|“||Why not? You really want to be partners with that freak?!?||”|
Julian Albans is a student who attends Beecher Prep School and the main antagonist of the story (despite reforming at the end). He is portrayed by Bryce Gheisar in the movie. He is shown to be basically the male version of Regina George, or a dark-haired version of one of William Zabka's blonde school bullies in 80s movies (e.g., Johnny Lawrence), or even a 5th grade Biff Tannen. Throughout the movie, he is shown to be ableist towards Auggie, harassing, humiliating, and emotionally abusing the latter, making the school feel like a threatening and unwelcome environment for him. In The Julian Chapter, Julian hears a story about a boy like Auggie from Grandmère. Grandmère tells Julian to do the next right thing and apologize to Auggie. A reason for Julian's behavior is he is copying his mother's behavior.
Julian started out to be sociable, energetic child who dreamt of fame and appreciation in a snobby tone. When he met August, he became the least acceptable student to him. As the year passed on, he became bitter, hateful, and aggressive towards August, Jack, and later the rest of the school. Soon he grew jealous and left Beecher Prep with a broken heart.
On summer vacation, Julian reformed in to a nicer person after realizing that he was in fact an enemy to the school(mainly August and Jack). He is no longer hateful and learns that he must spread kindness and love to all kinds of people, not just the ones who care for only him.
Wonder and the Julian Chapter
Julian was first shown as one of the three students, who were tasked with giving Auggie a tour around Beecher prep, along with Jack Will and Charlotte Cody. Like the other two children, Julian was a little bit unsure about meeting Auggie. However, unlike the other two, who had grown accustomed to Auggie, Julian kept and grew his ableism of the latter. Julian is also shown to be mean in general (which gets unnoticed, due to his "king of the school" status). For instance, while Charlotte is talking about her acting career, Julian rudely asks the latter if she ever stops talking. Then, we truly see his mean nature in the science lab:
While being given a tour, Julian makes rude comments, that are supposed to call Auggie special needs, treating Auggie like he is not as smart. Then, he starts to mock Auggie for his facial appearance, due to the latter's genetic disability. Jack then shows indignance with Julian's comments. Ignoring this, Julian asks if Auggie was in a crash, which gets rebuked by Charlotte. Julian then futilely tries to defend his questioning, by saying that Mr. Tushman said that they can ask questions. This is only rebuked, when Charlotte clarifies not rude questions, and adds that Auggie was born with the facial deformity. Julian then sarcastically acknowledges it, before proposing that Auggie might have been in a fire. Then, Jack Will, having enough of Julian's mean comments, tells Julian to shut up, only for Julian to return Jack Will's words, and Charlotte to tell everyone to shut up. Auggie then breaks the silence, by saying that it was not a fire, and emphasizes the word, "supposedly".
When Auggie is talking about the day with her, Auggie's mom proclaims that according to Mr. Tushman, Julian is "quite the dream". Auggie rebukes this, prompting his mom to ask if Julian is someone who acts differently in front of kids vs. in front of adults. Auggie confirms this. His mom responds, by proposing that Julian probably feels bad about himself, and that Auggie should stand up for himself. Auggie's dad remarks that Julian sounds like "a real jerk", before telling Auggie to push back.
Julian's next appearance is during the first day of school, when during a lesson by Mr. Browne on his precepts, he (the former), answering the prompt of "two things about yourself", talks about getting Battleground Mystic (a fictional video game) on his Wii. When August says his word and mentions that his favorite Star Wars character is Jengo Fett, Julian asks if he also likes Darth Sidious(aka Palpatine), which secretly hurts Auggie.
After picture day, Melissa looks over the class picture. She takes a glance at August and wonders if he is the person that Julian dislikes. Julian explains that he has been getting nightmares because of August. Melissa photoshops the photo and persuades him to not think about Auggie.
Julian continues to insult August by calling him nicknames such as "Zombie Boy" and "Freak". He developed a ridiculous game called The Plague, which means anyone who touches or makes contact with August will get the "cooties".
One day, Julian realizes that his best friends, Miles, Henry, and Amos already had girlfriends, Ximena, Savannah, and Ellie. Julian felt left out because he was still single. He starts having a crush on Summer Dawson(who never liked him) and convinced Savannah to invite Summer to her Halloween party.
On Halloween, Julian dresses up as Palpatine. He and his friends continue to insult August with Jack Will in tow. August overhears the unkind remarks and cries thereafter, thinking that Jack was pretending to be his friend for Julian. Jack later regrets on being rude to August and joining Julian's group. Later on Halloween night, Julian is having fun at Savannah's party. Savannah and Henry convince Summer that everyone likes her, thinks that she's very pretty, and to betray August for Julian. Summer does not accept Julian, realizing they were arranging a date for her and secretly leaves the party.
On Thanksgiving Break, Julian and his parents went to Paris, France to visit his Grandmere, Sara Blum. He mentions to Jack that he hated it. Jack tells Julian about how much fun he and his brother, Jamie had with their new sled(which belonged to Miles) at the Skeleton Hill. An unimpressed Julian criticizes the hill as an old burial for Native Americans and having lots of trash left their. Jack feels embarrassed.
One week before winter break, Jack was arranged partners with August for the upcoming Science Fair. Julian convinces Jack to change partners with him, but Jack refuses. Jack runs away from Julian as Julian chases him, angerly. Jack punches Julian on the mouth with his teeth knocked out. Julian is sent to an ambulance with his parents later appearing. Julian explains the commotion and accuses Jack for having emotional issue and for befriending August.
