Alexandra Daddario Chimes In After Annabeth Recasting Backlash Over Disney+'s New Percy Jackson Series

The casting of Leah Jeffries as Annabeth Chase in the upcoming Percy Jackson and the Olympians series resulted in some backlash from book fans regarding race-related details. Now,  former Percy Jackson film franchise star Alexandra Daddario has chimed in with a simple but supportive message for the actress taking over her former role.

Actress Alexandra Daddario took to social media to share her support for Leah Jeffries. Take a look at her message below: 

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Alexandra Daddario originally portrayed the role of Annabeth in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, as well as its sequel The Sea of Monsters. The films were considered flops after disappointing performances at the box office and poor critical reception (which was why we didn’t see more of them), but they've attained a fandom nonetheless. Daddario has already given the new series her blessing, but after the news went public that Leah Jeffries' casting sparked negative reactions and insults on her social media accounts, Alexandra Daddario stepped up to cheer her on, though without addressing any of the blowback directly.

Hopefully, hearing from the previous live-action Annabeth may help to quiet the naysayers, as unlikely as that may be. While the response to Leah Jeffries’ casting was indeed mostly positive, the young actress was subject to some intense bullying on her social media accounts. She revealed in an Instagram live session that she was even driven to delete her TikTok account after receiving such hateful messages. Jeffries also reaffirmed her confidence in herself, and thanked the supportive fans for their positive comments.  

Alexandra Daddario hasn’t been the only Percy Jackson-related vet to support Leah Jeffries. Author Rick Riordan, who wrote the original Percy Jackson novels, released a statement on his website defending the young actress. He stated his intent to cast the series without regard for factors like ethnicity and gender, and that Leah Jeffries was the best actress to embody “Annabeth’s strength.” Riordan also called out the racism displayed by fans, and declared it to be the real reason behind the bullying. 

Leah Jeffires definitely isn’t the first Black actress to be the target of racist commenters after being cast in a role that was initially written as and played by a white person. The Percy Jackson backlash is similar to what Halle Bailey experienced when she was cast as Ariel in the live-action The Little Mermaid. Rather than finding excitement in the concept of new interpretations of classic characters, social media trolls tend to share negative critiques without seeing the finished product first, and in this case share them before filming has even started. 

Luckily, that hasn’t stopped Disney from continuing to diversify its screen projects, as evidenced by Percy Jackson and the Olympians. And it seems for the most part that fans (and Alexandra Daddario) can’t wait to see Leah Jeffries play everyone’s favorite daughter of Athena. 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians doesn’t have an official release date yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know here on CinemaBlend. In the meantime, you can check out the original film with your Disney+ subscription, or check out these other 2022 TV release dates to begin planning your viewing schedule. 

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.