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Paw Patrol spin-off Rubble & Crew introduces franchise’s first non-binary character

The Paw Patrol franchise has introduced its first gender non-binary character  (Nickelodeon)
The Paw Patrol franchise has introduced its first gender non-binary character (Nickelodeon)

Paw Patrol spin-off Rubble & Crew has made a step towards inclusivity by introducing the franchise’s first non-binary character.

The animated series, which began airing in the UK on Nickelodeon earlier this month, follows 5-year-old bulldog Rubble helping construction projects in Builder Cove.

Non-binary character River makes their debut in the 16th episode of season one titled The Crew Builds an Observatory.

River has recently moved to Builder Cove with their family and has a passion for skateboarding and photography.

In the episode, directed by Dianna Basso, the pups jump to help River get a picture of a shooting star. They decide to build an observatory to help River’s photography goals.

While River’s non-binary identity is not addressed directly, there are hints, including how their socks and shoes feature white, blue and pink stripes, which is the same colour combination as the trans flag.

The character was also written by non-binary author and activist Lindz Amer, who confirmed the character’s non-binary identity.

Taking to Instagram, Amer revealed that they had been brought in to consult on the first non-binary character.

Sharing some pictures of River to the picture sharing app, they wrote in the accompanying caption: “I wanted to write a nonbinary character that was aspirational and incredibly cool, someone for the pups (and kids at home) to look up to.”

They also heaped praise on Cihang Ma, a Chinese-Canadian non-binary actor, who voiced River, adding: “They found an awesome non-binary actor to voice River and I’m so so happy about how it turned out.”

Kim Kardashian lends her voice in the upcoming second Paw Patrol movie, Mighty Pups (Getty Images)
Kim Kardashian lends her voice in the upcoming second Paw Patrol movie, Mighty Pups (Getty Images)

Ma is set to star in the upcoming The Boys spinoff, Gen V.

The original Paw Patrol series has been a huge hit with pre-schoolers since first launching 10 years ago.

In addition to a lucrative toy line and other merchandise, it has spawned two films, the second of which is released in cinemas next month and stars Kim Kardashian and her children North and Saint West.