Why 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' hero Drax resonates with the autism community

PHOTO: Dave Bautista as Drax in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.PlayMarvel Studios
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Matt Asner knew when he saw the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" that the character Drax had something in common with his own children.

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"I remember seeing it ... and just thinking to myself, 'He's autistic!'" Asner said of Drax. "He has no editor whatsoever and he just says it like it is."

So Asner, who serves as vice president of development for the Autism Society of America, took two of his six kids -- Will, 14, and Eddie, 8, who are both on the autism spectrum -- to see the sequel to the James Gunn directed blockbuster this past weekend.

The boys loved it, Asner told ABC News, not just because of the humor and heart-pumping action but also because they related to and adored the "Guardian" Drax, played by actor Dave Bautista.

Gunn has never come out and said that Drax is on the autism spectrum. But fans of the first "Guardians" film will remember him interacting with Chris Pratt's Star-Lord and Bradley Cooper's Rocket Raccoon.

"Metaphors go over [Drax's] head," Rocket said, to which Drax responded plainly, "Nothing goes over my head ... My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it."

In "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," Drax takes an even greater role within the group, and hilarity ensues when he meets a new hero named Mantis. Without spoiling the movie or some of its charm, let's just say Drax says exactly what's on his mind when interacting with her.

"It's something that happens with a couple of my kids a lot," Asner said. "They don't have that edit button. It's great for them to see a character like this ... Not just for people who have autism, but people who are out there who don't really know what autism is."

"It's just a wonderful way to let people know they matter in society," Asner added. "Kids get to see this enjoyable character onscreen that is basically one of their brothers."

PHOTO: Matt Asner, at the Inside Out film screening at AutFest, April 23, 2017. John Salangsang/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
Matt Asner, at the 'Inside Out' film screening at AutFest, April 23, 2017.

Children on the autism spectrum often interact with others differently and may have "challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication," according to Autism Speaks.

Asner, who is the son of legendary actor Ed Asner and a film producer for years in his own right, said the best part about the Drax character is that he isn't defined by his differences, but is assimilated into a group of unlikely heroes.

"One of the wonderful things about this, they don't say he has autism, it just is. That's really the way it is out in the real world. It's a wonderful thing that he's part of this group, that he's living his own life, that he's dealing with things on his own," Asner said.

"It's a very positive thing for people who are autistic to look at and enjoy. That's what we need to get to, characters that are autistic and just a part of the world on the screen, instead of making a statement about it," Asner said.

PHOTO: Zoe Saldana, left, Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, in a scene from, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Disney-Marvel via AP Photo
Zoe Saldana, left, Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, in a scene from, "Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2."

After his introduction in the 2014 film, Drax was an instant star. Media outlets like Upworthy and advocacy organizations like Autism Speaks all picked up on how the autism community was reacting to Drax.

Gunn wasn't available to speak with ABC News about the character, and a request for comment from Bautista wasn't immediately returned to ABC News. But the actor spoke to Mashable earlier this year and said of his character's resonance with the autism community -- it "feels good when you can influence anybody in a positive way, that you're being a positive role model for somebody. It's a good feeling, it's a really good feeling."

ABC News and Marvel are both part of parent company Disney.

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