Disney’s live-action version of its animated classic Mulan will reportedly start production early next year and has its filming locations picked out. With the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast now a bonafide blockbuster, the production of Dumbo underway, and The Lion King and Aladdin coming together with major casting announcements, Disney appears to have a very busy year ahead with respect to its live-action movie slate.

While news of the live-action version of Disney’s animated Mulan adaptation has taken the back seat of late thanks to movement on Disney’s other live-action retellings, things are apparently going to heat up very soon for director Niki Caro’s version of the story of one of China’s greatest female warriors. Disney’s 1998 animated movie featured the voice of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star Ming-Na Wen in the titular role, while Broadway star Lea Salonga sang the character’s songs. The animated Mulan also included the voices of Eddie Murphy, Donny Osmond and George Takei.

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According to industry production tracker My Entertainment World (via Omega Underground), Mulan is set to begin production in January 2018, with filming taking place in China, New Zealand and Australia. Since the production was originally slated to begin this past spring, the confirmation of the new start date will likely come as a relief for fans of the original Mulan who have been waiting for filming to get underway. At Disney’s D23 Expo last month, the Mouse House pushed the release of the film back to sometime in 2019. At current, Disney has a pair of open slots for releases later in that year (November 8 and December 20, 2019), one of which could ultimately go to Mulan.

disney mulan live action director Disneys Live Action Mulan Filming Start Date & Filming Locations

With major building blocks for the production being put into place, fans should expect casting announcements for Mulan relatively soon. Omega Underground says the production put out a casting call for a Chinese actress who could speak both Mandarin and English in late 2016, which falls in line with Caro’s inistance that Mulan must be culturally authentic and have Chinese performers in all the lead roles. Although no casting announcements have been made to date, Wen has expressed interest in joining the film in some capacity.

The film’s casting, whenever that takes place, should be a big indicator of how important music will play a part in the live-action version of Mulan. If the actors they choose are musically-inclined, that will back up Caro’s assertion in April that “there will be music” in the film. Caro addressed the musical aspect of the film after she was initially quoted that there would not be songs in the film, which led to an uproar from fans.

NEXT: Who Should Play the Live-Action Mulan?

Sources: My Entertainment World (via Omega Underground)

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