Disney’s adding Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Donnie Yen to their live-action remake of Mulan. The Mouse House is in the business of franchises and remakes right now, and that means steamrolling through their animated film catalogue. After a number of successful ventures like Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book, they have a full slate lined up. One of those live-action remakes will be Mulan, a movie at one point scheduled to hit theaters this year.
The remake will be directed by McFarland, USA‘s Niki Caro. She’s been paired up with Chinese star Liu Yifei, who takes on the role previously voiced by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Ming-Na Wen. Now it appears Disney’s starting to bolster the supporting cast.
Related: Disney Moves Mulan to 2020
Deadline reports that Disney is bringing Chinese action star Donnie Yen aboard. He is said to be playing a mentor/teacher-style character named Commander Tung, who is a brand new character created for this adaptation. This marks a return to Disney for Yen after previously starring as Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One.
The addition of Yen is an excellent grab for Mulan as it marks another marketable lead overseas. While domestic audiences may only know Yen from Rogue One, he’s an established star in China – which is sure to be a huge market for Mulan already. He’s most known for his Ip Man franchise, one that just started filming the fourth installment.
Based on Yen’s abilities and the the character description, he should have no problem bringing Commander Tung to life. Yen is an exceptional martial artist, and his casting here all but guarantees Tung will get one or two standout moments. One does have to wonder though if the creation of Tung is to add more story to Mulan, as her only real mentor in the animated movie is through the dragon Mushu. If he is a mentor figure, could he fill the fallen mentor role that so many heroic stories entail?
With casting reportedly gearing up, there’s still plenty of big roles to be filled. Assuming Disney isn’t changing up the supporting cast too heavily for the live-action take, the role of Li Shang should be the biggest male role left. But, they are also sure to include a few of the macho friends Mulan makes, and someone will need to play the villain Shan-Yu. Plus, there’s the voice-role of Mushu left to be filled (if Eddie Murphy isn’t being brought back, that is). Based on who has joined so far, it looks like Mulan is shaping up nicely.
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