A Guide to Disney’s Live-Action Mulan

February 7th, 2019A Guide to Disney’s Live-Action Mulan

Before we’re through, we’ll make a MULAN fan out of you! Disney’s 1998 animated musical adventure is being remade in live action, and we’re more than ready to see one of our favorite heroines back on the big screen.

The live-action MULAN will tell the story of Hua Mulan (or Fa Mulan, in the original film), who disguises herself as a man in order to take her father’s place in the Imperial Army’s battle against the Huns, in an all-new way. Expect big martial arts action and an incredible cast — and some new characters and surprises.

Here’s everything we know about the live-action MULAN.

Mulan’s Release Date

[Credit: Walt Disney Animation]

MULAN comes to theatres on March 27, 2020. At the moment, the main competition will be from Paramount’s planned new G.I. JOE movie, but that release date could change.

Is There a Live-Action Mulan Trailer?

[Credit: Disney]

Not yet! All we’ve got so far is one official promo image, above, showing Liu Yifei in character as Mulan. That was released on August 13, 2018, when casting was complete. MULAN began shooting in August 2018, and since the film is planned for release in March 2020, we expect to see the first early teaser by spring 2019. The first major footage might not debut until Disney’s D23 convention, which takes place August 23–25.

Will This Version of Mulan Be a Musical?

[Credit: Walt Disney Animation]

Well, maybe. An early report about the movie said it will not be a musical. That caused some fans a lot of distress, because Lea Salonga, who provided the singing voice of Mulan in the original film, was one of the best parts of the movie. But that announcement was almost two years ago, and the director later said, “We’re still exploring the role that music’s going to play in it, but for sure there will be music.”

The Mulan Director

[Credit: Walt Disney Animation]

Part of the reason for the uncertainty about MULAN’s status as a musical or, er, not-musical lies with the sort of film Disney is making. MULAN is being directed by Niki Caro, the acclaimed New Zealand filmmaker whose film WHALE RIDER was a huge critical hit in 2002.

Caro has called MULAN, which is written by Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, “a big, girly martial arts epic.” She went on to describe it as “extremely muscular and thrilling and entertaining and moving.”

All of which sounds great — and like turning the story into a musical could be difficult. It’s not that a big martial arts epic can’t be a musical, but making those elements work together could be very tricky.

So, Is Mushu in the New Mulan?

[Credit: Walt Disney Animation]

As far as we know, Mushu, the scrawny and scrappy little dragon originally voiced by Eddie Murphy, is in the movie. But we don’t know that for certain — and given the type of movie Niki Caro says she wants to make, we wouldn’t be surprised to find that the new MULAN’s Mushu is very different from the original.

Does Mulan Have a New Villain?

[Credit: Walt Disney Animation]

A new villain and a new love interest, yes. Hua Mulan’s fellow recruit Chen Honghui takes the place of Li Shang — or more to the point, the Li Shang character is kind of divided into two. Commander Tung takes up the role of the regiment leader under whom Mulan trains, while Chen Honghui is the soldier she develops feelings for.

And the villain Shan Yu from the original film (above) is replaced by Bori Khan. We imagine the two characters will be pretty similar, but Bori Khan’s alliance with a witch is new.

The Live-Action Mulan Cast

[Credit: Walt Disney Animation]

We’ve already mentioned that Liu Yifei plays Hua Mulan, the daughter of Hua Zhou, who struggles to fit in as a bride ready to be married off. Liu Yifei is a hugely popular film and television actress in China, which almost certainly influenced Disney’s decision to cast her in this movie.

Chen Honghui is played by Yoson An. The character is said to be “confident and ambitious,” and while he and Mulan grow to like one another, their initial relationship is tense and combative.

The incomparable actor and martial artist Donnie Yen plays Mulan’s mentor and commanding officer, Commander Tung. The actor has already been in a Disney film, having appeared in ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY — and of course he has been in innumerable action films in China. He’s an exciting addition.

Also exciting is Gong Li, who plays the villainous witch Xian Lang. And while we’re talking about villains, Jason Scott Lee plays the Hun warrior Bori Khan, who allies with the witch.

Donnie Yen isn’t the only master martial arts actor in the movie, either. Jet Li plays the Chinese Emperor, who sets the story in motion by conscripting young men into his army to fight the Hun forces.

We’ll have a lot more information about MULAN as the film gets closer to release — come back to the AMC® Scene for more news!

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