Connect with us
'Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' voice actors and producers discuss the magic of Lunella Lafayette

Interviews

‘Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur’ voice actors and producers discuss the magic of Lunella Lafayette

This important and stunningly animated series debuts on Disney Channel on February 10th, 2023.

There’s an iconic new superhero on the block, and her name is Lunella Lafayette, a 13-year old genius who goes by the superhero name Moon Girl when she is fighting crime alongside her partner Devil Dinosaur on the streets of New York City. The upcoming animated series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is set to debut on the Disney Channel on February 10th, 2023, and AIPT got the exciting opportunity to interview the shows voice cast and creators alongside other outlets during a media day event.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is inspired by the 2015 comic of the same name – created by writers Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder and artist Natacha Bustos – and follows Lunella and Devil Dinosaur as they battle villains attempting to destroy their neighborhood, learn important lessons about family and identity, and sing a whole bunch of epic songs.

Executive producer Laurence Fishburne (who has appeared in two Marvel movies himself, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer as the voice of the titular Surfer, and Ant-Man and The Wasp as Dr. BIll Foster) was inpsired to pitch the exciting new animated series after reading the original comic, and worked alongside executive producer Steve Loter (Kim Possible) to bring the series to life.

The voice cast includes amazing talent like Diamond White (Empire, The Bold and The Beautiful) who voices Lunella, Fred Tatasciore (Teen Titans Go!, Ben 10) as the snarling Devil Dinosaur, Libe Barer (Sneaky Pete, Duck Tales) as Lunella’s best friend and newly created character Casey, and Gary Anthony Williams (The Boondocks, Central Park) who voices Lunella’s grandfather Pops. The show also features exciting guest actors like Alison Brie, Andy Cohen, Daveed Diggs, Maya Hawke, Jennifer Hudson, Method Man, Cobie Smulders, Wesley Snipes and much more.

This brand-new interview includes comments from several members of the cast and crew, including:

Laurence Fishburne (EP / “The Beyonder”)

Steve Loter (EP)

Diamond White (“Lunella Lafayette”/“Moon Girl”)

Fred Tatasciore (“Devil Dinosaur”)

Libe Barer (“Casey”)

Gary Anthony Williams (“Pops”)

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

Marvel

This interview has been lightly edited, for reader clarity.

New York City is such a big character in so many Marvel comics properties, like in their film and television counterparts. I was curious if you can talk about the specific version of New York City that you are depicting in “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur”?

Steve Loter: Absolutely, yeah. I grew up in New York, uh, in the 80s and 90s in that zone. And I was there kinda at the beginning of graffiti art, and it was New York prior to gentrification, so I was there at kind of the perfect time where creativity, uh, imagination, and just music, art, and poetry, and books was still very vibrant and alive in New York. And I wanted to make sure that we could capture that in the show. ‘Cause I’ve seen New York misrepresented in a lot of animated properties, so I had to make sure it was accurate.

So we relied on a lot of New York kinda artistic benchmarks — the Andy Warhol silk screening process, um, Basquiat graffiti art, street art murals — to kind of find the flavor of New York we wanted to capture. ‘Cause I knew that I had to get it right ’cause if I didn’t, I couldn’t go back to New York. They wouldn’t allow me back in. So I had to make sure I did it right.

This question is for Diamond (voice of Lunella Lafayette). You bring so much life and vibrancy to Lunella. She’s such an icon. And I was wondering, how much of yourself do you see in this character?

Diamond White: A lot of myself. I grew up being African American and when I was 13 actually, not when I was 13. When I was seven, all I wanted was a character like this to come to life. So it’s cool to have someone of my skin tone and of my hair texture really be there. The representation is…it means a lot to me.

This question is more directed towards Steve and Laurence, but I’m curious what everybody has to think about this, as well. The animation in this is so powerful, and it pops and it definitely caters to that action. But how did you guys decide on the design for the show to make sure it not only contributed to the action but also the culture that’s being represented in this show, as well?

Steve Loter: Well, I think that we wanted to make sure that we were doing something unique. SpiderVerse was a huge inspiration for us. It really kinda blew the doors wide open to do superhero animation that looked really specialized and unique. Laurence and I connected early, and we kinda talked about the vision of the show and what it should look like. And Laurence is a huge comic book fan, so we used that as kind of a springboard for the visual styling, particularly the linework on the characters and the overall look of the show.

Laurence Fishburne: Yeah, we had a lot of conversations about backgrounds and about the environment, the color palette, and all of these kinda textures. Like you guys talked about the graffiti, for example, as one of the elements in our backgrounds and textures, for New York and the Lower East Side. So it was all those things plus, I mean, we are people who really, really love animation, from, you know, the very beginning of our lives, I think. And so, it’s just kind of a joy for us to be, you know, creating this kind of show which, as Diamond said, is, you know, a show like we’ve never seen before.

