This past summer at SDCC's annual Women of Marvel panel, Lunella Lafayette, the pre-teen star of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, was confirmed to be the smartest person in the Marvel comic book universe. That’s right: Lunella is smarter than her mostly male, senior geniuses across the board, including Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Bruce Banner and Hank Pym. With two issues to go until Lunella “critical role” in the Marvel universe is revealed, her adventures have taken her on a crash course of scientific sleuthing with a side of dinosaur taming. Along the way, she’s shared pages with other up-and-coming superheroes who have found critical acclaim like Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel. With that in mind, if this fourth-grade Inhuman genius is so critical to the Marvel universe, now it the time to introduce her to an even wider audience
One could argue that Lunella’s story could fit in extremely well as part of her own hit series on ABC, especially as the expertly-crafted pages of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur have already captured the hearts of adults everywhere. The comic, written by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare and illustrated by Natacha Bustos, has been flying off the shelves of comic book stands for in the months since its release. While Lunella could easily fit in with a role on an ABC Inhumans series, for example, perhaps her true calling is an animated show to go toe-to-toe with other current hits on the ever-popular Disney Channel.
Representation is winning with Disney audiences
Elena of Avalor took the summer by storm with its bold, sword-fighting, winged juguar-riding princess and her diverse cast of allies. Disney’s affiliated kids networks, like Disney XD, feature multi-racial heroes in mediums where they might not usually be found, such as the human leads of Star Wars Rebels. In both cases, the shows have gone on record as soaring above and beyond their projected ratings; both shows are so popular that their lead characters have popped up at Walt Disney World, with Elena arriving at Disneyland this November. Any stuffy exec who might protest the success of a young Black girl genius only needs to look at show ratings to see how wrong they would be.
There’s an fandom already waiting
With that in mind, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur already has an audience waiting -- the one that Doc McStuffins left behind. Don’t run away just yet, there’s a history behind this one: Doc McStuffins starred a young Black girl very much like Lunette, but instead of having superpowers, she was a genius veterinarian who took care of animals. The series, which aired on Disney Junior, met its end just last year. Kicking a Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur show into development now is the perfect way to pull the viewers who loved Doc so much back into the fold with a new kind of girl genius, still represented by a person of color. If the outrage that sparked after Doc McStuffins’ cancellation is any indicator, there’s a passionate fan base waiting out there just for Lunette and her scary red dinosaur pal.
Big cameos without the live-action contracts
Again, it would still be awesome to see both Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur brought to life with crazy CGI animation to make the towering red dinosaur seem real. Still, another option could be to serialize an animated (or computer animated) television show to see how the character does with the young audiences who will grow up with her. What’s more, recent Marvel animated shows like Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors had a wide net of possibilities when it came to crossovers and cameos. Lunette interacting with big-name heroes will give credit to the character in a way that kids don’t always get to see when it comes to someone who is actually their age.
Growing with the fan Base
The possibilities of where the character can go after a hit animated series and a hit comic series is almost limitless, if the fan base is dedicated enough. A Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur animated series might inspire a cameo or even a starring role in a future Marvel Cinematic Universe show -- or a feature film. While fan demand isn’t always a determining factor when it comes to who makes it to the big screen (let’s remember that we didn’t get an official “MCU Spider-Man” until this past May), seeing Lunette bridge that gap would feel a lot like Star Wars’ Sam Guerrera making it from The Clone Wars to Rogue One.
There aren’t enough dinosaurs on TV today
Back in the 90’s (hang me for that introduction), you couldn’t flip a channel without a weird alien or a dinosaur drinking coffee and making corny jokes to a live studio audience. Even children’s shows featured dinosaurs and dragons, but today, the world is swamped with ponies, weirdly shaped dancing monsters, and Bratz dolls. Devil Dinosaur’s rogueish charm is perfect for the return of the T-Rex’s dominance of the small screen. Sure, this complaint is a little outlandish, but this combination of Clifford the Big Red Dog and the T-Rex from Jurassic Park would be a memorable sidekick that could surely sell tons of toys.
Whether it happens or not, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has been nothing short of a blast to read so far. Its ties to the main Marvel storyline are greater than most readers imagine, and its unconventional heroine is a prime example of what it means to be an awesome, ambitious, weird little girl in a world full of normal people.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #11 hits the shelves on September 28th.