Courtesy of Marvel Studios
Not only inspired by the vibrant psychedelic colors and the fast paced action that was crafted in 2018’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse but also breathing in all the different types of urban artwork and street art murals from the 80’s and 90’s that was featured in New York City, a terrific duo from the deep, obscure corners of Marvel Comics is about to come to life through a modern medium of entertainment but with a modern twist that is sure to excite fans of the comic book genre, big and small.
With cartoon-centric animation pushing visual boundaries like never before seen in the last couple of years and in the process capturing people’s attention once again, Disney and Marvel both have decided that now is the time to revitalize Jack Kirby’s original characters of Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur from the 1970’s for the small screen. With the pair now named Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and successfully leaping out of their own modern comic book, super smart preteen Lunella Layafette accidentally pulls a giant horned red-colored Tyrannosaurus Rex out of an intergalactic portal she made while searching for a missing astronaut. Luckily, the massive rampaging dinosaur who is soon nicknamed Devil instantly takes a liking to the intelligent African American girl. They soon turn into a superhero team and take down all of those who wish to torment the citizens of the Lower East Side. Along with the community, the family dynamic takes center stage here too as Lunella’s family members play a major role in specific episodes.
With the high-spirited show wielding a hip hop soundtrack featuring the likes of Childish Gambino and the musical stylings of Diamond White herself, executive producers Laurence Fishburne and Steve Loter held an exclusive virtual press conference with fellow voice actors and actresses on January 25th, 2023 where they discussed many of the creative facets behind the the making of Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Voicing the main character, Lunella Layafette and her best friend and manager, Casey, Diamond White and Libe Barer were in attendance as well as Fred Tatasciore and Gary Anthony Williams who respectively voice Devil Dinosaur and Pops, Lunella’s grandfather.
With more than fifty differently sourced reporters in attendance for this intimate gathering, Mr. Fishburne started off by answering a question regarding the decision to highlight these characters specifically as well as where this animated entry is placed into the overall MCU. The esteemed actor said that as a child he was always interested in iconic Warner Brothers characters such as The Flintstones and Woody Woodpecker. Soon enough, along came comics and all the heroes created from Jack Kirby. Skip to the present day and he was lucky enough to have met the right team at the right time. Pertaining to Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur connecting to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even though countless references are made, such as one in the very first episode where Lunella namedrops the Avengers and how they are too busy to deal with the Lower East Side, this new animated rendition of New York City is only complimentary to the big screen hero world and not directly attached.
Nobody was dismayed by that statement though as the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur screener episodes provided to participants gave some much needed refreshed looks to characters that might just look a bit outdated. Originally becoming popular in the 1980’s Secret Wars storyline, The Beyonder is now more creepy than ever before with a pencil-thin outline, teal streaked hair and dark orange skin. If he doesn’t sarcastically snap you out of literal existence, the mischievous intergalactic being will instead mesmerizingly sing you the most creative of bops that echo his plans of destroying our world. Voiced by Laurence Fishburne himself, the Beyonder’s theme song is definitely an aspect of this show you don’t want to miss.
Also as a surprising sort of Easter egg, Aftershock is the villain of the first episode. Causing constant power outages to Lunella’s neighborhood, her presence is quite the homage to Spiderman’s world because she is none other than Electro’s daughter.
With certain questions aimed at Diamond White and Libe Barber during the media junket, they fairly connected themes of diversity and empowerment to Moon Girl. Not only stating that this show will push girls of color to make a positive change in this world, Ms. Diamond saw a reflection of herself in the episode “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” that featured Lunella fighting against her own hair. Her cultural background puts a strong emphasis on treating your hair right away and at times, Diamond’s hair has tried to become her worst enemy. Citing Moon Girl’s smarts, Ms. Barber wants to end the preconceived notion that higher intelligence is not socially attractive and that there is no reason why nerd culture cannot be cool.
Answering an interesting inquiry about Devil’s own communication skills, Fred Tatasciore weaned down the ending of the press conference by saying that it has been an a beautifully artistic challenge trying to bring to life a red horned dinosaur who doesn’t speak English but needs to exhibit sounds that the audience can decipher to be word-like. He says the language of articulation helped create a bridge between roars, grumbles and understandable notions.
Closing out the meeting between the press and the producers, Fishburne excitedly proclaimed his excitement over being renewed for a second season even before the first episodes have yet to be aired. He physically shoots his hand in the air with a resounding “Yes!” and then explains that there is always more story to tell surrounding Moon Girl and especially the antagonist that he brings to life, The Beyonder.
With that, the conference came to a close. As much as a preview is enjoyable, fans of the superhero genre don’t have to wait long for full episodes to air as Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur premieres on the Disney Channel on February 10th and then to the streaming platform Disney Plus on February 15th.