The episode “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” is my favorite just because it has so much to say about the significance of hairstyle in Black culture and identity. So I wanted to ask what was it like making that episode? What went into the process of making it? And I guess for Diamond, like, what was that like for you in terms of, like, the reallife connection to [that episode]?

'Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' voice actors and producers discuss the magic of Lunella Lafayette

Marvel

Diamond White: Well, definitely I’ve experienced, you know, 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, like, bring my voice to that episode because I…I needed to see that. And my younger self is just, like, thriving right now, so thank you guys.

Steve Loter: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we currently have an allfemale writing room, a very diverse writing room. So a lot of Lunella’s stories in this are based on reallife experiences that our writers have experienced and have put it, you know, now through the lens of Lunella, but it was really important. Authenticity was primary, for sure.

My question is for Laurence and Steve but happy to have anyone hop in. Aftershock [Alison Brie] is such a timely and terrifying embodiment of gentrification as a villain. I’m wondering if you can talk about the development of this villain and why it was important that this was the first villain that Lunella faced in the TV show.

Steve Loter: Oh, absolutely. Fish, should I, should I take this?

Laurence Fishburne: Yeah, please.

Steve Loter: Okay. So, yeah, so being that Aftershock is the first villain in the series, it’s the first real formidable villain that Lunella faces as Moon Girl, um, we really did wanna encapsulate a lot about kinda what the mission statement, uh, was of the series is the one girl makes a difference storyline which is super important. So that to have this character coming into the Lower East Side sapping it of its energy a lot of, you know, proverbial notions there, basically it is a statement about gentrification.

It’s a statement about losing community and neighborhood and connection. So yeah, it was really important for Aftershock to kinda be the conduit no pun intended for that kind of story. Um, but yeah, totally intentional. And it’s the daughter of Electro, so that’s always fun, too. So, uh, yeah, but that was, that was the reasons why Aftershock was definitely had to be our first villain.

'Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur' voice actors and producers discuss the magic of Lunella Lafayette

Marvel

Hi, you guys. This question is for Fred Tatasciore. How difficult and funny was it being [the voice of] Devil Dinosaur?

Fred Tatasciore: Difficult and funny, well, those are good – those are good words for it. Uh, it’s a beautiful, artistic challenge because it’s I feel like I’m showing up with this broken saxophone instrument. And we know the traditional sounds are what we think of dinosaurs of being (roars and snorts) you know, and the scariness, and the bigness, and he’s a force of nature. But then, we wanted to try to figure out what’s the language of his heart and articulation with Lunella? And so we had to really work together, to find it without going to the other direction.

And it was, umso it ends up being very comical now the difficulty is, of course, the physicality of doing it and that’s okay. That‘s just part of the job. But the humor comes from just the weird (makes dinosaur noises) you know, and (makes dinosaur noises). We will start with a long sentence and then sort of reduce it down to four sounds, you know?

And I’m of course aided with great animation and emojis, you know, to illustrate some points. So yeah, it is funny and it’s really great when you get to the sweet parts of, like, I love you and (makes dinosaur noises) I’m worried about you (makes dinosaur noises). You know, like, things like that. Things you wouldn’t think normally that something like that would speak, so it does get silly.

Marvels-Moon-Girl-and-Devil-Dinosaur-3

Marvel

This question is for Laurence Fishburne but anyone that wants to chime in, feel free to chime in. So that Beyonder song has been living rentfree in my head, since I saw the screener. So tell me everything about putting that together, recording that…

Laurence Fishburne: What what are you talking about? I have no idea what you’re no, I’m kidding. I’m kidding. 

Did I dream that?

Laurence Fishburne: Perhaps you did. No, uh, it was great. Uh, you know, we were really fortunate to be able to get Raphael Saadiq onboard as our executive music producer. And Steve, you know, went above and beyond and was able to convince him in 30 seconds, uh, to join us. So you know, I’m slightly embarrassed about how badly I sound. Let’s just put it that way. I’m sorry I’ve been in your head so long.

Fred Tatasciore: It’s so great.

Steve Loter: And it’s a really great example of The Beyonder in action and the mercurial nature and stuff like that. Yeah, Laurence, he took that character to places we couldn’t even dream of. And it was an animators dream to be able to animate to all the peaks and valleys, the highs and lows that Laurence provided for The Beyonder. He’s one of my favorite characters, for sure.

Gary Anthony Williams: I do think you guys should not let it be rentfree in that dude’s head, though. Like, why not charge him, Laurence? Charge that guy every time he hums that song, it’s time – it’s time to go.

