As we get closer to the theatrical release of “Mulan”, there is a lot of curiosity on how the live-action remake will measure up to the Disney animated classic. Especially when Captain Li Shang is visibly missing from the storyline.
Will his absence tip the scale? Or maybe it won’t even matter. The jury is still out on that.
In speaking to Collider, producer Jason Reed shed some light on the decision to remove Li Shang in the new film. “I think particularly in the time of the #MeToo movement, having a commanding officer that is also the sexual love interest was very uncomfortable and we didn’t think it was appropriate,” he explained.
Having said that, Li Shang will still be in the movie in some capacity – well sort of. “We split Li Shang into 2 characters. One became Commander Tung (Donnie Yen) who serves as her surrogate father and mentor in the course of the movie. The other is Hong Hui (Yoson An) who is (Mulan’s) equal in the squad,” Reed added.
Keeping in mind that Li Shang already had a reputation as a bisexual hero, Yoson was asked candidly if he was ready to become an LGBTQ icon, to which he answered, “Yes I am“, adding that the script pays respect to Li Shang’s perceived LGBTQ identity, albeit subtly.
Reed also assured that Mulan and Hong Hui’s relationship would “play the same as it does in the animated (film)“. “They start off on the wrong foot, really. As they progress through the training together, they kind of have this unspoken bond about it because they recognise each other’s warrior spirit. That’s how they kind of build their friendship up to begin with, through the training and acknowledging each other,” the New Zealand actor added.
Earlier today (Friday, 28th February), Entertainment Weekly reported that Christina Aguilera had recorded a new take on the classic power ballad “Reflection” along with other new material for the remake.
Hopefully we’ll get to hear the new tunes soon ;)