Two of the original film’s most iconic characters were written out.
The release date for Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Mulan has already been delayed by more than a year, and fans won’t get to see it until March 27, 2020.
Luckily, Disney has finally released the first teaser trailer for the much-anticipated movie, and the reboot looks nothing short of spectacular. It’s time to start getting excited about the live-action remake. Here, everything we know so far:
The teaser trailer.
Disney released the first official teaser trailer for Mulan via Twitter on July 7, 2019. The emotional video gives fans a glimpse of the epic film, and the long journey Mulan must go on to become a warrior.
Niki Caro is the director.
Caro’s resume is beyond impressive, filled with a plethora of acclaimed indie crowd-pleasers, including Whale Rider, North Country, McFarland USAand The Zookeeper’s Wife. Suffice it to say, we can’t wait to see what flare she brings to the live-action Disney adaptation.
The release is scheduled for March 27, 2020.
Originally, the film was scheduled to be released in 2018, but has since been delayed by more than a full calendar year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney’s delay was a result of the year-long search taken to find the right actress for the lead role of Mulan.
Chinese actress Liu Yifei, also known as Crystal Liu, has been cast in the lead role of Hua Mulan.
The process of casting Mulan took time because the studio and production team were focused on casting an ethnically Chinese actress. Reportedly, the process took a team of casting directors to five continents, where they saw nearly 1,000 candidates before casting Yifei.
Besides being one of China’s most popular actresses and appearing in several hit television dramas, Yifei has also acted in a few English-speaking roles, including 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom opposite Jackie Chan and Outcast with Nicolas Cage in 2014.
Li Shang won’t be in the live-action version of the film.
Fans of the original 1998 animated film may be disappointed to learn that the character Li Shang, who is Mulan’s commanding officer and love interest in the cartoon, won’t appear in the live-action adaptation of the film.
The Li Shang-shaped hole in the live-action film will be filled by a character named Chen Honghui, who is described as a member of Commander Tung’s unit who becomes close to Mulan. The new character will be played by New Zealand-based actor Yoson An, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Donnie Yen will play Mulan’s mentor, Commander Tung.
Donnie Yen has just been cast as Commander Tung, described as “a mentor and teacher to Mulan,” according to AV Club. No stranger to Disney, Yen recently appeared in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Gong Li will play the film’s villain.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Gong Li will play the villain of the live-action Mulan, a powerful witch. It’s an interesting departure from the 1998 animated classic, in which the primary antagonist was Shan Yu, the leader of the invading Huns. Li has previously starred opposite Jeremy Irons in Chinese Box as well as the films Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice, and Hannibal Rising.
Jet Li is in final talks to play the emperor of China.
Though nothing official has been confirmed, THR speculates Jet Li may play the powerful emperor of China in the film. The former martial arts star turned Hollywood superstar has appeared in Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die, The Warlords, and The Expendables series.
Chinese-Vietnamese actress Xana Tang will play Mulan’s sister.
New Zealand-based actress Xana Tang will play Mulan’s sister, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Shooting began in August 2018 in China and New Zealand.
The full cast will begin shooting in August of 2018 in China and New Zealand, according to THR.
The live-action version of Mulan won’t be a musical.
One of the most contentious aspects of this remake has been its musical status. Early reports that the film would not be a musical garnered outrage from fans, prompting the film’s director, Niki Caro, to soften the production’s stance on cutting the animated film’s songs. In April 2017, Caro told The Hollywood Reporter, “We’re still exploring the role that music’s going to play in it, but for sure there will be music.”
By January 2020, however, Caro confirmed that the film won’t be a musical.
“We don’t tend to break into song when we go to war,” she told Buzzfeed. “Not saying anything against the animation because the songs are brilliant and if I could squeeze them in there, I would have.”
Anticipating a negative fan reaction, Caro added, “But we do honor the music from the animation in a very significant way, that’s all I’ll say. Fans of the animated classic will find some really iconic moments in this.”
Christina Aguilera has recorded new music for the film’s soundtrack.
While the live-action Mulan won’t be a musical itself, it will still pay homage to the original film’s musical roots. Christina Aguilera, who recorded the pop version of Mulan’s powerful ballad, “Reflection,” has recorded two new songs for the live-action film’s soundtrack: An updated version of “Reflection,” and a new track called “Loyal Brave True.”
The singer announced the news on Instagram in early March 2020, writing, “Hi Fighters! I have two songs, ‘Loyal Brave True,’ and a new reimagined version of ‘Reflection’ on @Disney’s new live action film @Mulan, out March 27th! #Mulan and #Reflection have been such a special part of my life and this film is a beautiful continuation of this legacy.”
“The film Mulan and the song ‘Reflection’ coincided with getting me my first record deal. It’s amazing to come back to such an incredible movie that’s full of power and meaning, and that meaning holds the test of time: staying true to yourself, being who you are, and teaching how to be fearless,” Aguilera said in a statement. “My new song, ‘Loyal Brave True,’ represents the fine balance between vulnerability and strength.”
Listen to “Loyal Brave True” below:
Mushu won’t appear in the live-action version of Mulan.
During her interview with Buzzfeed, Caro also confirmed ongoing speculation that Mulan’s dragon sidekick, Mushu, won’t appear in the new film.
“Not really. I think we can all appreciate that Mushu is irreplaceable, and the animated classic stands on its own in that regard,” she said.