The recent string of Walt Disney live-action remakes has received a ton of credit for their faithful adaptations of animated classics. Jon Favreau’s THE LION KING was virtually a shot-for-shot interpretation of the original Oscar® winner, and the 2017 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST spared no expense as it brought the tale as old as time to a modern audience.
Some of the live-action remakes have had to make changes, though. Tim Burton’s DUMBO borrows heavily from the 1941 feature film, but had to make updates to improve the story for a contemporary age. Director Niki Caro is hard at work on MULAN, due in theatres in 2020, and she decided that a talking dragon is not a suitable sidekick for her hero, and audiences at D23 got a look at the replacement for Mushu.
That, alone, might be blasphemy for dedicated MULAN fans. In the 1998 film, Eddie Murphy voiced the animated dragon that's regarded as a beloved comedic-relief character by the fan base. Only, in the new movie, Mushu will be replaced by a phoenix that was shown very briefly in a montage of shots that concluded the presentation that director Niki Caro led at the D23 Expo.
This news was hinted at when Disney fan site The DisInsider noticed logos on the sweatshirts being worn by MULAN cast members:
But fans outside of Anaheim have yet to see the phoenix character in any footage. One full trailer for MULAN has been released. The audiences at the D23 Expo, however, were treated to a lot more footage that showed off the epic scale of Niki Caro’s effort. Until that footage makes its way online (or better yet, into a theatre), take in the stunning visuals of the trailer that was released by Walt Disney Studios recently.
Niki Caro’s MULAN stars Liu Yifei as the lead character, the daughter of a proud family who disguises herself as a man so she can join the Imperial Army in place of her father. The cast rounds out with Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li and Jet Li. Such an impressive ensemble!