Listen up, demigods! The PJO Golden Trio has finally been completed and while they may look a little different, it's definitely exciting news.
The Percy Jackson & The Olympians franchise finally has a new golden trio completely cast for its new series coming to Disney+. And though the trio's actors look a little different than the characters' book description, author of original series, Rick Riordan, stands behind the decision completely.
Long time fans will remember that Percy Jackson has been adapted before. However, the first attempt at translating the beloved children's fantasy series flopped badly. Between terrible creative decisions, and excluding Riordan from any planning, only two pretty terrible films were made, much to fans' disappointment. The announcment of the Disney+ series brought palpable excitment back to the fandom, as fans worldwide felt hope for this series to come to life the right way.
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Casting for titular character Percy was the first announcement, and the role went to 13-year-old Walker Scobell. The young actor recently appeared in Netflix's The Adam Project, and his portrayal of a young Ryan Reynolds clearly showed fans his Percy potential. After such a win in Percy's casting, many waited impatiently for news of the rest of the trio, Annabeth and Grover.
The announcement for both characters came simultaneously via various social media accounts, including Riordan's and Disney+'s, with Leah Jeffries taking the role of fellow half-blood Annabeth and Aryan Simhadri to play the satyr Grover. Jeffries at 12 years old, and Simhadri at 16, are both the right age to portray the characters introduced in the original series, and this is a great sign for the new series.
Annabeth does look a little different from her book description. In the novels, her character was described as blonde, with grey eyes and tanned skin, and is constantly referenced as a typical California girl, in physicality at least. Jeffries is African-American, and this made many fans pause questioningly. Riordan reinforced in his blog, however, that Jeffries is perfect for Annabeth, assuring fans that "The Wise Girl has arrived!"
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Grover was also described as caucasian in the books, and while Simhadri is Indian-American, in the same blog post, Riordan not only celebrated his casting, but told fans that him and Scobell have a "great dynamic," and hinted that the visual technology production is using to give Simhadri Grover's characteristic satyr goat legs is definitely worth the wait.
Despite Riordan's words, the fandom's reaction to the casting was mixed. However, the decision makes sense not just with who Rick Riordan is, but the way he has consistently sought to have his work reflect the real world. A big criticism of Riordan's original Percy Jackson series was that there was not much diversity. Riordan has done the work to make his later series more diverse, but this is an important step for the author as the series that made him famous gets another crack at a bigger audience. The fact that Riordan wholeheartedly and enthusiastically supports this casting evidences that Riordan, as a creator, is willing to make those types of meaningful decisions.
Regardless of the differences in appearance, the golden trio is finally cast, and the long awaited filming stage can finally begin. In his blog immediately following Scobell's casting announcement, Riordan asserted that looks are not as important, referring to Percy's characteristic black hair, and the intent carries over to this new casting as well. Both Jeffries and Simhadri are talented actors, who have significant careers behind them already, and their future is looking bright with this series. Whether they dye Percy's hair, or give Jeffries gray contacts, they are sure to bring new depth to these characters that fans have waited so long to come to life properly.
Cara Elizabeth Smart is a bibliophile first and a writer second. She is a freelance writer for CBR, and a baker by trade. She spends most of her free time reading anything she can, and cuddling her cat, Callistus.