Percy Jackson TV Show Casting Announcement and Controversy

The Percy Jackson Trio (from left to right): Leah Sava Jeffries (Annabeth Chase), Walker Scobell (Percy Jackson), and Aryan Simhadri (Grover Underwood).

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” a popular book series about Greek gods, is being made into a TV show! If you’re a fan of “Percy Jackson,” you understand the excitement. For those who aren’t, I’ll fill you in real quick. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is a five book long series revolving around, Percy Jackson. He learns that he is a demigod (half-god, half-mortal) and has only a couple of weeks to save the world.

Anyway, this show has been long-awaited among the “Percy Jackson” fans. Now at this point, you might be thinking, ‘Wasn’t there a “Percy Jackson” movie?’ To answer that question, yes there are movies for the “Percy Jackson” series. However, there are more inaccuracies than actual details from the books in the movies. So, now that we’re essentially getting a do-over for a better adaptation of our beloved series, many people have a lot of opinions.

Walker Scobell, who was recently in the Netflix original movie “The Adam Project”, was cast as the lead role of Percy Jackson. Aryan Simhadri was cast as Percy’s best friend and satyr guide Grover Underwood. And finally, Leah Sava Jeffries was cast as intelligent and strong Annabeth Chase.

The casting of Aryan and Walker has been met with nothing but praise. However, Leah Sava Jeffries has gotten a mix of wonderful support and from some of the fans and terribly rude and some borderline racist comments from others. The writer of the books and several other important people on the production team for the show have backed Leah up and have flat out told people to stop, and rightfully so. Here’s the thing: the whole reason Leah is getting hate is because she is African American. Annabeth, the character she’s portraying, is Caucasian and blonde.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I expected Annabeth to have matched her description before Leah was cast. I was even a little surprised that they hadn’t cast somebody who matched Annabeth’s physical description. However, I very quickly remembered that acting ability is what matters more. Rick Riordan, the author of the “Percy Jackson” books, has been a part of every step of the production of the tv show and if anyone knows who can embody Annabeth’s personality best, it’s him. But the most important thing is that this is a big step for African American girls everywhere. When little girls, teenagers, adults see a girl who looks like them playing one of the strongest and main characters in this series, that will warm their hearts and make them fall in love with this show. And that’s what really matters. Blonde, caucasian girls have had their moment to see Annabeth and feel connected to her, it’s time for a new generation of more inclusivity and diversity in the “Percy Jackson” fandom.

Most importantly, if you see any of the type of messages I previously mentioned, in reference to Leah or for anyone, don’t let it go unnoticed. If it’s on social media, report it. If it’s in person, call it out. Don’t let hate go without consequences. Instead of spreading hate, we need to be spreading love and support especially for a 12 year old girl who’s just doing something she’s passionate about. Leah Jeffries is Annabeth Chase.

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