Percy Jackson and the Olympians stars Walker Scobell as the titular character, Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth Chase, and Aryan Simhadri as Grover Underwood. After adapting two movies from Rick Riordan’s books, an upcoming series now breathes renewed life into the character of Percy Jackson. The beloved roles of Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, and Grover Underwood are now portrayed by a new generation of actors. Walker Scobell, 14, takes on the titular character, Leah Sava Jeffries, also 14, embodies Annabeth Chase, and Aryan Simhadri, 17, steps into the shoes of Grover Underwood, infusing fresh blood and perspective into characters originally written almost two decades ago.
Walker Scobell Embraces Percy Jackson’s Childish Side
Walker Scobell, confidently taking on the iconic character previously made more famous by Logan Lerman in the movies, expresses his familiarity with Percy Jackson from both the books and films. Well-versed with Percy Jackson inside out, Walker notes that playing the character allowed him to discover Percy’s childish side. He acknowledges that despite being a fan, the realization struck that Percy is just a kid at 12. Reflecting on the character, Walker shares,
“It was interesting to go back and look at it. Because it blanks from your mind when you’re playing him that he’s a child. He doesn’t really understand these emotions and how to control them.”
Leah Sava Jeffries Triumphs Over the Backlash
Leah Sava Jeffries, who was just a kid when she faced backlash for her casting as Annabeth Chase, a character originally envisioned as white in the books, received extensive trolling. After the subversive casting drew criticism, support poured in from author Rick Riordan and actor Alexandra Daddario (who played Annabeth in the movies). Now, with the episode behind her, Leah sees it as motivation to excel on set.
“I think that backlash happened because no one saw me play Annabeth yet. But now, everything is done, everything has come together well, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it. Because people just judge on the basis of what they see, what they hear, what they feel without actually waiting for it. The stuff that came to me and what people said was really a motivational thing. I took into consideration all of that and thought, Okay, these people are saying all these things. Let’s show them they’re wrong.”
Cast Unity and Diversity Triumphs
Leah Sava Jeffries found her co-stars boosting her morale whenever self-doubt crept in. Expressing gratitude, Leah shared,
“Even my cast members said, ‘You’re doing great, don’t pay attention to all that.’ So everyone has helped me a lot on this set. It’s come together really well, and I can’t wait for you to see it.”
Aryan Simhadri, portraying Grover Underwood, praised the makers’ commitment to inclusivity and diversity. He remarked,
“I don’t speak for Leah obviously. But the surge in diversity and the time, money, and genuine effort being put into finding talented creators and casting people of colour have been incredible in these last couple of years.”
Aryan, expressing joy at playing a significant character, stated,
“I’m just so glad that I get to play a character that means so much to so many people, and not just a funny sidekick kind of guy. It’s an honour.”
Percy Jackson and the Olympians is set to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar on December 20.