Mulan is primed to be the first of Disney’s live-action remakes with some major changes. While the 1998 animated film was chock-full of original and memorable songs, the lovable talking dragon Mushu, and the honorable Captain Li Shang, the upcoming live-action Mulan will have none of these. Ahead of the film’s release next month, the film’s producer Jason Reed revealed to Collider that Li Shang would still be in the movie, but his character was being split into two different roles:
“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.”
These new characters will create an entirely new dynamic with the titular character. In the original animation, Mulan had quite the crush on her commanding officer. Though they never got together when Mulan — masquerading as a soldier named Ping — reported to Li Shang, Reed explained that the character’s removal from the live-action was, at least in part, due to the #MeToo era:
“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.”
If you’re wondering whether Mulan will still have a love interest, the answer is yes. Honghui will fulfill a similar role to that of Li Shang, in that he and Mulan will have a spark of sorts. However, don’t expect them to start off on the right foot. Here’s what actor Yoson An said about Honghui’s dynamic with Mulan:
“They start off on the wrong foot, really. As they progress through the training together, they kind of have this unspoken bond about it because they recognize each other’s warrior spirit. That’s how they kind of build their friendship up to begin with, through the training and acknowledging each other.”
Mulan is set to hit theaters on March 27, 2020.