Two new superheroes are rolling onto screens this week in one of the most artful and jazzy new shows of the season: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur on the Disney Channel and Disney+ is adapted from a Marvel comic, but taps a whole new side of that universe by focusing on a brilliant young Black girl and her red-scaled lizard.
“The most important part of this show is the inclusiveness,” said Fred Tatasciore, who voices the 10-ton T-Rex on the show. “Here’s this woman of color who is a nerd and brilliant and science is good and she becomes this force of nature.”
Hundreds of artists at Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, along with colleagues in Australia and Spain collaborated on the traditional 2-D style look of the show, informed by the heavy lines and screen-printed colors of classic comic books. “The animation and the style is very Banksy and Basquiat,” adds Tatasciore, who previously voiced Darth Vader and the Incredible Hulk for Disney. “The street art from New York has such a different look.”
Producers, including Lawrence Fishburne, were able to recruit some A-list talent for the series. including Alfre Woodard and Jennifer Hudson to voice characters on the show, as well as the first Black woman astronaut, Mae Jemison. Music stars like Daveed Diggs, from Hamilton, and Raphael Saadiq, an original member of Tony! Toni! Toné!, are also performing new songs on the series.
“We could make the show next-level with A+ talent,” said producer Pilar Flynn. “Once they heard our mission and our goal, they were in.”
Flynn says she is proud of the cast and crew coming together to tell this diverse story.
“We have women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community behind the scenes,” Flynn said. “We wanted to layer in culture and creativity and authenticity.”
The comic has been published since 2015, and fans have already started dressing up as their heroes. Flynn can’t wait for more kids to be inspired by the message of Moon Girl.
“It’s about self-empowerment and how you can become your own superhero,” she tells LAMag. “To be a little girl in South America and say I wanted to come to America to make movies seemed like such a distant dream. This is a love letter to people everywhere who think their voices can’t be heard. This show is a representation that anything is possible.”
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