What is this movie I see, staring straight back at me…because it is not the live-action adaptation of the legendary 1998 animated masterpiece, Mulan.
In recent months, Disney’s live-action Mulan has started to take shape and it is diverging from the animated film in major ways. For starters, Disney executives have been *very* cagey regarding the film not being a musical — and while it’s one thing to cut the very catchy 98 Degrees-Stevie Wonder duet, it is downright disgraceful to give “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” the axe. Which brings us to the most devastating issue of all: the disrespect of Li Shang.
A terrible rumor has been circulating that beloved warrior Li Shang would be getting cut from the live-action film, and in a move that’s truly a dishonor to us all, it appears this rumor is 100 percent true. While Donnie Yen’s casting as Mulan’s mentor Commander Tung certainly cast doubt on Shang’s inclusion in the film because, let’s face it, you don’t have an entire musical number dedicated to training the unit and not walk away as their mentor, this new casting call confirms that live-action Mulan is (*sobs*) getting a new love interest.
Twitter account nerdyasians recently uncovered and tweeted a casting description for Chen Honghui, Mulan’s new love interest and, um, are you sure this, Disney?
According to the casting call, Honghui is a cocky fellow soldier in Commander Tung’s unit who sees Mulan — in her male disguise, of course — as his chief rival in being the best warrior in the world. The casting call actually includes this description for him, “Full of himself, with a mean, bullying streak to him.” And not only is he the dictionary definition of the worst, he only stops hating on Mulan and falls in love with her when he finds out she’s a woman.
Wooooooow. You do not disrespect Shang like that, dropping the character who trained, came to respect, and maybe (ahem, probably definitely) fell in love with Mulan when she was still “Ping,” for that guy.
Honghui’s casting description literally reads like the terrible love interest who shouldn’t end up with lead at the end of the movie because she can do so much better. Imagine if Frozen 2 was like “Okay, we know Kristoff is the perfect match for Anna but we’ve decided that Han should actually be her main love interest, again.”
Multiply that by 1,000 and that’s just a fraction of what an injustice this is. The only positive thing about Honghui’s casting description is that Mulan is clearly serving up some serious skill in the live-action film.
Disney, you have two years to fix this and we suggest you get on it ASAP before Mulan hits theaters in March 2020.