As far as their live-action remakes have gone, Disney seems to have remained faithful to canon material, with the recent exception being Aladdin (2019). The live-action adaptation of Mulan has been confirmed to follow in the footsteps of its Will Smith-led counterpart, featuring a new love interest and villain, and now, possibly a replacement sidekick.
According to The DisInsider, Mushu, who was voiced by Eddie Murphy in the original, is set to be swapped out by a new phoenix companion, whose role and name has yet to be officially announced. It seems that won’t be the only change the live-action take will welcome, however – the site also reports that the original music would be used as instrumentals, instead of having the character cast sing the songs.
Of course, none of this has been cast in stone, but the news is sure to upset fans, especially if they turn out to be true. Fans have already noticed the absence of Mushu since word of the live-action movie dropped, and this only reinforces their disillusionment with the team’s decision to veer down another route. Even so, the change can be justified: the show takes elements from the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, and the Phoenix is indeed an important presence in Chinese culture, so it can, at the very least, be considered a logical move.
The removal of the music aspect, though? The animated classic was known for its great vocals (among other things), so the songs are essentially already a part of its DNA. By featuring them as background instrumentals, Mulan will be missing some of the magic that made it into the iconic classic it is today.
Hope is not all lost, for there are still test screenings to the rescue. Used by studios to determine the edits to be made, they come in the form of reshoots, rewrites, or post-production changes. Disney, thus, would have time to make adjustments before the film premieres one year later in 2020, but you’ll never know – it may just prove to be successful despite the online backlash, just like Aladdin itself.
Si Jia is a casual geek at heart – or as casual as someone with Sephiroth’s theme on her Spotify playlist can get. A fan of movies, games, and Japanese culture, Si Jia’s greatest weakness is the Steam Summer Sale. Or any Steam sale, really.