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‘Percy Jackson’ Author Says Casting a Black Actor as Annabeth in Disney+ Show Stays True to Why He Wrote the Books: ‘Everybody Can Be a Hero’

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Zack Sharf Digital News Director “Percy Jackson” author Rick Riordan explained to Entertainment Weekly that making his franchise more diverse by casting Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase in the upcoming Disney+ series was always staying true to the reason he wrote the “Percy Jackson” books in the first place.

Jeffries’ casting last year generated backlash from racist fans upset that a Black actor was playing a character that Riordan described in his book as a blonde white girl.

Riordan immediately shut down toxic fans, and now he has told EW that Jeffries’ casting is true to the spirit of his franchise, as the only reason he wrote “Percy Jackson” was because his child was having difficulty in school. “He was struggling with dyslexia and ADHD, having a terrible time in school, but the one thing he did love was Greek mythology,” Riordan said. “As a classroom teacher myself, I knew a great deal about Greek mythology.

I loved teaching it. So I started telling him stories from the Greek myths and, when I ran out of the old stuff, I made up a new Greek hero: A modern-day kid named Percy Jackson who, like my son, has ADHD and dyslexia and finds out that those are indicators that you may well be a demigod.

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