The series of Percy Jackson on Disney Plus has been in development for some time and little by little new details are being revealed about what we will see in streaming. Leah Jeffries, young actress chosen to play Annabeth, interviews Entertainment Weekly and defends her casting as the demigoddess, arguing that she wants to become an inspiration to all girls of color out there.
Annabeth Chase is a central character in the book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians written by Rick Riordan. She is the daughter of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, and plays a pivotal role in the life of the protagonist, Percy Jackson. Annabeth is known for her intelligence and cunning, and is a skilled strategist. Throughout the series, she becomes one of Percy’s closest allies and plays an essential role in the adventures of the group of demigods. Her backstory includes personal challenges and a deep desire to prove herself at the demigod camp where she was raised. As the series progresses, her relationship with Percy evolves, and together they face numerous obstacles and mythological threats.
Everyone knows that Annabeth is a character loved by fans of the series due to her strength, intelligence, and loyalty. Her search for identity and her determination to defend her friends and the world from the threats of the Greek gods make her story intriguing and moving. Throughout the five main installments of the series, readers see Annabeth grow and face challenges both personal and mythological, making her central to the narrative and an example of a strong, well-developed female character in youth literature.
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A controversial cast
When Disney announced the reboot of Percy Jackson in series format, fans were excited with the expectation of having new actors for the heroes who give meaning to the adventure. Leah Jeffries, an actress of African descent, was announced as Annabeth; Although most of the comments were positive, a part of social networks criticized the choice of the actress because her appearance does not match the descriptions of the novels: “young woman with white skin and ash blonde hair that cascades to her shoulders, bright gray eyes.” Regardless of the above, Jeffries She wants her work to fill girls who look like her with hope:
I’m playing a character who is a different person, with a different hair color, a different skin tone and all that. This was the prototype. Just hearing that I’m playing her differently was like, ‘Wow, now I’m going to be an inspiration to other girls.’ My experience filming the series has been phenomenal and incredible.
In a series of interactions on X (formerly Twitter), now deleted, Rebecca Riordanproducer of the new series and also the author’s wife, Rick Riordanfaced the problem surrounding Jeffries and the negative comments she has received for being chosen as the new Annabeth; Although she does not mention it explicitly, she regrets the situation, appreciates the fans’ support and maintains that the character’s white skin in the books does not influence the narrative arc at all (via The Direct):
Rick (Riordan) and I feel very sad today that there are people who continue to use his books to justify spreading hate. However, it helps to think of all of you true fans who are respectful and supportive of each other and our cast. We couldn’t be doing this program without you. (…) Does it help to know that when these characters were created in 2002, the expectation in publishing was a white default? Annabeth’s perceived whiteness in the books is a flaw. Her skin color or hair color is not significant to her character.
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