Percy Jackson’s Toby Stephens Talks Poseidon’s Pivotal Debut, Adapting the ‘Morally, Pretty Feckless’ Greek Gods

After hearing Poseidon’s name mentioned throughout Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ first six episodes, we’ll finally meet the Greek god who rules the sea.

Tuesday’s penultimate episode, titled “We Find Out the Truth, Sort Of,” will see Black Sails alum Toby Stephens make his debut in the live-action Disney+ show as Poseidon. Given that the powerful sea god has been MIA from Percy’s life thus far — a few divine interventions being the exception — it’s easy to write him off as an uncaring dad. However, the upcoming installment looks to put things in perspective. It’s yet another instance of the show reframing the gods who, in Greek mythology, were pretty careless.

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“If you go back to the original Greek myths, they were total sleaze bags,” Stephens tells TVLine. “Zeus and Poseidon, they were all going around siring children all over the place. They were morally, pretty feckless. They didn’t care very much.”

In Episode 7, Poseidon will appear in a flashback scene with Percy’s mom Sally that doesn’t occur in the books, which Percy Jackson author and executive producer Rick Riordon previously described as the “third act to that subplot of Medusa and Poseidon and Sally.” Riordan was, of course, addressing that pivotal change in Episode 3 in which Medusa (played by Jessica Parker Kennedy) hinted to Percy that her relationship with Poseidon was consensual — “The sea god told me that he loved me” — and that perhaps Sally’s romance with Poseidon wasn’t as rosy as Sally made it seem.

Stephens, while discussing his portrayal of Poseidon, noted that the sea ruler does, in fact, care about his son and that his upcoming appearances in the show will illustrate that.

“There wasn’t much room to really show that, but I think the way that they chose, you do you genuinely feel that Poseidon… there’s a yearning for him to have a connection with both [Sally and Percy],” the actor explains. “There’s a pain in the fact that he can’t because he is this god. He couldn’t have been there for him.”

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