The first trailer for the live-action ‘Mulan’ remake is here & it’s beautiful

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You know how I, along with many other people, keep saying that Disney needs to STAHP with the live-action remakes of their most beloved animated classics? Yeah, I still believe that. Except now I think this live-action Mulan remake looks amazing, so I don’t know, maybe Disney was on to something. Think about how many little girls and little boys will go see an Asian female lead in a live-action Disney film. Here’s the first trailer:

Yifei Liu plays Mulan and WOW. Beauty and badassery. The cast also includes Gong Li, Jet Li and Donnie Yen. People are worried about whether this film will retain any of the music from the animated film, or whether it will be a straight, no-singing-Mulan affair. There’s also no Mushu (the little dragon) in this trailer, and no one knows if he was edited out too?

I mean, think of how badly Disney could have f–ked it up. They could have cast Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, you know? I’m so glad that they seem to be using a cast full of Chinese actors and that the visuals look so stunning.

mulan1

Photos courtesy of Disney.

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75 Responses to “The first trailer for the live-action ‘Mulan’ remake is here & it’s beautiful”

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  1. Sara says:

    I still don’t get how this is Disney’s Mulan. Is is a HOllywood-produced imagining of an ancient Chinese story? Why not make a straight action movie then? I don’t get any of these remakes and feel so old.

    • Leriel says:

      It will be straight action movie. They cut dragon, and magic, and songs. Story will be serious and about war

    • Cindy says:

      “I don’t get any of these remakes and feel so old”

      This. The originals were good as they were and timeless. When I watched the originals I never thought “wow it’s a shame this is animated and not real”. They were beautifully animated. I think a lot of that Disney magic is actually lost in the remakes, for the fact they are using real people alone. Instead of “Disney movie” my first thought is “Family blockbuster that was way too expensive to make”.

      • shanaynay says:

        They have to keep doing things (movies, pop up exhibits, theater, etc.) to keep possession of the copyrights. Plus they make a whole ton of money doing it.

      • LWT00 says:

        Yup, this. I’m not here for these remakes. While Mulan looks really frickin’ cool… nothing in that trailer gave me any indication that the lead actress can actually act.

        But from a business perspective, it makes complete sense to make these movies. Look at the $900MM Aladdin has made in just a few short months? Disney doesn’t have to spend nearly as much on marketing because these are all familiar properties, and thanks to animation guild rules (don’t get me started), they don’t have to pay residuals to the people who made the original animated films. It’s a win all around for Disney. I’m just surprised they’re pumping them out so fast. 3 alone this year, and Mulan out early next year? I’d be spacing them out one per year.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      I’ve complained about the remakes too but at the same time, as the mother of a Chinese daughter, I know what a difference it makes for her to see not only the animated version but this live action too, at an older age, with real people who look like her. It also gives work and tremendous visibility to non-white actors. Each of the remakes has the potential for that – as shown in the casting of Ariel the mermaid. I was a white girl growing up, so I saw a lot of “me” except for the part about having brown hair and being short. It took Debra Winger and Holly Hunter to start turning that around, and I was surprised how much it mattered. Yet that seems like subtle difference next to what Disney is finally starting to do now.

      It also gives greater respect to the mighty legend of Mulan.

      Trailer looks great, wish we didn’t have to wait so long!

      • India Rose says:

        Yep. Mother of a son who is a Chinese-American adoptee here and I can tell you we are starving for age-appropriate representation on the big screen. Big Hero Six was life-changing. I have no time for the Dumbo remake, but we absolutely need more films with actors from all over Asia. If they’re done appropriately with respect, bring on more films starring, written & directed by people of color.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I like that they did a different take on it (no singing, more drama/action). If all they were going to do is an exact copy of the cartoon (like Beauty and the Beast), then why bother? At least this movie looks like it stands by itself. I enjoyed the Jungle Book live action, but skipped all the others because they just looked like an inferior version of the cartoon. I think the Mulan trailer looks promising.

    • Nievie says:

      Agreed. There is already a really good Chinese language movie of Mulan which is amazing.

  2. Erinn says:

    I am so hyped for this. Mulan was always in my top 3 Disney movies. Part of me is disappointed they aren’t making it a musical because they had some of the best songs. But at the same time, it just looks SO good as a more serious movie. I’m pumped.

