- Disney will release a live-action remake of Mulan next year.
- Mulan’s release date is set for March 27, 2020, and Disney just gave us the first full teaser trailer showing off Chinese-American actress Yifei Liu in the title role.
- Here’s everything we know about the movie so far.
Disney is not slowing down on its live-action remakes. Hot on the heels of Dumbo and Aladdin, the second half of this year will bring a whole slew of live-action versions of your faves, including The Lion King and Lady and the Tramp.
But one of the most exciting remakes of all isn’t coming until next year–that’s Mulan, which just released its first official teaser trailer. Adapted from the beloved 1998 animated movie, Mulan follows a young Chinese woman who poses as a man in order to take her father’s place in the army–and is, needless to say, a stone-cold badass. Ahead of the premiere, here’s everything we know about the film so far.
When will Mulan be released?
The new Mulan will hit theaters on March 27, 2020.
Who is playing Mulan in the remake?
After many months of casting speculation, Disney confirmed late in 2017 that Chinese actress Liu Yifei had been cast in the coveted role of Hua Mulan. According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s coverage at the time, Yifei’s casting came after a year-long worldwide search, and casting an ethnically Chinese actress was a high priority for the studio. Liu is one of the most popular actresses in China, having appeared in several hit television dramas there, and has played English-speaking roles including 2008’s The Forbidden Kingdom opposite Jackie Chan, and 2004’s Outcast with Nicolas Cage.
Just like in the 1998 animated movie, Mulan takes place in fifth-century China, where the Emperor issues a decree requiring one man per family to serve in the Imperial Army. Knowing that her father, a decorated warrior, is now ailing, Mulan steps in to take his place and disguises herself as a man in order to serve in the impending war.
The remake will feature a handful of new characters, including Donnie Yen as Mulan’s mentor Commander Tung and Gong Li as the evil witch Xianniang. Meanwhile, Jason Scott Lee will play the enemy warrior leader Böri Khan, Jet Li will play the Emperor of China, Tzi Ma will play Mulan’s father, and Yoson An will play Mulan’s rival-turned-love interest Chen Honghui.
How similar will Mulan be to the original?
Niki Caro is directing the movie, which makes her only the second woman in history to direct a Disney movie with a budget over $100 million (the first was Ava DuVernay with A Wrinkle in Time). Disney was originally aiming to enlist an Asian director, and reportedly offered the gig to Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), who passed due to scheduling.
The script is by Elizabeth Martin, Lauren Hynek, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver–the latter pair are a husband and wife writing team known for movies like Jurassic World and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Given the success of the original movie, which earned more than $300 million worldwide and landed Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, you can see the temptation to be as faithful as possible. But what works in animation doesn’t, of course, always translate well to a live-action story, and it appears as though the writers and Caro have approached the story as a realistic war drama.
Does that mean no talking dragons?
Possibly. Fans of the wisecracking dragon Mushu–Mulan’s self-appointed mentor from the original movie–noticed his conspicuous absence from the remake’s trailer. Since Yen’s character Commander Tung is described as Mulan’s mentor, it’s possible that he’s replacing Mushu’s role in the narrative. Then again, it’s entirely possible Mushu will appear, and Disney are just holding him back as a surprise.