Disney Announces Live-Action Version of Mulan for 2018

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Disney is on a roll lately with live-action versions of their beloved animated classics. First there was Maleficent and Cinderella. Earlier this year Disney released a new live-action version of The Jungle Book. Next spring, the company will release a live-action Beauty and the Beast. A live-action version of The Little Mermaid is also in the works. Last month, Disney even announced a live-action remake of The Lion King from Jungle Book director Jon Favreau. Now another classic animated Disney movie is also getting a live-action remake: Mulan.

A Brand-New Mulan

Disney's Mulan
Image Credit: Disney

Disney has just announced that the new Mulan film is being fast-tracked. It’s currently scheduled for release on November 2, 2018. A global casting search is also underway for a Chinese actress to play Mulan.

The script for the remake is being written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. The husband-and-wife team of Jaffa and Silver previously wrote Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Jurassic World.

Their screenplay will be based on a spec script purchased by Disney in 2015 though. That original script was written by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney saw the spec script “as a jumping-off point for a more nuanced and elaborate adaptation, combining the legendary Chinese ballad and the 1998 animated film.”

No director has yet been announced. Jason Reed will produce the new Mulan, along with Chris Bender and Jake Weiner.

The Original Mulan

Disney’s original 1998 animated Mulan starred Ming-Na Wen as the voice of Fa Mulan. Wen currently stars as Melinda May in the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Disney also owns both ABC and Marvel).

Eddie Murphy also starred as Mulan’s wisecracking dragon sidekick, Mushu. BD Wong, Harvey Fierstein, Pat Morita, and George Takei also co-starred in the film.

The Legend of Hua Mulan

Both the original and the upcoming remake are based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. This story was originally described in a ballad known as The Ballad of Mulan. The ancient poem was first transcribed in the 6th century.

The ballad tells the story of Hua Mulan, a woman warrior from the Southern and Northern Dynasties of China. Mulan disguised herself as a man and joined the army in her father’s place. She was a skilled martial artist and swordsman. Hua Mulan gained high praise from her peers and also fought for over 12 years. She refused any reward, though, and chose to retire to her hometown.

The story is treated as a legend in Chinese culture. There is no historical record of a real person named Hua Mulan.

Mulan’s Story Continues

In 2004, Disney released a direct-to-video sequel to their animated film, titled Mulan II. Most of the original cast returned, minus Eddie Murphy. Mulan and Li Shang are on a special mission to escort the emperor’s daughters to meet their new fiancés. Mulan II was widely panned by critics though. It has a rare 0% rating on the review website Rotten Tomatoes.

What do you think? Are you excited to see a live-action Mulan from Disney?