Novelist Rick Riordan recently took to his blog to declare that the race swaps of both Annabeth and Grover for the upcoming Percy Jackson and the Olympians Disney+ show was his choice and decision.
Riordan, who is the creator of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians book series, provided an update on Mother’s Day discussing his first week on-site at the studio where they are currently filming Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
As part of that update, the novelist declared “I am delighted to hear about the overwhelmingly positive response to the casting announcements. It is well-founded!”
He then added, “Rest assured, these actors are 100% my choices, my decisions, and I could not be happier with how things are going.”
Despite claiming that the responses to the casting news are “overwhelmingly positive,” Riordan then reassured fans who are not on board with the decisions, “If you have any doubts, wait until you see them act in the show. You’ll quickly see why I chose them, and why I am so confident!”
If responses are overwhelmingly positive why would Riordan even need to reassure people about the casting of the show?
This is clearly another piece of evidence showing just how disingenuous Riordan has been regarding the casting of the characters.
When the author first announced the castings on his website and revealed that actress Leah Sava Jeffries will play Annabeth Chase, Riordan brazenly declared, “Leah is exactly the way I imagined Annabeth in the books: smart, strong courageous, a true daughter of Athena who has zero patience for the foolishness of a certain Seaweed Brain.”
He added, “Watching her act with Walker and Aryan, I saw Annabeth Chase come to life. As soon as you see her on the screen, you will know what I mean. The Wise Girl has arrived!”
However, Jeffries does not look at all like the way Riordan described Annabeth his novels. Clearly, the actress is not how he imagined her given she does not match her descriptions in the novels.
In Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, Riordan wrote, “The last thing I remember is collapsing on a wooden porch, looing up at a ceiling fan circling above me, moths flying around a yellow light, and the stern faces of a familiar-looking bearded man and a pretty girl, her blond hair curled like a princess’s. They both looked down at me and the girl said, ‘He’s the one. He must be.’ ‘Silence, Annabeth,’ the man said. ‘He’s still conscious. Bring him inside.”
Later in the novel, he added, “She was probably my age, maybe a couple of inches taller, and a whole lot more athletic looking. With her deep tan and her curly blond hair, she was almost exactly what I thought a stereotypical California girl would look like, except her eyes ruined the image. They were startling gray, like storm clouds; pretty, but intimidating, too, as if she were analyzing the best way to take me down in a fight.”
In the official graphic novel adaptations of Riordan’s novels, Annabeth clearly looks nothing like Jeffries.
On top of this, Riordan would also address the description of Annabeth’s gray eyes in his Mother’s Day post. First, he revealed his description of them being gray did indeed mean they were the color eye. However, he now claims that that isn’t what he meant and it it’s just a term for describing a character’s eyes as “bright.”
This is what he wrote, “Did you know that the “gray” in “gray-eyed Athena” doesn’t necessarily translate as a color? I liked the idea of her having stormy gray eyes, and always described her that way in my books, but the Ancient Greek term γλαυκῶπις can also be translated as “bright-eyed,” as in wise or perceptive, and shares a root with γλαύξ, which means “owl,” Athena’s sacred bird.”
“In other words, Athena has bright eyes like an owl. Who says they have to be gray? Not this owl!”
You really can’t make this up. Riordan says he clearly imagined her eyes always as gray, meaning the color. However, now that he discovered that the Greek word can also be translated as “bright-eyed” he says that his use of the word gray doesn’t actually mean the color anymore.
Sorry, this just doesn’t fly and is clearly a poor excuse to hand wave away the race-swapping he’s doing, and as we’ve seen throughout modern Hollywood productions all the other “modern sensibility” changes that come along with race swapping.
Riordan’s wife, Becky Riordan also took to Twitter to describe those critical of the casting as “haters” and implied they are participating in “demagoguery.”
She wrote on Twitter, “A while back you (the fans) and I agreed to make these handles as kid friendly safe places as possible.”
Riordan added, “We give no room to demagoguery. We focus on the positive, We are supportive and uplifting. We encourage fans to not give space to hate speech veiled or blatant. #DoNotTweetHate.”
She followed that up writing, “I will also tell you something I know is a fact. Rick’s books open people’s minds. We get letters all the time that tell us this. Our TV show can do the same.”
“Yelling at haters will get us no where. Do not give their hate fires oxygen. #DoNotTweetHate,” she concluded.
Given Riordan’s own wife is addressing negative feedback to the casting announcements, it’s really hard to believe that Riordan thinks the response has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
Given this and the other statements Riordan has made it’s more than likely he sold out his own readers and fans and is clearly attempting to gaslight them into believing changing his characters for a Disney adaptation is receiving positive feedback.
The gaslighting coming from Riordan is quite sad given he was one of the biggest critics of the original films for not following his books.
Back in June 2020, Riordan revealed he hadn’t seen the films, but judged them based off the scripts he read.
He tweeted, “Finally, I still have not seen the movies, and don’t plan on ever doing so. I judge them from having read the scripts, because I care most about the story. I certainly have nothing against the very talented actors. Not their fault. I’m just sorry they got dragged into that mess.”
While responding to fan questions, he also revealed he wanted the movies to be completely censored, “I don’t know, but clearly it’s a mistake. They should censor the entire thing. Just two hours of blank screen.”
He also tweeted, “Well, to you guys, it’s a couple hours entertainment. To me, it’s my life’s work going through a meat grinder when I pleaded with them not to do it. So yeah. But it’s fine. All fine. We’re gonna fix it soon . . .”
Riordan clearly isn’t fixing it. He’s race swapping characters. His wife is attacking fans for similar criticisms he made just two years ago.
And he threw in his lot with The Walt Disney Company, a company that actively admits to engaging in racism and other vile practices such as the promotion of transgenderism and child grooming.
What do you make of Riordan’s recent comments about the casting for Percy Jackson and the Olympians?