On winter break, Julian's mother, Melissa, hosts a party and invites most of the 5th grade kids and their parents. Julian announces that all must turn against Jack and August after what Jack had done. Melissa wants to fire Mr. Tushman for not letting August take an enrollment test and for not making it an inclusion school(a school that welcomes normal kids and kids with learning differences and special needs). Almost everyone agrees with their debates.
Later after winter break, most of the boys side with Julian and avoid Jack. This marks the start of "The Boy War". In this "war", all the boys had to make a decision to side with Jack, Julian, or remain neutral. Julian's side was more popular than Jack's side. Some boys were neutral. All of the girls were neutrals except for Savannah, Ellie, Ximena, and Gretchen, who all were on Julian's side. Julian and his friends and supporters targeted Jack and Auggie with pranks, fights, and worst of all, mean notes. As the "war" went on however, more students left Julian's side to join Jack's side or become neutrals. The students even got used to August's face and didn't treat it like "The Plague". Only Henry and Miles remained on Julian's side.
Julian would write offensive notes to hurt Jack and August, but his enemies wrote notes back as if a weird crush was writing them. The notes were later reported to Mr. Tushman and Dr. Jensen. Julian and his parents were sent to Dr. Jensen's office. Mr. Tushman and Dr. Jensen discussed that the school had a strict bullying policy and the consequences that Julian had to receive. Melissa was enraged for accusing her and her son, as Julian's father(who shared the same name) was also disappointed. Julian received a two-week suspension and was unable to attend the Nature Retreat. He was arranged to take therapy and counseling for his cruel actions and to write an apology to Auggie. Mr. Albans later blamed Melissa and Julian for what they had done wrong and planned to take Julian out of Beecher Prep and to another school.
Julian remained home during his suspension, though it wasn't as bad as he thought. He caught up with his homework and had more nightmares again. When suspension was over, Julian was excited to return to school, only nobody was really happy to see him. He noticed that everyone acknowledged August more than Julian! Julian felt alone and heard about the events from the nature retreat. Julian continued to mistreat August and later skipped the graduation ceremony.
On summer's arrival, Julian and his parents returned to Paris to visit his grandmere, Sara Blum. Originally the family was supposed to return to New York and attend rock-and-roll camp with Henry and Miles, but Julian didn't want to go after all what happened. Julien was usually unhappy to visit Sara. However this time, Julian enjoyed his stay with his grandmother. He could play his video games whenever he wanted to! When he spent time with Sara, the two would visit museums, go to a restaurant, or watch movies together. One day Julian visits the Notre Dame Cathedral and sees a gargoyle statue, which reminds him of Auggie all over again. Julian then gets a postcard and writes his summer precept Mr. Browne had assigned his class to do. He writes about that he will transfer schools and why he hated Beecher Prep. Mr. Browne writes back and apologizes for Julian's unhappy year. He asks if it he was being wrongful and how he should've done a do-over or reform from his deeds.
Sara looks over Julian's email and wonders why Julian had a bad year. Julian confesses about how he was enemies with August, Jack, and later Henry and Miles, and saying that the rest of the school doesn't care about him anymore. Sara feels sorry for her grandson and tells her story on how she was selfish to another boy, named Julien Breumeir. She recalls on how she and the other children her age insulted him because Julien was crippled and had polio. Until World War II arrived, the Nazis invaded France and planned to eliminate the Jewish people along with others in Europe(Sara and her family were Jewish, but they were not religious). Sara refused to escape from her school until Julien saved her and protected her in his home. His parents were always kind and provided her with food and warm clothes. Sara later became Julien's best friend and later fell in love with each other. Sara mentioned that Julien had a crush on her and the two later had a romantic moment. All that changed when the Nazis arrested Julien for his disabilities and was perished because of it. Julian felt very sorry for her grandmother and confessed that he was the bully who wrote mean notes, called August a "freak", laughed at his face, and for being hateful to him. Julian finally realized that he needed to do what was right. He emailed August an apology for all the terrible things he did.
Julian's parents later returned to take him home to New York. They announced that they would sue Beecher Prep for what Mr. Tushman had done. Both Julian and Sara were surprised and angry at them. Sara confronted to Mr. Albans that his son had finally realized what he done wrong and demanded Mr. Albans to not sue the school. Mr. Albans refused to listen to his mother, until Sara foretold her past(which she actually never mentioned before). Mr. Albans and Melissa finally start to regret on what they and withdrawal their plan. The Albans later travel to Sara's home village and visit the barn where she used to stay. They find a gravestone that honor Julien and his parents. After their visit, the Albans bid goodbye to Sara and return to New York. Julian is still scared to talk to August but he does not hate him anymore.
White Bird: A Wonder Story
Julian has a smaller role on White Bird. He is seen to talk to his grandmother for a family assignment that his new school foretold. He mentions that he enjoys his new school, but still feels bad about last year(when he bullied Auggie). Julian hears more details about his grandmother's story back in WWII. He is later reminded to always spread a light of kindness wherever he goes. Julian is later seen to join a protest on saving innocent families that were chosen from Donald Trump's "Zero Tolerance" Policy.
Julian was named after Julien Breumier along with his father.
Julian is seen to have slightly long hair in the cover of The Julian Chapter. In the movie and in White Bird, his hair length is shorter
Julian has appeared in all books except for Pluto and We're all Wonders.
With Julian no longer attending Beecher Prep, he, Sara, Christopher, Via, Miranda, and Justin are the only protagonists that did not attend Beecher Prep.
Julian was the only notable student in his side to not have a date.
In the film, Julian was only given a two-day suspension, but he was still unable to go the Nature Retreat. In novel the suspension lasted for two weeks with additional counseling.