Thomas and Friends adds Bruno the Brake Car, the first autistic character

Thomas the Tank Engine has a new friend. The popular children’s franchise has released photos of its first autistic character, Bruno the Brake Car, who will be introduced during the season 26 premiere of Thomas & Friends: All engines are running (airing Monday, September 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network).

Voiced by neurodivergent actor Chuck Smith, Bruno is described as a “cheerful, pun-making brake car.” It’s great at its job, keeping big, heavy cargo stable with its powerful brakes – an important role in Thomas & Friends: All engines are running. Bruno reverses at the end of the train, which gives him a unique perspective on the world.” He is “detail oriented” and enjoys schedules and routine.

As for his physique, Bruno has “stairs and a lantern on his bright, red exterior that indicate his emotional state and moves when he’s excited or cautious,” according to the official character breakdown, and his “best day is one, which he spends with his friends who love and respect him as much as he loves them back. Through his on-screen presence, “Bruno’s Rich Friendships and Important Work” will introduce audiences to a “positive, neurodivergent role model.”

Thomas and his friends

Mattel Television notes that Bruno was developed in collaboration with respected organizations, including the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and Easterseals Southern California, as well as writers and speakers with autism, including Daniel Share-Strom and Aaron Likens.

“The most important aspect of Bruno’s development was receiving autistic input throughout the process of creating the character and his interactions with his world,” said Zoe Gross, director of advocacy at the Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). “It was great to be able to contribute as part of an ASAN advisory team. Autistic people were involved in all aspects of the creation of Bruno, from us as consultants to the show’s writers to Bruno’s voice actor – this makes Bruno appear as an autistic character. I hope Bruno will provide viewers with meaningful examples of inclusion in everyday life.”

Executive producer Christopher Keenan added, “Bruno’s introduction organically encompasses a global audience that is underrepresented and deserves to be celebrated in children’s programming. So much care and thought went into developing his character and we can’t wait for audiences to meet and love Bruno as much as we do.”

Scroll down for more first look photos, then hit the comments and let us know if you and your little ones are tuning in for Brunos Thomas & friends Debut.

Thomas and his friendsThomas and his friendsThomas and his friends Thomas and Friends adds Bruno the Brake Car, the first autistic character

Lindsay Lowe

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