Fans are already excited about Percy Jackson and the Olympians although there was initial backlash over Annabeth Chase's casting in the Disney+ series. Still, author Rick Riordan continues to defend Leah Sava Jeffries, insisting that the young actor is the perfect choice for the character.
Rick Riordan Continues To Defend Annabeth Actor in Percy Jackson
Rick Riordan recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about Percy Jackson and The Olympians and the author reflected on the time when he stood up for Leah Sava Jeffries after her casting.
"For Leah, she should not have to deal with that," Riordan said. "She should be allowed to practice her profession and her art, and to be recognized as a talented actor who got a part because she merited getting the part, without dealing with this speculation of it was only this or it was only that — ‘It was a quota, It was wokeness,’ whatever, blah, blah, blah."
"That didn’t sit well with me," he continued. "I am first and foremost always a teacher, and that was a teachable moment."
"That was a moment that I needed to say, ‘OK, hold on. Let’s examine this, and let’s examine what you’re saying and why you’re saying it,’" Riordan added.
"Racism, I believe, is not something we have or don’t have," he stated. "That’s the wrong conversation. I think we’re all prone to that."
Riordan continued, "I mean, to believe anything else is to ignore the entirety of human civilization. Racism, colorism, it’s always been with us."
"So it’s not helpful for us to say, ‘Oh, I’m not racist.’ Of course we are. What the question really is, is do we recognize it? And do we work on it? Or do we deny it? Those are the choices," he stated.
Percy Jackson and The Olympians will also star Walker Scobell as the titular demi-god and Aryan Simhadri as Grover Underwood. The series has not yet been given an official release date but is set to premiere on Disney+ in 2024.