    • Anners says:

      Same! I’m really excited to watch this one (I’m kinda meh on the other live action ones. Beauty & the Beast was disappointing, Lion King doesn’t appeal, and I’m not sure about Aladdin). Maybe also the Little Mermaid? Depends on final casting, but I’m excited about the diversity. These two were my favourites growing up.

      • Erinn says:

        I’m holding hope for the Little Mermaid – that was my first favorite movie as a kid. But I also was basically in love with Aladdin – though I haven’t seen it yet.

    • Dorothy#1 says:

      Beauty and the beast is my all time favorite Disney movie and I did not like the live action one. I have to say Aladdin was amazing!! My daughter and I smiled through the whole thing!!

    • Deedee says:

      Agree. Milan is and has been one of my most, if not the most, favorite of the Disney moviirs. I cannot wait until this comes out.

  3. ds says:

    After this trailer I can’t even imagine turning Mulan into a sing and dance film. Looks good. I loved Mushu but it can also be a different kind of spiritual guidance in an action film so who knows. I deffo want to watch it as Mulan was always my fave anyway. Go girl!

  4. CommentingBunny says:

    I’ve never seen the animated Mulan so I have no basis for comparison or anything. This trailer gave me goosebumps! I definitely want to see it!

    • Elkie says:

      The original is fab.

      It’s both one of my all-time favourite movies, and it made Mike Pence irrationally (and comedically) angry, because something, something, liberals are all snowflakes, etc, etc… I’m not making it up.

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        It really triggered Mike Pence?!!? I need to know the whole story on this.

      • Erinn says:

        omg yes! I had forgotten about that. He wrote a whole op ed on it hahaha.

        This was a quote:
        But after going to see the movie with his kids, Pence worried that it may send the wrong message to the younger generation — namely, that women can or should serve in the military.

        “Housing, in close quarters, young men and women (in some cases married to non-military personnel) at the height of their physical and sexual potential is the high of stupidity,” Pence wrote. “It is instructive that even in the Disney film, young Ms. Mulan falls in love with her superior officer!”

      • CommentingBunny says:

        I had no idea it triggered Pence … I must watch it!

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      You have to watch the animation, its one of Disney’s best (after Fantasia, Bambi and The Little Mermaid IMO).

      I will see this, the cast is pretty darn good plus I will watch anything with Donnie Yen in it.

      PS. I pray that they will make a live action Fantasia!

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      The original is gorgeous, the animators – many of Asian descent – studied Chinese art from the period in which Mulan was said to have lived, and incorporated it into their work. For them, it was a labour of love, and it shows. It’s also dynamic and fun with great songs and an inspiring story. Eddie Murphy was a sassy little dragon. “My baby’s all grown up and saving China!” You should see it!

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Mushu and his sidekick the cricket are apparently in it. I cannot wait to see who they have doing his voice – it hasn’t been announced yet.

  5. Mia4s says:

    I think this looks amazing! The reaction in some circles has been driving me crazy though:

    The Internet: Sigh…where are all the original ideas?!? Everything is a sequel or remake. We want something new!

    Also the Internet when this trailer comes out: Why doesn’t this look exactly like the thing I saw before!!? Where are the exact same songs I already know!? Where are my live action (they mean computer generated) creatures?!? 🙄

    • Sara says:

      That’s not how I feel. I just don’t get how this is Disney’s Mulan. I don’t think any of the remakes are needed and am happy to see something new but this isn’t a Disney movie, it’s an action movie.

      That was my point.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Or, Disney makes lots of movies that are not in their young-child animated genre. They’ve stepped outside the box before with often great results.

        Glad to see them taking a well-known franchise and attempting something fresh with it.

        The live-action Beauty and the Beast I felt was not so fresh — they didn’t add magic but rather the conversion to live action seemed to take it away.

      • Mia4s says:

        What is a “Disney movie” is about to get a whole lot broader. Technically Die Hard and Aliens are now “Disney movies”

        And I for one welcome our new mouse corporate overlord!…..😬

    • Sankay says:

      I don’t understand the complaint of “where are all the original ideas” they are out there in independent movies and tv shows. And then there is Shakespeare which has never gone out of style and remakes and retellings abound – there’s no problem with that. Or maybe because it’s old and before all of our time it’s okay to redo forever.

  6. Cindy says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here but I liked the original animated Mulan as it was, with catchy music and a goofy dragon. Actually, the catchy music and the goofy dragon were some of the best things about it. I have no intention of watching this remade as a more serious war film.

