The Thomas & Friends franchise has been around since 1984 entertaining children with not only amazing toys that children can create their own adventures with but also wonderful stories, to learn from. Well, the franchise is about to introduce a new friend to the Thomas & Friends audience. The franchise will soon introduce its first autistic character: Bruno The Brake Car.
Bruno The Brake Car will make his debut on Cartoon Network‘s Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go this month. The character is voiced by autistic actor, Chuck Smith.
“Through his on-screen presence, Bruno’s rich friendships and important work introduces audiences to a positive, neurodivergent role model,” the company said in a statement as reported by Deadline. “Together with key partners, Mattel carefully curated Bruno’s character to ensure an accurate fictional representation of an autistic child in the real world.”
Bruno The Break Car was developed by Mattel Television in collaboration with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and Easterseals Southern California. Additionally, writers and spokespeople with autism also helped develop the character.
And of course, Mattel Television, Cartoon Network, and the Thomas & Friends franchise are receiving nothing less than praise for the inclusion of Bruno.
Zoe Gross, Director of Advocacy at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, said, “The most important aspect of Bruno’s development was getting autistic input throughout the process of creating the character and his interactions with his world…Autistic people have been involved in all aspects of creating Bruno, from us as consultants to writers on the show and Bruno’s voice actor – this makes Bruno ring true as an autistic character.”
Bruno The Break Car’s introduction to the world of Thomas & Friends, will span across all content areas including: appearances in a YouTube series, music album, the Thomas & Friends Storytime podcast, the upcoming Mystery of Lookout Mountain special, and consumer products.
Make sure to mark your calendars so that you can be among the first to meet Bruno The Break Car. Bruno will make his debut on Monday, September 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network’s Cartoonito.