‘Percy Jackson’ Author Defends Annabeth Actress Amid Racist Backlash

The author isn't having any of it.

Percy Jackson Annabeth

Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan defends the casting of Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase for the upcoming Disney Plus series.

Back in mid-2020, it was announced that a new Disney Plus series based on the Percy Jackson series was in development. After the initial announcement, little news came from the series. Then, last month, it was revealed that The Adam Project star Walker Scobell had been cast in the lead role. Earlier this month he was joined by Aryan Simhadri as Grover and Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth. Unfortunately, a certain set of people had some unpleasant things to say about Leah Sava Jeffries casting as Annabeth.

Like the upcoming Lord of the Rings series, the upcoming Percy Jackson show is facing criticism over casting a black actress in a role that had previously been occupied by white actors and actresses and/or had been white in the book. Most of the backlash this time around has been centered around casting Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth. In response to this, series writer Rick Riodan wrote a lengthy post where he slammed the racist backlash against the casting and defended the decision:

“If you have a problem with this casting, however, take it up with me. You have no one else to blame. Whatever else you take from this post, we should be able to agree that bullying and harassing a child online is inexcusably wrong. As strong as Leah is, as much as we have discussed the potential for this kind of reaction and the intense pressure this role will bring, the negative comments she has received online are out of line. They need to stop. Now.”

You can read the full post on Rick Riordan’s site.

The series is based on Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series of novels, which follow the young Percy Jackson – a demigod, the son of the Greek god Poseidon. The novels feature the pantheon of Greek gods living in modern times and see Percy uniting with other demigods in Camp Half-Blood. The first two novels were previously adapted into films in 2010 and 2013 – Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. They starred Logan Lerman as Percy, heading a cast that included Pierce Brosnan, Uma Thurman, Sean Bean, Rosario Dawson, and Steve Coogan.

The Disney Plus series will follow Walker Scobell’s Percy Jackson as he ventures across America in search of Zeus’s lost lightning bolt, having been accused of stealing it himself. As in the books, Percy has ADHD and dyslexia – something author Rick Riordan based on his own son, Haley, who inspired the novels.

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Source: RickRiordan.com

Trey Griffeth

Trey Griffeth

Lover of video games, comics, and movies! Writer of all things that involve them!