The next TV series Percy Jackson and the Olympians unveiled the cast’s first exclusive look on set. While fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive for the most part, there’s another side of the fandom made up of trolls who have expressed unfavorable judgment regarding the casting choices – particularly Leah Jeffries’ portrayal of Annabeth Chase. Previously, following a supposed backlash over woke inclusivity and biased comments, series writer Rick Riordan himself had to address those fans directly in a post on his website. .
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Ultimately, the critics are back with Leah Jeffries accused and sued for race-swapping in the upcoming Disney+ series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Why The Backlash?
Following the casting reveal announcement that took place earlier this year on May 6, many believed and said Annabeth’s casting was poor, as it did not follow the canonical portrayal of the character in the books. . Annabeth is characterized by wavy blonde hair, a tan complexion, and gray eyes in the literary series. Her portrayal in the books describes her as white, which contradicts the final casting choice for Annabeth, who will be played by Leah Jeffries.
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After the reveal, initial reception gave way to disheartening comments on the Internet; some targeting the young actress and therefore harassing her. Things got to a point where Rick Riordan, the author of Percy Jackson series, had to clear the tense air and explain why Jeffries was the best casting choice.
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Here is what the author had to say:
“I was clear as a writer that I was looking for the best actors to inhabit and bring to life the personalities of these characters, and physical appearance was secondary to me…This trio is the best. Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase.
The author’s lengthy post touched on the specifics of the casting process and explained how he was simply sticking to his principles when casting Jeffries as Annabeth: that only a person’s personality reflects their honest, true nature. Her statement, however, wasn’t much help as criticism erupted again. But fans of the show came to Jeffries’ rescue.
Percy Jackson fans defend Leah Jeffries
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Fans of the show were quick to defend the actress and responded to criticism online. While most of the backlash was tame, others resorted to trolling. Rising against such remarks, the Percy Jackson fans pointed out the logical reasoning behind their support for Leah Jeffries portraying the role of Annabeth Chase. Here is what they had to say:
Why are you so bothered by a black girl? like who cares? you should care if the show is good, not that a black girl is in it
— Andrew! (@heavyonit) August 18, 2022
Athena is not blonde. She’s a brunette and it’s not the 00s anymore
– Des⁷ says she’s reading The Son Of Neptune ❂🔱 (@DestheDreamer_) August 18, 2022
do the answers know that the casting for the trio was OPEN AUDITIONS and the author chose the actors who best portrayed the character…like personality, mannerisms, traits, etc. not their fault (especially Leah’s) they were the most talented in their auditions 🤷♀️
—Nia | (@carstairsbur) August 18, 2022
Y’all are so quick to get defensive whenever Hollywood gives white people BIPOC roles or cishet LGBTQ roles with the excuse “they’re ACTORS! if the actor is better than he should be cast ”
so why wouldn’t it be the same the other way round? or do you just think that BIPOC
—Nia | (@carstairsbur) August 18, 2022
Why are you focusing on that rather than other things that are more apparent…
— VoyageurInternet (@VoyageurFutur) August 18, 2022
There is a thin, often sometimes blurred, line between what encompasses criticism, trolling, and harassment. While many voiced their support for the actress, others stuck to their original opinion. As always, the internet is divided when it comes to its prospects. What we can hope is that over time, the trolling targeted at Jeffries will calm down and people will welcome a new perspective on the acclaimed series with open arms.
The first season of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is set to premiere on Disney+ in early 2024.
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