Live-action reboots of epic animated features have been Disney’s jam in recent years. From Beauty and the Beast to The Jungle Book, Aladdin to Dumbo, and Cinderella to Alice in Wonderland and the upcoming Lion King, Disney is all-in and unveiled the first teaser trailer for the next remake, Mulan and let’s just say it’s not the Mulan of 1998.
Hua Mulan is not your average Disney princess—not that she ever was, even 21 years ago when Ming-Na Wen voiced her. Like the cartoon heroine, the live-action version is a fierce, fearless young woman ready to fight. As the story goes, the Emperor of China (Jet Li) issues a decree that one man from each family must serve in the Imperial Army and defend the country from invaders. Mulan (Yifei Liu), the eldest daughter of a former warrior, pretends to be a man, Hua Jun, so she can step in and save her ailing father from having to fight. And it’s a win-win as Mulan isn’t interested in the man her parents are arranging for her to marry anyway.
But in the new trailer, it doesn’t look like her masquerade lasts too long, as Mulan, hair flowing behind her like a Beyoncé video, shows off just how savvy she is with a sword. So it looks like, unlike other Disney remakes, Mulan is taking the concept of reboot seriously.
We already know the musical element will be sparse, perhaps even nonexistent. In a 2017 interview with MovieFone (yes, that’s how long this project has been in the works), director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, The Zookeeper’s Wife) revealed, “From what I understand, no songs right now. Much to the horror of my children.” And fans everywhere. But maybe that has since changed? Because in the trailer, the gorgeous song “Reflection” can definitely be heard—albeit, a more sweeping instrumental version.
What does remain is Mulan’s fiery spirit. “It is my duty to fight,” Mulan says in the trailer. And judging by Liu’s skills with a sword, the battle scenes and action sequences are going to be epic.
At the movie’s heart, at least based on the trailer, is a woman struggling between two very different worlds: graceful, composed wife-in-training vs. strong, disciplined warrior. But some significant OG Mulan elements are missing—there’s no Shang (the captain Mulan fell for, voiced by BD Wong) for starters and, more noticeably, no Mushu, the dragon sidekick, voiced by Eddie Murphy, who provided stellar comic relief.
It looks like 2020 Mulan doesn’t plan to be brimming with hilarity in general and the internet wasn’t too pleased—apparently, people need the funny. That hasn’t stopped all fans’ interest from being piqued, of course.
Me when Disney doesn’t show my boy mushu: pic.twitter.com/pdCVWADLTx
— Duffy🍿 (@hellothere2304) July 7, 2019
— ShavedGolf (@ShavedGolf) July 7, 2019
No Mushu, No Party.
— Lost in Film (@LostInFilm) July 7, 2019
so like the new mulan movie might have different music n no mushu… but the trailer looks interesting… we might have to stan
— justin (@jusborderline) July 7, 2019
*cries watching the #Mulan trailer*
*listens to I’ll Make A Man Out of You*
*remembers there won’t be musical numbers or Mushu*
*cries some more*
*REMAINS EXCITED FOR THIS MOVIE*
— Katie Butts (@GoodyButts) July 7, 2019
Li and Liu previously starred together in the 2008 movie The Forbidden Kingdom. They’ll be joined by Rosalind Chao as Mulan’s mother, Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jason Scott Lee as Böri Khan, Yoson An as Cheng Honghui, Jimmy Wong as Ling, Chen Tang as Yao, Doua Moua as Po and Gong Li as Xianniang.
Mulan is set to hit theatres on March 27, 2020.