Marvel’s “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur” Has Queer Characters and Literal Black Girl Magic

This review contains mild spoilers for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur season two, and major spoilers for the end of season one.

If you had told me that one of my favorite Marvel properties released in the last two years would be an animated show on Disney (Plus and Channel) about a 13-year-old Black girl science genius from the Lower East Side of Manhattan and her dino sidekick…well, fine, I probably would have believed you. I have a brand, and it’s strong! I like fun animated shows for kids with heart and a dose of reality and humor for adults. Add in a star-studded voice cast (guests include Isabella Gomez, Indya Moore, Asia Kate Dillon, Maya Hawke, Alison Brie, and Robin Thede) and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur was extremely for me!

Having read the 2015 comic series of the same name, I was thrilled when I found out that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur would become an animated series. Season one was everything I could have hoped for, and I’m happy to report that season two somehow exceeded my expectations.

screenshot from moon girl and devil dinosaur featuring lunella and her classmates at the lunch table

If you’re unfamiliar, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur centers around Lunella Lafayette (Diamond White), the aforementioned 13-year-old science genius from the LES. From the jump, the show lets us know that it is about to be Blackity Black Black; Lunella lives in a multi-generational household with her parents and her maternal grandparents, and they all help run the family business — a roller rink called “Roll With It”. Lunella has a top-secret lab in an old subway station under her house where she does all manner of scientific experiments, apparently with her parents none the wiser. In the pilot, Lunella accidentally brings a giant red T-Rex to present-day Manhattan through a portal she created based on her scientist idol Moon Girl’s blueprints, names the dino Devil Dinosaur, dons her own super suit, and the two embark on a mission to protect the city from a variety of dangers and villains-of-the-week.

The show lives in what I’d call MCU-adjacent territory, with off-hand mentions to the Avengers and Thanos, and even multiple appearances by S.H.I.E.L.D’s own Maria Hill (voiced by Cobie Smulders herself). Acknowledging the MCU in these ways allows Lunella’s story to shine without being weighed down by canon expectations, while also leaving fun Easter eggs for nerds like me to geek out over. (Example: There are several blink-and-you-miss-it “616” appearances.) My queendom to somehow get a Moon Girl/Ironheart/Shuri team-up, please! Ahem. Anyway.

Throughout the first season, we see Lunella navigate middle school, explore friendships, defeat multiple foes (including her own sentient hair, voiced by Jennifer Hudson, obviously), and lean heavily on her unique superpower: her brain. The season ends on a cliffhanger with Lunella’s grandma Mimi (Alfre Woodard) revealed as the OMG (original Moon Girl), and Lunella getting yeeted through a portal to another planet.

Season two picks up from that very moment with Lunella and recurring villain turned ally, The Beyonder, on an alien planet trying to get back home. After what seems to her like ages, Lunella makes it back to her lab only to find out that it’s only been two hours for Mimi and her best friend Casey. Lu is relieved to be back with her family, but throughout the premiere we see her experience several flashbacks to her time in space that leave her anxious and fearful to get back into Moon Girl’s shoes.

One of the things this show does so well is remind us that despite being a genius with access to literal S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Lunella is still a kid dealing with the same middle school anxieties that anyone would have. Season one touched on some of that, especially in episode 105 “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” where a comment from a white classmate about Lu’s hair looking “messy” leads her to experiment with creating a relaxer alternative to tame her curls in order to fit in (the sentient hair situation I mentioned earlier). Lunella often turns to science to address social quandaries, but in that instance, a heart-to-heart with her mom Adria (Sasheer Zamata) about loving herself and her hair does the trick.

I love when shows for kids don’t shy away from the very real feelings they experience, even when they’re superheroes! Of course Lunella would feel anxious about suiting up again when the last time she did, she faced a terrifying villain on another planet; of course she’d be insecure about not having traditional powers when her brain couldn’t stop a secret organization from destroying her lab. And the Feelings Fest in season two isn’t always about being a 13-year-old superhero. Sometimes it’s not knowing how to exist at a slumber party, or feeling the pressure to take a date to the school dance even though you know in your heart that you’re not ready; and sometimes it’s fear around experiencing a feeling for the very first time.

Episode 207, “Make It, Don’t Break It!” is an especially powerful example of this when Lunella’s perfectionism and desire to impress a new science teacher (Cynthia Erivo!) results in a panic attack. The visual representation of panic is incredible; it’s one of my favorite episodes of the season.

screenshot from moon girl and devil dinosaur with mimi holding lunella's hands and casey looking on in the background

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not all feelings and after school lessons over here. This show is a ton of fun too! And at the heart of it are Lunella’s relationships with her family and friends. The Lafayette family shenanigans crack me up, and Lu and her extremely enthusiastic best friend Casey share the (mostly) ups and downs you would expect out of any middle school friendship, including having their go-to best friend song. Season two expands Lunella’s world even further with new characters in her neighborhood, new friends, and even a multiverse version of herself called Devil Girl and Moon Dinosaur.

At this point you might be asking yourself, but Nic, is it queer?? Oh reader, it sure is! And it’s queer in one of my favorite ways: casually. Remember BFF Casey? She’s Latine and has two dads. One of Lunella’s classmates, Tai, and the school’s A.I. robot guidance counselor LOS-307 are both nonbinary, and there’s also an openly trans character named Brooklyn. I say that it’s casually queer because there is no storyline specifically involving any of these characters’ identities outside of simply confirming what their pronouns are. The normalcy of these kids just existing as who they are…it makes me so happy.

It might be a show aimed at kids, but with gorgeous visuals reminiscent of Into and Across the Spider-Verse, and a soundtrack with banger after banger, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is a delightful dose of Black Girl Magic that has a little something for everyone.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is now streaming on Disney+.

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Nic is a Senior Product Manager at a major Publisher and lives in Astoria, NY. She is way too attached to queer fictional characters and maintains that buying books and reading books are two very different hobbies. When she's not consuming every form of fiction, you can find her dropping it low on the dance floor. You can find Nic on twitter and instagram.

Nic has written 78 articles for us.


  1. You should mention that Casey is voiced by the absolutely superb Libe Barer who was on Sneaky Pete!!!! Credit where credit is due. It’s a great frigging show and we gotta keep the numbers up so Disney will renew it again, because Disney is supposedly going on a cancelling spree.

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