With Disney Channel’s Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, Marvel is aiming to bring to introduce young audiences to characters they otherwise may not have heard of. (That is, unless they’ve been playing Marvel Snap over the last few months.) It’s a show very different from prior Marvel cartoons, both in terms of its visual style and in its titular heroes, 13-year-old Lunella Lafayette and her pet dinosaur Devil.
Disney provided io9 with an exclusive featurette for Moon Girl, which recently held a red carpet event for the first episode ahead of its TV debut. (It must be said that with a live DJ and roller skating, that looks like the most fun premiere in ages.) In it, the cast and crew all talked about the different aspects of what makes the show so delightful in a way that (hopefully) resonates with audiences on a weekly basis. For Gary Anthony Williams, who plays Pops, attributed the show’s greatness to its animation, saying “nothing on television in cartoons that looks like this thing.”
Both he and executive producer Steve Loter gave particular due to Raphael Saadiq, Moon Girl’s composer and the man behind its catchy theme song. Saadiq is an R&B artist best known for his many hit solo albums throughout the decades (and co-founded the ‘80s group Tony! Toni! Toné!), and he explained that his philosophy with the show’s score was to bring a new sound to young audiences.
“There’s a lot of great voices on the show,” Saadiq said. “I just have to bring the color they’ve already shown to me. I tried to introduce music to kids so when their parents are walking around the house, they hear something they actually like too.” Loter went further, calling him and his music one of the most important parts of the series.
Naturally, they all hope that Lunella as a character resonates with audiences. While she’s another teen hero in the vein of other Marvel stars like Kamala Khan and Peter Parker, she’s got a younger energy all her own, and the show is careful to emphasize the relationship with her family and friends. Libe Barer (Casey) praised the show for putting such a spotlight on Lunella’s female relationships and the dynamic she has with her mother and grandmother. Executive producer Pilar Flynn echoed that sentiment, saying that Lunella shows that “Women can be more than just one thing. We can be super smart, we can love dinosaurs, and we can be superheroes!”
The show also has the distinction of being Marvel’s first animated series starring a black girl. Both the staff and guests on the red carpet were keyed into how significant that makes the show, particularly for younger audiences. The importance of Lunella as a character and what she offers is something Loter and everyone else involves hopes gets recognized over the course of the show’s first two seasons. “It’s really important to put out the message that one girl can make a difference,” said Loter.
Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur will air weekly episodes starting tomorrow, February 10, on Disney Channel, followed by Disney+ beginning February 15. We talked to the cast, Loter, and supervising producer Rodney Clouden earlier in the week, which you can read here.
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