My question is for Laurence Fishburne and anyone in the cast. So talking about representation, is the nerd the new cool? Why do you think that now people need to see some more little girls as genius, as mathematic masters, and without the fear to be (inaudible) for that?

Laurence Fishburne: Yeah, well, I I’ve always thought that, um, it was smart to be cool. No. I’m sorry. I always thought it was cool to be smart.

Gary Anthony Williams: I like both. Go back to that other one.

Laurence Fishburne: Yeah. And it doesn’t matter what your gender, what your color, what your faith, what country you live in. I’ve always thought that it was really, really cool to be smart. Um, and I think it’s just, you know, important for us to have this kind of representation because you can’t be what you can’t see. So if more young girls of color get to see an experience of a person like Lunella, then perhaps, they won’t be afraid to show their intelligence and to lead with their intelligence, you know? I think it’s just a good thing to do.

What does it mean to each of you to be a part of a show that is so powerfully progressive and so just absolutely wonderful, in general?

Diamond White: Well, for me, it’s just I mean, we made history being Marvel’s first teenage Black girl superhero. So it’s important to see that kind of representation. I mean, like I said, it’s a show that I needed growing up and I feel like it really does make a difference. Like, like the show says, one girl can make a difference. This show is going to make a difference in a lot of people’s lives, so I’m just excited to be a part of it.

MARVEL'S MOON GIRL AND THE DEVIL DINOSAUR

Marvel

My question’s for Gary. Uh, a lot of superheroes, you know, only have, like, an uncle or an aunt or something like that. But Lunella has such a tight family unit. Was it fun to kinda play into that wholesome entire family dynamic?

Gary Anthony Williams: Aw, it’s the best. Um, and I know Libe and I have been working together all day, so she’s heard me say this a million times, but I grew up in a huge family. I have six sisters, two brothers, mom and dad and then my grandmother was always there. My cousins were always there.

So 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 and 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 could he could have sold that out but he kept it for the community there, soit’s such a cool part to play. And I’m glad that I leg wrestle Laurence Fishburne in one oh, by the way, if anybody wants to audition, you have to leg wrestle Laurence Fishburne and he is not an easy win.

[Comment from media outlet] I noticed all the trans flags on Indya Moore’s I think Jennifer was the character water bottle. And as a trans writer, I really appreciated that. We need more rep.

There were a lot of great Marvel Easter eggs in the series, can you share what your favorite was? Mine was personally the reference to Battleworld.

Steve Loter: I always like to say complementary to the MCU because

Laurence Fishburne: Yes.

Steve Loter: …there’s a couple of you’ll see a couple of MCU characters in the film, in the show. But also you’ll see that some of the characters we have in there are really deep cuts in Marvel Comics, like you really gotta kinda dive into to actually find. Like, oh my gosh, they used this character from this run of one comic in the 70s.

We love doing that, um, because we always find the right character to fit the right thematic element for that episode. There’s a lot of easter eggs, um, not just in backgrounds like you noticed, they’re all over the place, even in some dialogue, in some other places. Just stay tuned. Make a list, um, ‘cause yeah, yeah, there’s quite a few, ’cause we’re big fans, too.

Big thanks to Marvel, Disney, and the Cast & Creators of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur for this wonderful, enlightening interview.

Make sure to check out Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur when it debuts February 10th, 2023 on the Disney Channel followed by Disney+. 

Join the AIPT Patreon

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!
Sign up today
Comments

In Case You Missed It

Gotham by Gaslight: The Kryptonian Age #1's cover Gotham by Gaslight: The Kryptonian Age #1's cover

‘Gotham by Gaslight: The Kryptonian Age’ #1 veers away from Gotham

Comic Books

X-Men Monday #255 - The Jordan D. White X-It Interview X-Men Monday #255 - The Jordan D. White X-It Interview

X-Men Monday #255 – The Jordan D. White X-It Interview

Comic Books

EXCLUSIVE: 'Epitaphs from the Abyss' #3 and 'Cruel Universe' #2 scares up impressive creatives EXCLUSIVE: 'Epitaphs from the Abyss' #3 and 'Cruel Universe' #2 scares up impressive creatives

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Epitaphs from the Abyss’ #3 and ‘Cruel Universe’ #2 scares up impressive creatives

Comic Books

X-Men Monday Call for Questions: Jed MacKay & Ryan Stegman for 'X-Men' #1 X-Men Monday Call for Questions: Jed MacKay & Ryan Stegman for 'X-Men' #1

X-Men Monday Call for Questions: Jed MacKay & Ryan Stegman for ‘X-Men’ #1

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup