Max explores the possibility of an autism spectrum in the Star Wars galaxy and examines the nuances of Star Wars Resistance hero Neeku
One of the most controversial topics in modern America is how to deal with a child on the autism spectrum. As someone who has been described as possibly mildly autistic, and has 3 friends who are autistic; autism is always on my radar when I observe people.
AUTISTIC STAR WARS
The Star Wars galaxy is not the future or the past of Earth; it is a culture with many parallels to us that exists in a galaxy likely billions of light-years away. Why it is so similar to our culture (in-universe) is a whole other topic on its own; but rest assured, if autism exists in this world, it also exists in Star Wars. Yet it’s interesting to speculate how that society (one that is arguably more advanced than us) treats or recognizes it.
Up until 2018, I always assumed that autism was no longer something that parents had to worry about, as the genetic screening that, presumably is done in-utero is able to eliminate it before birth. but then 2018 rolled around, and we were introduced to a delightful character named Neeku. He is a green Nikto mechanic from Star Wars Resistance and quickly becomes one of the main characters across the 2 awesome seasons that is Resistance.
Now, if you listen and follow Neeku, many of the things he does imply that he has a form of autism called Asperger’s Syndrome. People with Asperger’s often have high intelligence, despite the inability to connect socially with others. This is Neeku in a nutshell. He is a wunderkind mechanic who is super smart, yet he fails to catch the nuisances of socialization. Many of his friends, thankfully accept his quirks, but new people like Kaz sometimes get a little exasperated with him.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being autistic, but many people are unkind, and while some regard beings like Neeku as funny and eccentric; there are many cruel people who like to deceive and ostracize those with this “disability”. In the real world, we are looking at neural plasticity to try and treat autism, along with schizophrenia and the aftereffects of stroke, but this technology is barely in its infancy on Earth. Yet, cybernetics is a very mature, commonplace science in Star Wars, so one could assume there are many options for people with disabilities.
Money is also a factor, and the fact that Neeku is from a family of bantha herders may influence this; yet should autism even be “corrected” if even possible. One scientist even said that autism may be the next stage of evolution in humans and then on the other side of the spectrum; people claim that autistic people have a lower form of consciousness. I do not believe the latter to be true, yet there is a sort of strange disassociation from reality that some autistic people suffer from and 2 of my 3 autistic friends do display signs of not really getting the big picture or being what people like to call “meta.”
Neeku certainly seems a little bit on his own plane, and you wonder. Can autism be corrected in Star Wars? Should it? Or perhaps, would the universe be better and kinder if more beings were like Neeku?
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!