    I’ll give you the film does look beautifully directed, and doesn’t look as tacky as the other remakes.

    • Mia4s says:

      “I have no intention of watching this remade as a more serious war film.”

      That’s totally your right but I think we have to acknowledge that the animated one was Disney remaking the true story and legends of Mulan into the silly animated musical (which I really enjoyed!!!). This “remake” is much more the traditional story and far more respectful culturally.

  7. Hikaru says:

    I had a huge crush on Mulan when I was a girl and I was so heartbroken when I realized in the end that she was going to get together with the army guy. I couldn’t make myself watch the sequel haha.

    Now this girl is a great match for Mulan and the movie looks so beyond the mess I expected it to be, I’d still want to watch it if it was just a random woman warrior and not Mulan herself.

  8. Rifla says:

    Liu Yifei is one of China’s top celebrities so I’m guessing Disney’s going to get a lot of $$$ from this one

  9. Digital Unicorn says:

    With this and the Ariel casting, Disney seems to be finally getting it. I also like to think they learned from the Beauty and the Beast and actually took the effort to cast someone who could act and sing in the female lead (sorry Emma Watson but you can’t sing and you can’t act). I know that it looks like they cut the music from Mulan (which is a shame – I LOVE Reflections) but they have got themselves a top notch cast and visually it looks stunning.

    • Sierra says:

      I think Disney has been getting it right since Maleficent, Angelina was a brilliant cast.

      I also think Disney got the male parts in Beauty & The Beast correct.

      This trailer looks amazing and I will see it in the cinema.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      I might see this and the live action little mermaid with Halle Bailey. Lion king, not so much. It just seems weird to do a live action version of that.

  10. Lightpurple says:

    My neighborhood is 90% Chinese immigrants. Every year at Halloween, I get a porch full of little Mulans. This movie is going to be huge.

  11. Marianne says:

    This is the one rare Disney Live Action film I’m interested in. I know there’s people out there that want her to sing but I’d prefer not. I’d like to see a more serious take on it. Besides, what would be the point of doing the film exactly in the same way.

  12. Lisa says:

    I am excited to see this one. The remakes have been hit or miss but this looks good.

  13. Mab's A'Mabbin says:

    My boys loved Mulan, and this looks totally badass. I appreciate antes being upped, and I’m actually proud of Disney. They obviously want to break some predisposed molds thank gawd.

  14. Julie says:

    I think it looks great. I can’t wait to see it. The trailer gave me chills.

  15. Noely says:

    I love love LOVE the animated Mulan movie (the songs, the animation, the story, EVERYTHING) but I really appreciate that this trailer is giving off a more serious, darker vibe than the animated version. I am intrigued and hope this lives up to the trailer!

  16. TeamAwesome says:

    The Instrumental strains of “Reflection” can be heard in the trailer. They may use the themes from the original without the lyrics in the movie, and then release both the score and an updated vocal tribute album.

  17. KHLBHL says:

    Two things:

    -many people in China were offended with the historical inaccuracies in the 1998 animated film, hence why Disney is making the live action follow more of the original Chinese legend
    -Liu Yifei is beautiful and popular, but she is not known for being a good actress. Hopefully she proves me wrong.

    • holly hobby says:

      Liu YiFei is very wooden. Yes I’ve seen all her soaps from China. Frankly I could care less about her. If you want to watch a manequin, she’s the girl for you.

      Disney bastardized the original folktale. Sorry I’m not a fan. Also, why is her hair so sloppy? That’s not how the people looked in those days. The white face isn’t done too. This is a no for me.

    • LWT00 says:

      This is exactly what I got from the trailer. It’s hard enough having to act, let alone in a foreign language. Barely, what, five words in the trailer and they may as well have been spoken by an AI computer. Yikes.

  18. Violette says:

    As someone who is half Chinese and grew up in the US and love the animated Disney Mulan, I am totally here for this film. I get the love for the animated film, it is also my favorite. However, please understand that Disney goofed-up culturally with it and didn’t do the original Hua Mulan folktale justice e.g. Mushu, strange tone, and many liberties. Hence, I applaud them for doing better this time around (I hope). If this version provides a more accurate retelling, I am for it.

