Disney finally gave a reason why fan-favorite character Li Shang won’t be in Mulan and fans are pretty upset. The film’s producer, Jason Reed told Collider that the decision came down to current trends and trying to be sensitive to this cultural moment. While being thoughtful can go a long way, a lot of fans weren’t trying to hear it and got the Captain’s name trending on Twitter with alarming speed. Arguments about the sincerity of creating two new characters to take his place in the live-action version of the story. The #MeToo movement was a motivating factor in the conversation as well. That hashtag is still one of the surefire ways to see an argument jump off on your timeline.
“We split Li Shang into two characters. One became Commander Tung (Donnie Yen) who serves as her surrogate father and mentor in the course of the movie. The other is Honghui (Yoson An) who is [Mulan’s] equal in the squad,” Reed explained. “I think particularly in the time of the #MeToo movement, having a commanding officer that is also the sexual love interest was very uncomfortable and we didn’t think it was appropriate.”
For what it’s worth, BD Wong, the actor who played the character in the original, was very positive when asked about the upcoming movie. Wong told Entertainment Weekly that he feels no ownership over the role and looks forward to what Niki Caro will do this time around.
"I’m interested in it. I feel no ownership over the original movie," he began. "I’m very proud to have been in that movie. It was one of the last movies they made where they actually drew the pictures, it was at the frontier of a time when Asian-American actors claiming Asian roles in voiceover became a thing. In a way that was really foreign to people before that, to have so many of the lead parts in that movie be played by Asian actors."
Check out Disney’s synopsis of the film below:
“Acclaimed filmmaker Niki Caro brings the epic tale of China’s legendary warrior to life in Disney’s "Mulan," in which a fearless young woman risks everything out of love for her family and her country to become one of the greatest warriors China has ever known. When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation…and a proud father.”
Mulan rides into theaters March 27. Check out some of the reactions below:
Hair Love creator weighs in
What???? https://t.co/743LQUttPd— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) February 27, 2020
People are MAD
Lies. They needed to get rid of Disney’s Bi Prince. Li Shang started to fall in love with Ping before he knew Ping was really Mulan.— Jykia Hooker 💜⚡️ (@BoredNerdGirl) February 27, 2020
everyone knows the real reason they got rid of li shang wasn’t to be “woke” but bc they were uncomfortable with a bi king and his big tiddies, and i for one won’t stand for it— lauren (@duartedrivers) February 28, 2020
anyway they took li shang out of mulan because he was bi, and we all know it— ً (@SEOLUNAR) February 28, 2020
This is a pretty consistent refrain
I'm not sure, but I'm getting vibes that Li Shang was taken out of Mulan because he caught feels when she was still posing as a man not because Mulan asked him to stay for dinner after the war was one and at one point he was in charge before she SAVED CHINA.— Kierqe | Goth Han Vibes (@kierqe) February 27, 2020
nothing but respect for my bisexual king li shang pic.twitter.com/Qd6TXgzZrS— lia ! (@clqudstiel) February 28, 2020
the irony of disney taking out li shang because he might give off bi vibes while one of china's most successful new shows is an adaptation of a novel where two men fall in love, fuck graphically, and get married— 👑 $1 billion demon child (@arahir) February 28, 2020
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