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‘Everybody can be a hero’: The creator of the latest Disney reboot cursed by racist backlash addresses the haters head-on

It's alarming that it happened twice.

percy jackson and the olympians
Image via Disney Plus

Some people can be a little too precious when it comes to live-action adaptations of their favorite properties, but things have had a habit of devolving into outright nasty territory when it comes to Disney recasting key roles in two recent high-profile reboots. Fortunately, Percy Jackson and the Olympians creator Rick Riordan has no interest in negativity.

Admittedly, the “outrage” over Halle Bailey playing Ariel in The Little Mermaid infuriated basement dwellers all over the world, who still couldn’t prevent it from scoring decent reviews and bumper box office. In the case of the Percy Jackson do-over, Leah Jeffries became the target of intense vitriol when she was revealed to be playing Annabeth, despite being a literal teenager who shouldn’t have to put up with such bile.

Image via Disney Plus

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Riordan tackled the naysayers with the utmost grace, offering that the entire point of writing the stories in the first place was to show that anybody can be anything.

“20 years on, it was important that I looked at it again with fresh eyes and made sure that the story was speaking to all kids, and that everyone could look at this series and see themselves. It is inclusive enough that everyone can be a hero — after all, that’s why I wrote the book in the first place. My son, because of learning differences, was feeling like an outsider and this was my way of saying, ‘It’s okay. Difference is a strength. You’re gonna be just fine. And you belong in this world.'”

With Riordan taking the creative position he never got on the unremarkable pair of feature films, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is well-placed to become a smash hit on Disney Plus regardless of what the trolls think.

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Scott Campbell

News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.