    • Justme says:

      I quite understand your feelings about changing the original folktale. Just to be fair of course, Disney also changed the earlier folktales and stories which were adapted from European folklore. Snow White as we see it in Disney is not like the original folktale as collected by the Grimm brothers. Nor is Rapunzel as collected by the Grimm brothers like Tangled. Changing stories is standard Disney procedure (and not just Disney!)

      • Violette says:

        I get that folktales have always been adapted and changed. While beloved by international and Western audiences or even by an Asian American like me, the animated film’s adaptation were not done well to pay respect to the original tale (even if unintentional as slap stick comedy) and the Chinese culture. The animated film basically came across as insensitive to the Chinese that have the claim to the folktale. So if this new film does it better – it is a good thing. I hope it can balance the original folktale and pay homage to the animated film.

  19. Udi says:

    Love it. Haven’t watched the original hance have nothing to compare it to, but the music and the visuals are amazing. And Kaiser, check out the new maleficent trailer. Angelina and Michelle Pfeiffer go head to head.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      OMG Michelle Pfeiffer is in it? Take my money. And folks if you like that genre and haven’t seen Stardust, go find it. Pfeiffer is such a badass.

  20. Laura says:

    As a white lady who grew up in the 80’s/90’s I liked the animated Mulan, but wasn’t super into it. To be honest, I’ve never liked any of the remakes; they feel pointless and just a cash-grab to me.

    I cannot wait to see this movie!! I almost teared up at the trailer; I’m so excited to see a bad ass woman fight and defend her homeland.

  21. BANANIE says:

    I know this is referring to Disney’s version and not the original poem/legend, but I was surprised to see her fighting with her hair blowing around everywhere. I know it may not have been accurate but I really liked the scene in the original Disney Mulan where she chops her hair off.

    • Eliza says:

      There’s multiple versions of the tale. Most are that she fights as a man, I’m assuming this (hair waving) is after the unveiling. Although I thought in a common tale she fought for like 14 years as a man in the army, never revealed until she leaves as a woman, came home to her dad dead, and her mom remarried – probably not a Disney ending.

    • holly hobby says:

      Men wore their hair long and in a bun too so this chopping the hair nonsense didn’t exist. For sure it wasn’t flying all around their faces during a battle though

  22. Heat says:

    Mulan is pretty much my favourite animated Disney movie. I looooove Mushu and the songs and Shang, but I’m still 100% on board with this.

    They are using instrumental versions of the songs, and there will be a Phoenix instead of Mushu, and I’m assuming they won’t talk. Lol.

  23. Becks1 says:

    I am excited for this. I’m another one who is over the live action remakes, but this looks really good and it looks like its going to “add” something to the original movie – more layers, I don’t know how to put it. I didn’t think the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast added anything to it.

  24. Onlyashes85 says:

    So everyone asking about the music and Mushu and such – I thought I read last year that someone who worked on the original film and Disney had a parting of ways. And he owned the creative rights to some of the music and the characters. So therefore, it couldn’t be used in this film.

    I may be totally wrong about that, and of course- I can’t remember where I read that to present an article for others to read. But I do remember hearing about it and being discouraged since Mushu is the GOAT in terms of Disney sidekicks.

    Then again, now that I see this trailer I’m curious as to why I was worried. This looks incredible. And very respectful toward Chinese culture and the gravity of the story. 13 year old me loved the original Mulan. Now I cannot wait to take my 8 year old daughter to see this. I wasn’t crazy about the live action Beauty and the Beast. I haven’t seen Aladdin yet and Dumbo was disappointing. But I’ll be counting down the days until this one.

    Take my money.

  25. Eliza says:

    They either reveal her earlier in this movie that she’s a girl, or gave away a lot of the last battle to show off how beautiful she is in the trailer.

    We watch Mulan a lot with my daughter, so I’m hoping the plot is great for her and her generation of girls too.

  26. Case says:

    I love the animated Milan – such a powerful story and wonderful role model for young children. I’m thrilled that they’re playing it straight and not including songs and talking dragons. This story deserves to be taken seriously.

  27. smcollins says:

    Apparently I’ve been living under a rock because I had no idea they were making a live action Mulan, or I just completely forgot. In any case this looks like it’s going to be pretty amazing so count me in on being excited to see it!

  28. savu says:

    I’m white, and I remember as a kid seeing Mulan and asking so many questions about Asia, China, the rest of the world… and checking out library books, learning everything I could at the time.

