“You'll see a couple of MCU characters in the show, but also you'll see that some of the characters we have in there are really deep cuts in Marvel Comics,” Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur executive producer Steve Loter revealed during a recent press conference to promote the series. The action kicks off tonight at 8/7c on Disney Channel, with the first batch of episodes rolling onto Disney+ on February 15th. Whether you’re new to Marvel or the biggest fan with a weekly pull list, the show offers something for viewers of all ages. “Animation is for everybody, and we wanted to make sure that this show was four-quadrant; That's an industry term which basically means it's for everybody. It's for parents and kids, and grownup kids that may not have kids. It was really important for us to make sure that this show got everyone's attention and everyone enjoyed it.” But if you are a diehard Marvel fan, Steve recommends starting a list of all of the Marvel easter eggs and references sprinkled throughout the series, ranging from the obvious to the incredibly obscure.
Among the many sources of inspiration behind the series was Sony Animation’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which broke the mold in terms of the diversity of visual styles that could be achieved in animation. Steve Loter grew up in the Lower East Side of New York City in the ‘80s and ‘90s and drew from multiple vibrant city styles of the era, including Andy Warhol’s silk screen process, Jean-Michel Basquiat’ graffiti art, and more. “It was New York prior to gentrification, so I was there at kind of the perfect time where creativity, imagination, music, art, poetry, and books were still very vibrant and alive in New York,” Steve said. In the premiere episode, titled “Moon Girl Landing,” the first villain Lunella Lafayette faces off against is representative of the gentrification that changed the version of NYC that Steve is nostalgic for. “To have this character coming into the Lower East Side sapping it of its energy, a lot of proverbial notions there. Basically, it is a statement about gentrification. It's a statement about losing community and neighborhood and connection. It was really important for Aftershock to be the conduit, no pun intended, for that kind of story. And it's the daughter of Electro, so that's always fun, too.”
One of the driving forces behind Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is Emmy and Tony-winning actor Laurence Fishburne, who serves as an executive producer in addition to voicing The Beyonder, which gave him the opportunity to sing in the series. “We were really fortunate to be able to get Raphael Saadiq onboard as our executive music producer,” Laurence Fishburne explained. With the show’s first soundtrack launching today on streaming platforms, fans can hear the song “The Beyonder” ahead of its appearance in an upcoming episode of the same name. “I’m slightly embarrassed about how badly I sound,” the actor modestly apologized, with the rest of the panelists surprised by his self-deprecation and in total disagreement. “It's a really great example of The Beyonder in action and the mercurial nature and stuff like that,” Steve Loter defended Fishburne’s performance. “Laurence, he took that character to places we couldn't even dream of. And it was an animator's dream to be able to animate all the peaks and valleys, the highs and lows that Laurence provided for The Beyonder. He's one of my favorite characters, for sure.”
“My younger self is just thriving right now,” gushed singer and actress Diamond White, who voices Lunella Lafayette, aka Moon Girl. The series’ fifth episode, “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow,” finds Lunella trying to chemically alter her beautiful curly hair, accidentally turning it into a supervillain called Mane. “I've experienced someone calling my hair frizzy or messy, and that's why it was important for me to see the episode where Lunella gets her hair straightened, the perm episode. That touched my soul in a place where it was like, yeah, I've been through this. And your hair really does become your enemy. Growing up Black, your hair becomes your enemy. So, it's really cool to see that play out, and that's something that I've never seen on television before. I thank everyone on the team for allowing me to bring my voice to that episode because I needed to see that.”
Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur quickly sets itself apart from other superhero shows. One of the big ways the mold is broken is in Lunella’s family dynamic. Unlike Peter Parker, Tony Stark, or Peter Quill, Lunella Lafayette’s world is filled with love from bother her parents, plus her grandparents who live with them. “I have six sisters, two brothers, mom and dad, and then my grandmother was always there,” revealed Gary Anthony Williams, who voices Pops, Lunella’s grandfather. “To get to show that whole family unit, literally the way that I grew up, except for down South, to get to be a part of that heart and love that comes from my character, Pops, who's Lunella's granddad, and also just a huge fan of Moon Girl, even though he doesn't know it's the same person, that means everything to me. Like that rock there for his family, that true love that he has for his family and also, the community. That skate rink that he owns, he could have sold that out, but he kept it for the community there. It's such a cool part to play.”
Shattering superhero stereotypes side-to-side, Moon Girl is about to rollerskate her way into your life in a big way. Disney already greenlit a second season of the series ahead of it’s premiere tonight. “What a great feeling because we knew we had more stories to tell,” Steve Loter concluded. “As Season 1 goes on, the story gets more serialized. You see an antagonist kind of rise up from the background. And we just felt like there was so much story to tell. I mean, we're hoping for past Season 2 because we feel like Lunella Lafayette has a lot more stories to tell.”
Lunella Lafayette’s story begins tonight at 8/7c on Disney Channel in the premiere episode of Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Below is the broadcast schedule through the end of the month and Disney+ subscribers will be able to stream the first wave of episodes on Wednesday, February 15th.
- Friday, February 10th at 8/7c pm – “Moon Girl Landing”
- When brilliant, altruistic Lunella Lafayette accidentally brings a dinosaur to the Lower East Side, she finally has the brawn to match her brains and protect her community. Alison Brie (GLOW) guest stars as Aftershock, Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghosts) guest stars as Anand, and Michael Cimino (Love, Victor) guest stars as Eduardo.
- Saturday, February 11th at 10/9c am – “The Borough Bully”
- When Lunella finds a nasty comment on her Moon Girl social media page, her fixation on the troll threatens to take over her life. Josh Keaton (Voltron: Legendary Defender) guest stars as Angelo.
- Saturday, February 18th at 10/9c am – “Run the Rink”
- When Lunella runs the rink for a night, she agrees to Casey’s get-rich-quick scheme, which threatens Moon Girl’s reputation and her family’s beloved business.
- Saturday, February 18th at 10:30/9:30c am – “Check Yourself”
- When Lunella loses a game of chess against a supercomputer, her obsession with winning drives the frustrated computer to program every device in the school to attack her. Asia Kate Dillon (Billions) guest stars as LOS-307, and Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine) guest stars as Principal Nelson.
- Saturday, February 25th at 10/9c am – “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow”
- When Lunella creates a chemical to change her hair, she accidentally turns her mane into a vengeful villain that vows to ruin her. Jennifer Hudson (Respect) guest stars as Mane.
- Saturday, February 25th at 10:30/9:30c am – “The Beyonder”
- The Beyonder gloms onto Lunella to learn about humanity, just as she’s struggling to win a big science competition. Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix trilogy) guest stars as The Beyonder.