Medusa has officially made her debut in the Percy Jackson Disney+ series! The live-action adaptation is based on the beloved novels written by Rick Riordan, who also served as a co-showrunner and producer on the show, alongside his wife and collaborator, Rebecca Riordan. For the show, the two producers decided to make some changes to the infamous snake-haired character.

Keep reading to see what, meet the actress behind Medusa and more.

How Did They Change Medusa’s Story From the Books to Show?

Within the Percy Jackson books and early 2010s movies, Medusa acts as a cold-hearted villain, when the reality of her backstory is quite the opposite.

“The only reason Medusa is not more fleshed out in the books was that it was Percy’s narrative, and we don’t have her perspective,” Rebecca told Variety, as the books are written in Percy’s first-person perspective.

Medusa’s story is much more tragic than herself suddenly becoming a snake-haired monster who is killed by famous Greek hero Hercules — and in Percy Jackson, by Percy. Instead, the Greek myth behind her origin explains that she was a devout follower of the goddess Athena, before water god Poseidon defiles her in the goddess’ own temple. Insulted by the situation, Athena turns Medusa into the “monster” she is now known for.

“There are many versions from ancient times of what happened in that temple with Medusa and Poseidon and Athena,” Rick explained to the outlet. “Who’s to blame? Who’s the abuser? What’s the real story? It’s fiction, but it certainly is important to acknowledge that there is abuse involved here. Abuse of power.”

“As a 12-year-old boy in 2005, I don’t think he had the bandwidth for deconstructing the patriarchy,” Rick added of Percy’s perspective. “He was looking at it as: ‘This is a scary woman who’s trying to turn me into stone.'” Rebecca reveals, “It was one of the first things we talked about, how to not have a patriarchal lens.”

Who Plays Medusa In ‘Percy Jackson’ Disney+ Show?

Medusa is played by actress Jessica Parker Kennedy, a 39-year-old actress who has had quite a lengthy career in television and film. Some of her roles stretch back more than a decade and a half — however, she’s best known as The Secret Circle’s Melissa Glaser, Max from Black Sails, and The Flash‘s Nora West-Allen.

Fun fact: she played Selena Gomez‘s best friend Tami in Another Cinderella Story!

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