When Thomas and Friends: All Engines Run returns for its 26th season, the iconic animated series will add an unprecedented new friend to the mix. It’s in full swing for the newest series regular, Bruno the Brake Car, the first thomaz and friends character have autism. Voiced by an actor with autism, the character was developed by Mattel Television in partnership with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Easterseals Southern California and respected writers and figures with autism.
Actor Chuck Smith, 10, will voice the character Bruno the Brake Car in the US, while in the UK, Bruno will be voiced by another young actor with autism, 9-year-old Elliot Garcia. The character will be featured in all areas of the franchise, providing future generations with the opportunity to grow up alongside Bruno. season 26 of Thomas and Friends: All Engines Run premieres Monday, September 12 on Cartoonito, Cartoon Network’s programming block for preschoolers. (The UK version of the show premieres on September 21.)
“Thomas and friends: all engines go It’s all about friendship and partnership,” Mattel’s director of preschool content Monica Dennis told Yahoo Life. “Whenever stories about collaboration and teamwork are told, difference matters. Differences in strengths and skill sets and ways of thinking: so Bruno really makes a unique contribution to the kinds of stories we’re telling All engines go.”
Bruno is a red-colored fire truck with touches of black and yellow, and is emblazoned with the number 43. He also has stairs and a flashlight on his exterior that indicate his emotional state, moving when excited or cautious. Bruno rolls backwards at the end of the train, which gives him a unique perspective. And his role is vital as he is responsible for keeping the train’s heavy load stable.
Mattel shares that the brake car’s personality is lighthearted and playful, as it loves to make puns. The introduction of a neurodivergent model is showcased through the character’s work ethic and fruitful relationships. Your character has been carefully crafted to ensure an accurate fictional representation of a child with autism in the real world.
The need for representation in children’s programming is more important than ever as the rate of autism diagnoses continues to increase each year. Mattel shares its goal in adding Bruno is to help children and families learn to live inclusively in everyday life through organic on-screen examples that are authentic and thoughtful. As one of the leading global toy companies and owner of one of the strongest back catalogs of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world, Mattel understands that it has a great responsibility to do this right.
“Our commitment and contributions alongside Mattel have ensured that an honest version of Bruno is what children and families around the world will experience,” shared Dr. Paula Pompa Craven, clinical director at Easterseals Southern California, in a press release. “Audiences will be able to see the real-life experiences of an autistic child through Bruno, including opportunities to learn and grow alongside him as he demonstrates his ability to give and receive support from his friends.”
Daniel Share-Strom, a series writer and consultant who has autism, told Yahoo Life that some previous depictions of autism in the media, especially in the children’s space, were based on harmful stereotypes. “It has been a real pleasure to bring Bruno to life as a character with a great sense of humour, a lot of empathy – which he shows in his own way – and a full range of strengths and challenges that make him as interesting, valuable and realistic as the rest. of the cast.”
Bruno’s presentation will cover all content with appearances on a YouTube series, music album, the Story Time for Thomas and Friends podcast, the next Mystery on Lookout Mountain movies and consumer products are expected to debut later this year.
“Bruno’s introduction organically reaches a global audience that is underrepresented and deserves to be celebrated in children’s programming,” said Christopher Keenan, senior vice president and executive producer of global content development and production at Mattel, in a press release. . “So much care and thought has gone into developing his character, and we can’t wait for audiences to know and love Bruno as much as we do.”
Well-being, parenting, body image and much more: discover the who behind hoo with the Yahoo Life newsletter. Sign here.