Just three days ago (7 July), Disney sent everyone into a frenzy when it unveiled its trailer for the upcoming live-adaption film:
Featuring the ever-iconic female-injects-testosterone-and-does-bench-press-to-save-her-father Hua Mulan, the trailer sparked nostalgia, amazement and sheer admiration alike as fond memories of the 1998 animated classic were invoked.
Here, you can check it out down below:
Yet, despite the flawless beauty of the film’s lead, Liu Yi Fei, and the beautiful cinematography that gripped the trailer in place, a portion of viewers couldn’t help but express dissent at one glaring aspect:
Where are the crowd favourites, Mushu and Li Shang?
After all, as a YouTube viewer so aptly puts it:
Well, we can only hope that the trailer simply pulled a leaf from Marvel’s book.
Misleading audiences and whatnot.
Though with the cast members all but confirmed, you’ll do well not to have overly lofty expectations about it all.
But here’s the thing;
If you’re well-versed with Mulan’s history (the actual literal one, and not the 1998 one with dancing soldiers), you’ll know that the trailer actually set things… well, straight. After all…
There were no dragons and handsome generals in the original story.
According to World Of Buzz, the original Mulan story has two versions. The first, very interestingly, actually started off as a poem.
Dating some 1400++ years back, the legend of Hua Mulan, the Chinese warrior from the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period, was written in the 6th century by an unknown poet.
Named The Ballad of Mulan, the poem consisted of just 360 words, and featured the same primary gist as the 1998 movie: when one male from each family was summoned to serve in the army to defend the country against invaders, Mulan took her weak and old father’s place.
A core difference, however, was that instead of having a younger sister as according to Disney, she actually had a younger brother, who was just a child at the time.
You can read the poem here if you wish.
A more detailed version
One thousand years later, the playwright Xu Wei wrote a play called “The Female Mulan Goes To War in Place Of Her Father”, which served as a more detailed rendition.
In the play, Mulan starts off as a 17-year-old who’s pretty good at weaving. Unlike the 1998 classic, however, she’s already a total badass when it comes to fighting, with martial arts, sword fighting and archery skills all under her belt, having been taught them by her father since young.
According to the play, Mulan’s father was summoned to participate in the war because of a bandit named Leopard Skin, who posed a threat to the emperor (in the Disney movie, the Huns were the ones posing a threat).
With her repertoire of combat-ready skills, she opts to replace her father out of filial piety. There were some accounts that alleged that she had dressed as a man and challenged her father for the right to take his place, but those sources ultimately remain unverified.
In the play, Mulan also served the army for a long time.
12 years, to be exact.
Having concealed her gender, she waited till everything was done and dusted, and the villain’s ass kicked, before choosing to hang up her shield. Mulan’s commander had wanted to reward her by offering her the position of court officer, but the female warrior declined.
Instead, she asked for a horse to return to her hometown, and once she reached home, she left the house dressed in fully female clothing.
Upon seeing the valiant warrior’s real identity, Mulan’s escorts were allegedly surprised, though this soon gave way to sheer admiration.
Wonder Woman, who?
And now that you know the ‘truth’…
Now, do not be mistaken: the 1998 Mulan movie is an undeniable classic in its own right.
But the fact remains that Mushu, Li Shang and even the primary antagonist, Shan Yu, were not part of the original setup.
And so, this leads to my point: sure, it’ll be great if the actual live-adaptation film features our favourite trio, but even if it doesn’t…
It’ll at the very least, be staying true to its roots. And from what Disney has shown us, I’m pretty sure it’ll be more than good enough too.
And so, let’s all appreciate a little Mulan nostalgia here…
As we look forward to March next year.
Look out Huns…
You’re going down.
P.S. Liu Yi Fei ftw.
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