The live-action Mulan made its debut on Disney+ last week and while the film's release looks a little different than what had been planned before the coronavirus pandemic, fans are still finding a lot to enjoy about the film, including a surprise cameo from Ming-Na Wen. Wen, who voiced Mulan in the original animated film, made an appearance near the end of the live-action film, presenting Yifei Liu's Mulan to the Emperor whose life she has saved. The moment was moving passing of the torch of sorts from one Mulan actor to another, but according to Wen she actually had to pass on a larger role in the film due to Agents of SHIELD.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wen explained that after fans tweeted about how she needed to be part of the new Mulan, she reached out to her manager to check into the possibility and that the film's producer, Jason Reed, loved the idea. But that's when things hit a snag. The plan initially was for Wen to play the mother-in-law during the matchmaker sequence, but it would have required her to go to New Zealand for a month -- something that wouldn't work.
"The producers of Agents of SHIELD just threw up their hands: 'We can't lose you for a month!'" Wen explained. "I totally understood, and I'm always very Zen about this stuff. I said, 'Look, if it was meant to be, it was meant to be. We all tried and it's too bad.'"
Fortunately, while Wen accepted that things weren't going to work, Reed and Mulan director Niki Caro didn't give up that easily. They came up with another idea, the role of "Esteemed Guest" near the end of the film -- one that required her to be on set for just a week and ultimately gave fans the cameo they had asked for and offered Wen a touching moment as well.
"I thought that was very appropriate and just wonderful, a little Easter egg where I could pass the baton," Wen said.
Mulan is now available to purchase through Disney+ Premiere Access. If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.
What did you think of Ming-Na Wen's cameo in Mulan? Let us know in the comments!
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Cover image: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images