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Mulan Live-Action Remake: Everything We Know

Mulan Live-Action Remake

22 years after the release of Disney's animated classic, Mulan, a new live-action version will arrive. The story of Mulan is certainly ripe for retelling, especially in the current political and social climate where stories about empowering women need to be told, but Disney's live-action remake has hit many snags along the road; from controversial directorial choices to changes in release schedules. However, production on Mulan -directed by Niki Caro and starring Lui Yifei - is now underway, and that 2020 release date is getting nearer. The movie tells the story of the feisty and determined Mulan, who takes her father's place in the army by masquerading as a man. Here are all the updates you need on Mulan.

  • Release Date: March 27th, 2020
  • Cast: Liu Yifei, Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Jet Li, Yoson An, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Ron Yuan, Jimmy Wong, Doua Moua
  • Director: Niki Caro
  • Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver

Lui Yifei is Live-Action Mulan

Liu Yifei in The Forbidden Kingdom

Disney announced that its live-action remake of Mulan would cast actors of Chinese origin, in contrast to its original animated version, which featured the voices of Jimmy Osmond (singing) and Eddie Murphy, among others. Disney and Niki Caro found their Mulan in Lui Yifei, a Chinese actress who has starred in many Chinese movies, including Outcast, and IP Man 3. She also played a supporting role in the 2008 movie Forbidden Kingdom, which starred Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Mulan will be her first major Hollywood role.

For Mulan, Disney required an actress who was "ethnically Chinese," with credible Martial Arts skills and the ability to speak English. After auditioning over 1000 actors for the role, Yifei landed the part.

The Rest Of The Mulan Live-Action Cast

Mulan will be based upon the original animated classic, meaning there will be several recognizable characters - including Jet Li as The Emperor, Jimmy Wong as Ling and Doua Moua is Po - although most of the announced cast are new figures created for the live-action remake.

Chinese film star Gong Li is Mulan's villain, a powerful witch, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Donnie Yen will play Commander Tung, who is said to serve as a mentor to Mulan when she joins the army disguised as a male. Xana Tang, a Chinese-Vietnamese actress, will play Mulan's sister, another role created for the movie. Utkarsh Ambudkar will play a con artist named Skath and Ron Yuan Sergeant Qiang, the second in command of the Imperial Regiment. Additionally, Yoson An will play Chen Honghui, a member of the Imperial Army who becomes Mulan's ally before evolving into her love interest (this appears to be filling in the role of Li Shang from the animation). Martial arts movie star Jason Scott Lee will play Bori Khan, a deadly warrior determined to avenge his father's death.

Read More: Disney's Live-Action Mulan Casts Jason Scott Lee as a Villain

Niki Caro Directs Mulan

Niki Caro and Jessica Chastain on The Zookeeper's Wife set

Niki Caro will direct the live-action Mulan remake. Caro has worked with Disney before, directing McFarland USA back in 2015, and is also known for helming Whale Rider, The Zookeepers Wife, and North Country. While it's undeniably great that Disney has given Mulan to a female director, many were disappointed that Caro, a New Zealander, was given the job and not an Asian-American or Asian director. Still, Caro is said to be working closely with Chinese cultural consultants, as well as Disney's China-based team.

The Mulan Remake Isn't A Musical

Is the live-action Mulan movie going to be a musical, as its animated counterpart was? Well, no. Sadly, Caro's Mulan has made many changes, and the lack of musical numbers is one of them. That said, after an initial backlash, it was revealed that Mulan will contain music, it just won't form such an integral part of the movie as it did in the animated version. That's bound to be a disappointment for many who were hopeful of a truer adaptation of the original (similar to Beauty and the Beast), but it can also bring the remake closer to the classic story.

Mushu Isn't In Mulan

Mulan and Mushu in Mulan

Not only will there not be songs, Mushu will not be part of the live-action Mulan either. Voiced by Eddie Murphy in the original, Mushu, the little red Chinese dragon (not a lizard), serves as an adviser/encourager to Mulan. While it's easy to appreciate that Caro wants to have a more grounded story, it's definitely going to be weird for fans to have a version of Mulan without Mushu.

Mulan's Production Is Underway

Disney Mulan Li Shang Dishonor

Production on Mulan officially began on August 13 2018, as announced by Disney. Caro later shared a photo to her Instagram of Yifei in costume, standing in front of a cherry blossom tree and a green screen. The image has since been removed, but it clearly showed the movie well underway. Caro's caption, "Reflections", nodded to one of the animation's songs, suggesting that the song will feature in some way.

To mark the start of production, Disney released the first official image of Yifei, along with a synopsis which reads as follows:

Mulan is the epic adventure of a fearless young woman who masquerades as a man in order to fight Northern Invaders attacking China. The eldest daughter of an honored warrior, Hua Mulan is spirited, determined and quick on her feet. When the Emperor issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army, she steps in to take the place of her ailing father as Hua Jun, becoming one of China’s greatest warriors ever.

Related: Mulan Shooting Details

First Look At Lui Yifei As Mulan

Disney Live-Action Mulan Liu Yifei

Many fans were reassured with Disney's first look at Mulan; it's only one image of Yifei as Mulan, but she looks stunning, and a perfect fit for the role. There's a lot riding on Mulan, not only for Caro, but for its all-star Chinese cast, too. For Yifei, this is her first time leading such a big movie, and she'll be wanting to prove her worth. Undoubtedly, her marital arts skills and previous acting experience will put her in good standing to lead one of Disney's most beloved classics.

Read More: Disney's Live-Action Mulan First Look

There is No Mulan Trailer Yet

There is no trailer for the live-action Mulan movie yet; we'll update this page when it is released.

There Is No Mulan Poster Yet

There is no poster for the live-action Mulan movie yet; we'll update this page when it is released.

More Mulan Movie News

More Upcoming Movies

Key Release Dates
  • Mulan (2020) release date: Mar 27, 2020
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