Original author Rick Riordan shares his long response to the backlash for casting Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase in Percy Jackson & the Olympians. Riordan’s popular novel series about a boy who discovers he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon was published from 2005-09, and the books were then adapted into two feature films: 2010’s The Lightning Thief and 2013’s Sea of Monsters. While both found success at the box office, neither were well-received by critics or fans, with the author himself being one of the most prominent detractors.
Disney+ is currently set to give it another go, with a Percy Jackson TV series in development with Riordan’s blessing and involvement. Recently, the production team confirmed the casting of the three principal characters, with The Adam Project star Walker Scobell playing Percy, Jeffries playing daughter-of-Athena Annabeth, and Aryan Simhadri playing the satyr Grover Underwood. While many have celebrated the announcement, some have responded poorly to the news that Annabeth, who is described in the books as white, will be portrayed by a Black actor in Jeffries, resulting in significant online vitriol directed at the young performer. Now, Riordan uses his website to take the Percy Jackson Annabeth casting backlash to task. Stating that directing such online harassment at a child is out of line in any circumstance, the author doubles down on his previous statement that Jeffries is the perfect match for the character’s personality, which he affirms was his primary criterion. Riordan then unpacks the criticisms and explains how they are indeed based in racial bias, whether consciously or not, and asserts that those who can maintain that Jeffries shouldn’t have been cast haven’t really understood his books.
Riordan’s comments echo his previous statement about Scobell’s Percy Jackson’s hair color, in which he affirmed his valuing of personality and acting talent over physical resemblance to his character descriptions. While Jeffries’ Annabeth casting backlash response was to confidently shut her haters down, displaying Annabeth-esque self-assuredness, the author is right in asserting the young actor shouldn’t have had to issue such a response in the first place. Riordan is both measured in his tone and firm in his beliefs, and it seems that if casting Jeffries has lost the Percy Jackson show any viewers, he wouldn’t really want them watching it anyway.
Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots Season 3
A trailer for Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots season 3 reveals the 9 new stories that the animated anthology series will cover. Love, Death & Robots includes self-contained episodes within the sci-fi, horror, and fantasy genres from independent animation studios. Seasons 1 and 2 garnered critical acclaim and won 11 Emmy awards out of 12 nominations. Love, Death & Robots season 3 will include the first sequel to a story from season 1 with the return of “Three Robots”, a post-apocalyptic comedy featuring robot commentary on what life was like for humans. It will also feature episodes from creators who previously worked on the series, like Alberto Mielgo, David Fincher, and Tim Miller (who also created the show).
Netflix reveals a trailer for Love, Death & Robots season 3, which includes brief teasers from each of the 9 new stories. No story looks the same, and that makes for a fascinating and enticing preview. This trailer arrives just over a week before the official debut of Love, Death & Robots season 3.
Part of what makes Love, Death & Robots successful is that even though one episode may differ entirely in tone and subject matter from the next, every installment is original, gripping, and thought-provoking. Aside from this, viewers can anticipate seeing a range of animation styles, all of which bring a uniqueness to the story, and some of which are unbelievably photo-realistic. Viewers can look forward to seeing some of their favorite directors from past seasons as well as discovering new favorites when Love, Death & Robots season 3 arrives.