Autistic Characters is my personal list of characters in popular culture with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or some other form of neurodivergence.
I have also created a second list, focused on Autism in Literature.
For some of these characters, autism is a part of their storyline, and has been confirmed by their creators (what we will call “Canonically” Autistic).
For other characters, their autism is not explicitly acknowledged by their storyline or by their creators. In these cases, viewers have suggested these characters could be on the autism spectrum, based on specific traits or actions that have been portrayed by the characters. These characters are “Non-Canonically” Autistic.
Some of the characters who appear on the lists are a bit controversial. For example, self-diagnosed Sugar Motta from the TV show “Glee” is seen by many as a harmful stereotype of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. There is also much disagreement over exactly what is going on in the head of the eponymous “Sherlock” in the BBC series (autism, schizoid personality disorder, etc.). And online, there have been accusations that some in the autism community have been a bit too overzealous in their application of the autism label. Sites like Tumblr and Reddit are full of debate over whether certain characters really meet the criteria for inclusion on the autism spectrum.
For the purpose of this list, I’ve still included some of these contested characters, because I feel that the conversation that can be had about why people don’t like a particular character can be just as enlightening as a conversation about a character that is well-loved. For the more controversial characters, I will also be including links to articles and blog posts, written by others, who have argued for or against a particular character being on the autism spectrum.
You can find both of the lists below. Over time, I will be linking each of these character names to their own blog post, where I will provide details and examples of their autism, or suspected autism, as the case may be. I’ll also include the links mentioned above, to highlight the opinions that others have had on the topic of the given character’s autism.
Finally, I will also be including a link, on this page, to a meta-conversation on the importance of having autistic characters represented in popular culture, and why experts say that we should consider carefully who we claim is on the spectrum.
Want to contribute?
Have a character you want to suggest for one of the lists? Send me a message via the “Contact” link, and I will add them to my lists!
Canonically Autistic Characters:
Entrapta, from the TV show “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power”
Julia, from the TV show “Sesame Street”
Abed Nadir, from the TV show “Community”
Shaun Murphy, from the TV show “The Good Doctor”
Sam Gardner, from the TV show “Atypical”
Max Braverman, from the TV show “Parenthood”
Fiona Helbron, from the TV show “Elementary”
Dr. Virginia Dixon, from the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy”
Adam, from the film “Adam”
Billy Cranston, from the film “Power Rangers”
Christian Wolff, from the film “The Accountant”
Satya “Symmetra” Vaswani, from the video game “Overwatch”
Josh Sauchak, from the video game “Watch Dogs 2”
Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum, from the video game series “Bioshock”
Patricia Tannis, from the video game “Borderlands 2”
David Archer, from the video game series “Mass Effect”
Non-Canonically Autistic Characters:
Peridot, from the animated TV show “Steven Universe”
Sterling Archer, from the animated TV show “Archer”
Rick Sanchez, from the animated TV show “Rick and Morty”
Tina Belcher, from the animated TV show “Bob’s Burgers”
Lisa Simpson, from the animated TV show “The Simpsons”
Maurice Moss, from the TV show “The IT Crowd”
Temperance “Bones” Brennan, from the TV show “Bones”
Brick Heck, from the TV show “The Middle”
Will Graham, from the TV show “Hannibal”
Sheldon Cooper, from the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”
Sherlock Holmes, from the TV show “Sherlock”
Sonya Cross, from the TV show “The Bridge”
Jerry Espenson, from the TV show “Boston Legal”
Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, from the TV show “Orange Is the New Black”
Sugar Motta (self-diagnosed), from the TV show “Glee”
Stephen Strange, from the film “Doctor Strange” and other films in the MCU series
Newt Scamander, from the “Fantastic Beasts” film series
Mark Zuckerberg (the character), from the film “The Social Network”
Oskar Schell, from the film “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Baby, from the film “Baby Driver”
The Driver, from the film “Drive”