The new Percy Jackson Disney+ series trailer was dropped on D23In the series, Annabeth Chase is played by Leah Jeffries, an African American actress with a past role in the movie Beast (2022).
Uncle Rick posted on his website, RickRiordan.com, responding to fans who were against the casting of Leah Jeffries due to her skin color.
Annabeth Chase is described as having “tanned skin and a slender, athletic body. She has long honey-blond hair set in perfect princess curls” and as “looking like a typical California girl, except that her stormy grey eyes ruined the image”.
He first stated that the post is specifically for those who have an issue with the casting of Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase, and that it was a shame that such posts need to be written, but they do.
He also clarified that the thoughts expressed henceforth were his and do not reflect the opinions of Disney or the production team.
The response to the casting of Leah was overwhelmingly positive, and he praised the energy and enthusiasm to this role.
She stated that Jeffries will be a role model for new generations gf girls who’ll see in her the heroic demigoddess they want to be.
“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.”
The post also sparked the #LeahIsOurAnnabeth trend on Twitter.
“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.”
We analyzed the same phenomenon with the Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, in a past article. During that time, critics were offended at the casting of a “Black Targaryen”, as Corlys Velaryon’s character was played by Tobagadian actor Steve Toussaint.
Riordan expressed when open casting began in 2021 that the Percy Jackson Disney+ series would follow Disney’s commitment to diverse, inclusive casting. The casting process was long, intense, massive, and exhaustive.
Many fans were outraged that their objections were called out online as racist.
“You are upset/disappointed/frustrated/angry because a Black actor has been cast to play a character who was described as white in the books.”
Uncle Rick is pleased to have Jeffries bring Annabeth Chase to life once more. Previously, the character was played by Alexandra Daddario in the Chris Columbus Percy Jackson film.