When the new Mulan movie debuts on Disney+ tomorrow, it will arrive as one of the few live-action remakes of a Disney cartoon that feels remarkably different from its counterpart. Though features like The Lion King, The Jungle Book, and Aladdin have all included the musical elements, Mulan incorporates its tracks in other ways throughout as no singing takes place in the film. The movie will also be without two characters from the classic cartoon, as the dragon Mushu (originally voiced by Eddie Murphy) and his cricket pal will be nowhere to be found. In a new interview, Mulan director Niki Caro spoke about the reason behind their absence in the reboot.
"We were very inspired by what Mushu brought to the animation, which was the humor and the levity, and the challenge was to bring that to Mulan’s real relationships with her fellow soldiers," Caro said while speaking with USA Today. "Mushu, beloved as that character is in the animation, was Mulan’s confidante, and part of bringing it into the live-action is to commit to the realism of her journey, and she had to make those relationships with her fellow soldiers. So there was certainly a lot to work with in that department."
If you ask someone else involved with the production, their answer for why he won't appear is a little less diplomatic. Speaking with Collider on the set of the film a few years ago, producer Jason Reed said Mushu's absence was due to the negative feelings that Chinese audiences had for him in the original, saying: “The dragon is a sign of respect and it’s a sign of strength and power, and that sort of using it as a silly sidekick didn’t play very well with the traditional Chinese audience.”
Yifei Liu stars as Mulan in the film alongside iconic Asian actors including Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Yoson An, and Jason Scott Lee.
Mulan arrives on Disney+ on September 4th but unlike the other content will be available at an additional cost. After delaying the film since March, Disney will allow Disney+ subscribers the ability to watch the film early for $29.99 ahead of its December debut on the service for everyone. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.
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