The wildly colorful action-packed animated comedy, based on the Marvel comics, follows the adventures of a young super-genius and her 10-ton T-Rex as they set out to defend and make a difference in their Lower East Side NY neighborhood; series premieres February 10 on Disney Channel, followed by its streaming debut February 15 on Disney+.
Brainiac superhero Moon Girl and her Devil Dinosaur first appeared back in 2015, when Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, and Natacha Bustoss’ first issue of “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” was published by Marvel Comics. The comic centered around 9-year-old Lunella Lafayette, a young African American girl with brains beyond her years, who loves to invent. The comic picked up from the Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur comics, which were both debuted in the 70s.
More than four decades after Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur, and almost eight years after Lunella’s introduction into the Marvel universe, long-time Moon-Boy comic fan Laurence Fishburne and Kim Possible’s Steve Loter have created their own iteration of the story with the animated television series Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, premiering Friday, February 10 on Disney Channel and Wednesday, February 15 on Disney+.
“We are people who really, really love animation, from the very beginning of our lives,” says Fishburne, a three-time Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actor, most known for his role as Morpheus in The Matrix. “So, it's just a joy for us to be creating this kind of show, which is a show like we've never seen before.”
The wildly colorful and action-packed comedy series from Titmouse and Cinema Gypsy Productions follows the adventures of 13-year-old super-genius Lunella Lafayette and her 10-ton T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur. After Lunella accidentally brings Devil Dinosaur into present-day New York City, the duo works together to protect the city's Lower East Side from danger.
The heartwarming series stars Diamond White as Lunella and Fred Tatasciore as Devil Dinosaur, along with the voices of Libe Barer; Alfre Woodard; Sasheer Zamata; Jermaine Fowler; and Gary Anthony Williams. The all-star season one guest voice cast includes Alison Brie; Andy Cohen; Daveed Diggs; Maya Hawke; Jennifer Hudson; Method Man; Cobie Smulders; and Wesley Snipes.
Fishburne even gets to lend his voice to the show as “The Beyonder.”
As the story goes in the comics, Devil Dinosaur ends up in New York with Lunella after he wanders through a portal from Savage Land after the death of Moon Boy, whose dying wish is for Devil Dinosaur to reclaim the lost Nightstone and avenge his death. But Fishburne and Loter’s series is a conduit for more than epic adventures, heroic missions, and revenge.
The Disney series, which has an all-female writers' room, focuses more on young Black girl empowerment, teaching kids (and adults) it’s cool to be smart; it also shares valuable lessons on socioeconomic challenges like gentrification, or the community disruption that has come to many U.S. neighborhoods like Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York.
In fact, Lunella’s conflict with the show’s first villain, Aftershock, embodies the idea that one girl can make a difference in the face of gentrification. According to Loter, it’s “a statement about losing community and neighborhood and connection.”
But Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is also a show that pays homage to Loter’s time growing up in New York in the 80s and 90s, in the early days of graffiti art, prior to gentrification, where creativity, imagination, music, art, poetry, and books were still the city’s soul.
“Laurence and I connected early and talked about the vision of the show and what it should look like,” shares Loter. “And Laurence is a huge comic book fan, so we used that as a springboard for the visual styling, particularly the linework on the characters and the overall look of the show. Spider-Verse was a huge inspiration for us. It really blew the doors wide open to do superhero animation that looked really specialized and unique.”
But Fishburne and Loter, who serve as not only the creators but also executive producers on the series with Helen Sugland, also relied on a lot of New York artistic benchmarks – such as Andy Warhol’s Step by Step Silk Screening Process and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s graffiti art – to find the “flavor” of New York they wanted to capture.
“We had a lot of conversations about backgrounds and about the environment, the color palette, and all of these textures, like graffiti, for example, as one of the elements in our backgrounds and textures for New York and the Lower East Side,” shares Fishburne. “As a lover of animation and all the great Warner Bros. characters – Super Friends, Hong Kong Phooey, The Flintstones, Woody Woodpecker – my career as an artist has led me to this place.”
Fishburne adds that the show is “multi-quadrant.” In other words, it’s for parents, kids, and grownup kids that may not have kids of their own. Loter notes that since the show is complimentary to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel fans will see a couple of MCU characters in the show, some that are “really deep cuts in Marvel Comics from the 70s.” There are a lot of easter eggs in the background, but also in the dialogue. The producers assure audiences their fandom appetites will be well fed.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has been renewed for a second season before the show’s first season release. Air dates for Season 2 have yet to be announced.