The Power Rangers reboot is breaking down another barrier.
Following Monday's news that the new Yellow Ranger would be Hollywood's first mainstream LGBTQ superhero, actor RJ Cyler has revealed that his character, Billy the Blue Ranger, is on the autism spectrum.
In an interview with ScreenRant, Cyler discussed the process of bringing the Blue Ranger to life:
"I just wanted to show a different, like, viewpoint of people that are seen as being on the spectrum, right? Or people diagnosed with autism, 'cause it's like I feel like us being outsiders looking in and I take that, I cast my own stone when I say that, 'cause there's a lot that I didn't know before ..."
Cyler's comments arrive just as other characters on the spectrum are coming to the forefront.
On Monday, Sesame Street announced it was adding Julia, the first-ever autistic Muppet, to the regular cast. (Julia had previously been relegated to the show's digital segments.)
And Overwatch made headlines earlier this month when game director Jeff Kaplan confirmed Symmetra, one of the playable characters, was autistic.
Although there are a handful of prominent characters who've displayed qualities associated with autism, including Guardians of the Galaxy's Drax the Destroyer and The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper, it remains rare to see characters who are explicitly confirmed to be on the spectrum, let alone heroic protagonists who are identified as such.
Here's hoping Billy the Blue Ranger - along with Julia, Symmetra, and others - are the start of a change in the right direction.
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