Live-Action Mulan Director Explains Why There Isn't Any Music or Mushu in Disney's Remake

In case you haven't noticed, Disney is currently in the process of remaking just about every one of its classic animated films for a new generation, many of them in live-action. Some of these remakes, like Jon Favreau's take on The Lion King last year, are near shot-for-shot updates on the classic tales. Others, however, are taking those beloved stories in all-new directions. The upcoming live-action Mulan film is perhaps the biggest departure from its animated predecessor, aiming to become a large-scale action epic more representative of the original story.

So what does that mean for the music of the animated Mulan? Well, as you can probably guess, all of those songs are going to be absent from the new film, which may disappoint some fans. However, director Niki Caro has a good reason for the decision. During a press conference for Mulan, Caro spoke with Digital Spy and explained why this movie is ditching the tunes.

"I mean, back to the realism question – we don't tend to break into song when we go to war," said Caro. "Not that I'm saying anything against the animation. The songs are brilliant, and if I could squeeze them in there, I would have. But we do honour the music from the animation in a very significant way. I guess that's the biggest thing for me about making – remaking – an iconic title like Mulan in live-action. It's the fact that it can be real, and it's the real story of a girl going to war."

Caro is clearly going for a much more realistic take on Mulan's story. Not only does this mean that there won't be musical numbers in the film, but there is also no need for the wise-cracking dragon sidekick, Mushu.

"You know, the animated classic stands on its own in that regard," Caro explained. "In this movie, there is a creature representative – a spiritual representation of the ancestors, and most particularly of Mulan's relationship with her father... But an update of Mushu? No."


Are you looking forward to the new Mulan? Are you disappointed that there won't be any music? Let us know in the comments!

Disney's Mulan arrives in theaters on March 27th.