Percy Jackson: Charlie Bushnell Reveals Major Details About Luke's Turn (Exclusive) (2024)

Bushnell's character was exposed as the real lightning thief in the Percy Jackson finale.

By Liam Crowley

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Say hello to the bad guy. Percy Jackson and the Olympians's season finale revealed that previous lightning thief accusations directed at Hades and Clarisse were just red herrings, as Luke was the true burglar. Fans of the books anticipated this turn to the dark side for the son of Hermes from the jump, actor Charlie Bushnell included.

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"I knew it was coming just because I did my own research outside of the book, but reading that for the first time was insane. I remember just thinking that I cannot wait to film this. This is going to be so much fun," Bushnell told ComicBook.com. "Obviously there are some changes from the book, but I personally like those changes. I think it's more exciting for a TV show adaptation."

As Bushnell alludes to, Disney+'s version of Luke's turn echoes the spirit of The Lightning Thief's chapter, but its structure is significantly different. On the page, a frustrated and relentless Luke escapes out of Camp Half-Blood on his own will, leaving Percy to die with a venomous scorpion. On the screen, a charming and still-friendly Luke is forced to run out of camp before attempting to persuade Percy to join his cause.

"I think Luke brought him out there to essentially lay it on him, tell him exactly what was going down. Percy being Percy, he's extremely smart. I think he figured it out before Luke could even get it out there himself," Bushnell analyzed. "Another thing that I like that was changed from the book is that Luke, he says it himself, he's trying to recruit Percy to his side. In the book, he kind of just takes him out there to essentially dispose of him. I think that'll make people a lot more empathetic towards Luke and understand where he's coming from."

After Percy pieces together that Luke is the mystery man that the prophecy foretold would betray him, Luke plays his biggest card: Backbiter. Luke shows off his signature weapon from the books, a mighty sword capable of opening doors out of thin air. Beyond the passageway capabilities, The Lightning Thief describes Backbiter as a sword of half celestial bronze and half tempered steel, making it lethal to both mortals and immortals.

"Yes, absolutely," Bushnell said when asked if the show's Backbiter possesses all of the abilities that the book version has. "If you really look at the sword, it does have a clear line down the middle, with one side being a celestial bronze color, and then the other is just steel. I think those same rules still apply to Backbiter in the show.

"When I saw Backbiter for the first time, I was like, 'Oh man, this is so cool.' They actually made real metal ones that we got to hold while we were filming. We obviously didn't film that scene with the real swords because that would've been extremely dangerous, but we got to hold them and take some cool pics with them."

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As Luke is showing Backbiter to Percy, his previous peaceful score is transformed into something slow and sinister.

"It's such a small world, Bear McCreary actually literally lives a few houses down for me," Bushnell said of the Percy Jackson composer. "I met up with him and he took me into his studio and he showed me that scene and he played the theme for me. I got goosebumps the first time I heard it."

Even after Percy forces Luke to detail the truth, Luke remains calm. He insists that the gods are his enemy, not Percy. It is then that Percy begins shining light on the gods' positive qualities, including Hermes. The second Percy name-drops the messenger god, Luke instigates a fight.

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"That's definitely a sensitive subject for Luke. I think there's a sense of almost jealousy there," Bushnell shared. "Luke would call for Hermes, but Hermes was never there for him really, except for that one time that he went back to his house. Even then, that was a whole messy thing. I think the fact that Percy has already had this connection with his father before Luke even had one was not good for him."

The mention of Hermes begins a brief battle between Luke and Percy.

"We rehearsed it to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme," Bushnell said. "I think Walker came up with that idea. Just working with the stunt team as a whole was a dream come true for me. I know little me who was obsessed with sword fighting with my friends with those little Nerf swords back in the day was definitely feeling like we made it."

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Percy is able to get one good shot in on Luke, but immediately apologizes. Luke takes advantage of Percy's lack of killer instinct, shoving him to the ground and holding Backbiter over his prone body, seemingly having the son of Poseidon dead to rights before Annabeth interferes.

"I think there was still a level of hesitation for sure, because I think Luke, at some point, did care about Percy. I think they were friends," Bushnell noted. "I think he did see him as a powerful asset to his cause. I think there is still good in Luke, but at this point, he's going to do whatever it takes to bring Kronos back. If Percy's standing in the way, Luke's going to get him out of the way. Annabeth once again saved the day. She fully threw that knife straight at Luke."

While Percy ultimately declined Luke's offer to join Kronos's cause, plenty of impressionable youth within Camp Half-Blood remain.

"I think he's already in the works, in the background recruiting. Obviously we haven't seen that displayed on screen yet, but I think Luke has been plotting for a while now," Bushnell said when asked if he has already sent feelers out to the likes of Chris Rodriguez and company. "He started plotting after his failed quest, which took place a long time before The Lightning Thief."

The season finale of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is now streaming on Disney+. You can listen to this full interview in the latest episode of ComicBook Nation's Riptide Radio – A Percy Jackson Aftershow.

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Percy Jackson: Charlie Bushnell Reveals Major Details About Luke's Turn (Exclusive) (2024)

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