have, along with training sequence [earlier in the episode]. So there was a lot of stunt training involved. Working with the stunt team was so much fun. They made us look amazing. We worked a lot with our our onset coach Andrew McIlroy, and really just broke the scene down. I feel like Walker and I truly were able to connect on such a deep level while filming that scene…we were really able to just bounce off each other and, even in between takes, we had this little tennis ball thing that we throw back and forth while doing the scene to just keep that connection going. I just remember it was so much fun and emotional. It’s a little different than what goes down in the book. Personally, I like the changes. I think it’s more exciting for a TV show adaptation.

DEADLINE: Luke has such a big moment at the end, but before that we don’t see much of him once the trio leaves camp. Did you talk with Rick and the EPs about what was going on behind the scenes with him to help build up to that final moment?

BUSHNELL: Absolutely. I remember when I was still in the audition process for Luke, I met with [the EPs] on Zoom one day and and we really just talked about the character and his backstory, all that stuff. There were a lot of discussions and also just a lot of research on my part. Of course, I jumped right into the books when I found out I got the role and did a lot of research. I did actually meet Rick, my very first day on set and I got to chat with him a bit about Luke as a character. Rick truly just laid the groundwork for me out perfectly. Everything was there in the book for me. [I also did] a deep dive online Luke’s backstory and what other people think. I feel like I learned so much from the fans and their takes on things. I love listening to Percy Jackson podcasts, and some people do deep dives into the characters, so there were definitely a lot of discussions with various different people [that] helped me get to know who can his backstory and how that’s going to serve his overall arc.

DEADLINE: What was something interesting you used to inform your performance that you learned from fans on the internet?

BUSHNELL: In that final scene, Luke is essentially trying to recruit Percy, but it doesn’t go in his favor. I think he believes that Percy will understand where he’s coming from, and I think he believes that Percy is gonna be like, ‘You’re right. Let’s do this.’ But I saw someone online say, I think the fact that Percy had his mother growing up [means] Percy is still kind of new to this world. He’s new to this magical world and Greek gods and demigods and monsters and all that. So I think he’s still like holding on to hope. But Luke has been in this world his whole life, and I think he’s lost all hope and sees nothing positive about it. Even though their godly parents have been absent in both of their lives, I think there are a lot of parallels actually between the way Percy and Luke think about things. I think the fact that Luke didn’t really have his mom growing up, because she want she tried to become the host of the Oracle and that drove her crazy, she was just not really there for him in the way that he needed her to be. So I think that was a big factor as to why Percy didn’t join Luke’s side in the end. Because, I think at the end of the day, Luke just wanted nothing more than to be loved, and Percy did have that in some ways whereas as Luke never really did.

DEADLINE: What scene did you most enjoy getting to see that you weren’t there for on set?

BUSHNELL: That Aries fight is insane. It’s so good, and Walker and Adam Copeland just absolutely knocked it out of the park. I was literally like sitting next to Walker watching this, and he was getting a live commentary reaction of me watching this scene. It was just so epic. It was even better than I imagined.

DEADLINE: Luke has a great, very prominent role in Sea of Monsters. The show hasn’t been officially renewed, but what are you looking forward to about potentially exploring that?

BUSHNELL: I mean, right off the bat, I’m excited to just be on a yacht, essentially the whole time. The captain of my own ship, which would be pretty cool. I actually have to go back and reread Sea of Monsters. I’m finishing up the Chalice of the Gods right now. I’m almost done with that one. I’m excited just to see like Luke be really in charge. I feel like Luke is already very confident, which I like about him, but I think in this next season especially, Luke is powerful and is takes on this leadership role, and I’m excited to see him really step into his power even more. Also, I’m just excited for more of those fight scenes with Percy, because me and Walker just have a blast doing those and it’s so much fun with him. It’ll be fun to beat up on him some more. [Laughs]. I’m also excited to meet some new characters that are gonna come in next season. So there’s a lot. The list goes on and on.

DEADLINE: If we make it to Season 5, Luke has a run in with his dad Hermes in The Last Olympian. In the series, Hermes is played by Lin Manuel Miranda. What would you be looking forward to about that scene?

BUSHNELL: It’s too bad that I have to wait that long. I’d film the scene with him, like, yesterday. He was incredible as Hermes, by the way. He was so good. I really enjoyed that episode. He’s the best and he seems like the nicest guy. He actually messaged me, after he saw the first couple of episodes and sent me the nicest message and just told me how much he’s enjoying the show and all that. So I’ve been in communication with him a bit. I’m really looking forward to hopefully working with him one day. because that will be so much fun. It gotta keep working on my acting, because I want to be at his level when we finally get to that moment.

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