Mulan Producer Explains Why Li Shang Was Removed From Live-Action Remake

When Disney announced Mulan, fans expected there to be some changes, but some have yet to be explained. Well, producer Jason Reed sat down with Collider to talk about one big change. In the animated feature, Captain Li Shang is Mulan’s ostensible love interest, and he’s nowhere to be found in the live-action adaptation. It turns out some current events, like the #MeToo movement, and other sensibilities prompted the change. There are now two characters where the one stood in the original. The crew is hoping that people are receptive to the changes next month when the film hits theaters.

“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,” he began. “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.”

BD Wong played the character in the animated outing and has nothing but positive things to say about his time in the role. He told EW that he was really looking forward to seeing what Niki Caro brings to this version of the story.

"I’m interested in it. I feel no ownership over the original movie," Wong explained. "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:

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“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.”

Walt Disney Pictures sends the live-action Mulan into theaters March 27.