It's always difficult when it comes to screen adaptations of books, video games, or comics – anything that involves some source material that already enjoys a fanbase of its own.
You may have never heard of the Percy Jackson series and you may not care about the upcoming TV show at all, but if you keep an eye on entertainment news, you have certainly heard about the scandal around the casting of Leah Sava Jeffries as Annabeth Chase.
The actress is Black, while her character was explicitly described in the books as white, blond, and grey-eyed. The inconsistency has predictably resulted in a firestorm, with some fans demanding book-accurate actors for the upcoming series, and the book author weighing in to accuse them of racism.
Is this the first time when the screen adaptations change something significant about the 'canon' character descriptions and spark ire among fans? Not at all. Let's recall at least three incidents that caused similar shockwaves.
Artemis Fowl Adaptation
The book series about a 12-year-old Irish criminal mastermind who discovers fairy people and takes a journey from a little villain to an adult hero was a hit back in the 2000s. Written by Eoin Colfer, the Artemis Fowl series particularly included a very important storyline of Captain Holly Short – a fairy policewoman who happened to be the very first female officer in the underground police. She had to prove she was worthy practically during her every mission, particularly to her boss, Julius Root, who eventually admitted Holly was one of the best officers he had ever worked with.
The 'Artemis Fowl' movie was released in 2020, and it drove fans insane particularly due to the fact that they cast a woman to play… Julius Root. Even though the decision initially seems to be a nod to diversity, bringing more female characters to the movie, it has effectively ruined the story of Holly Short and her struggles to prove herself as a female police officer.
Dark Tower Adaptation
'Dark Tower', a novel written by Stephen King, received a screen adaptation in 2017. In King's books, Dark Tower is a mythical structure that supports all realities, and the main character, Roland Deschain, embarked on a mission to protect it.
Deschain was described by King as one of the so-called gunslingers, "old long, tall, and ugly" with "blue, bombadier's eyes." According to the books, he was white, but in the movie adaptation, the character was portrayed by Black actor Idris Elba – something that caused many fans to proclaim they won't be watching the movie and accuse the creators of ruining the series.
Prince of Persia Adaptation
Not only do books suffer from miscasting: when it comes to video games, fans may have tons of issues, but the adaptation of Prince of Persia is one of the classic examples of whitewashing in Hollywood.
The titular role of the Persian prince himself went to Jake Gyllenhaal – a white man. But the creators of the movie did not stop there: British actress Gemma Arterton was cast as Princess from the Indian sub-continent, which simply does not make sense geographically and historically.