  29. Scal says:

    Will Rosalind Chao (the actress playing Mulan’s mom) ever age? I still remember her from her Star Trek Next Gen days and she looks the same.

    I loved this movie animated, although it did really poorly in China the first time around (and musically generally flop in that market as well-so I’m not surprised they cut the music). I’m ready for this live action version as compared to the rest of them. It looks like they are doing something different for once.

  30. Kendra says:

    It looks great but more like Chinese films than the animated one and I wonder if I just should watch some of the Chinese Mulan’s (there are many). I do miss the songs that were cut and for some reason Shang is slipt to three people. But this still might be the first live-action Disney film I will see. Hukchback it other I am exited for.

  31. Chrissy S says:

    It’s funny depending on the site the commentary is different. I think it looks bad ass, but it seems the people who follow the Disney page on Facebook aren’t impressed. They want music and Mushu.

  32. sid says:

    The trailer looks fantastic! I love the original animated version but I like that they are making the live one different and closer to the source material. I have zero interest in seeing shot-for-shot remakes like what the Lion King appears to be so far.

  33. Coco says:

    Of the Disney live action updates that I’ve seen, I liked Cinderella the most because it wasn’t trying to be a shot for shot remake (I accidentally just typed ‘shit for shit remake’). I found it much more successful than Beauty and the Beast. That may have been because I had far less emotional connection to the cartoon of Cinderella than some of the others, but knowing that they are not trying to copy the cartoon as closely as possible makes me much more interested in seeing the new Mulan than I was in Aladdin.

  34. Gia says:

    She looks too young. She looks like a young teenager who shouldn’t engage in war any time soon.
    The cartoon did pull that off because its semi-musical style made the whole thing less war-like but somewhat fun. And it is a cartoon and in cartoons (nearly) anything is allowed … because it is cartoon.
    Perhaps they should have tried to find some historic chinese or other woman-dressed-as-man warrior and made a movie about her? The wives of samurais were expected to fight off home intruders with weapons, actually. Surely you could find one instead of remaking a Disney cartoon with real people?

    The cartoon movie is somewhat deceptive in that respect as you can’t tell cartoon Mulan’s age. Due to her actions and her personality and her overwhelming feeling for her family and her older-than-teenage reasoning I would have guessed that cartoon Mulan would be about 22-26 years old.
    I know that this might actually be unrealistic considering that Chinese noble ladies (daughter of Samurai) would have been married off long before the age of 22 and in the cartoon movie Mulan just “escaped” an attempt to marry her off. Well, I guess we love cartoons because they needn’t be realistic and can mess with things. After all, it is cartoon …
    I do like the idea that cartoon Mulan’s father liked his daughter so much he didn’t want to marry her off but allowed her lots of things he would have allowed his son (had he had one).
    I also do like the idea that character-wise Mulan isn’t entirely suited to be a “proper” and married chinese lady but more emancipated and a little bit too wild ;-)

    I really want to see how they realised this in the movie.

    • SKF says:

      I’m sorry; but you really need to read up a bit more on Asian cultures. Samurai are/were Japanese. There were never samurai in China.

      Also, the story the Disney movie is based on is that each household had to give one make to the army (they didn’t seem to care about age) and in her family there was only her aging father and her very young brother – who was a child. So she took their place to protect them. Seemingly, her age was irrelevant to the army – which is consistent with history in which many very young teenagers and boys were sent to war if more bodies were needed.

      Finally, a lot of Chinese women look a lot younger to our western eyes than they actually are. I worked with women in their late 20s and early 30s who could have passed for 15, 16, easily.

  35. jammypants says:

    Can they make Princess and the Frog? One of my favs alongside Mulan, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast

  36. Erika E says:

    I think that Disney needs to go much darker with this one. It takes place during war, so i think they will be doing it a diservice if they water it down too much – especially since Mulan was a real live person. The only thing really bugging me though is that they gave Mulan curly hair. What Chinese woman (and I am Chinese fyi) has natural curly/wavy hair. Use her natrual hair, especially since she is a freaking warrior! Mulan is a badass, don’t water her down!

  37. Stretchyoga says:

    The Guardian commentator just wrote an editorial about how the trailer’s a nationalistic mess, kowtowing to China’s nationalistic agenda.

  38. FW says:

    As a Chinese born in China and grew up in China, this trailer is a disaster and laughable mess. In China we are making fun of the construction where Mulan family live. It is totally wrong. It would give a totally wrong geo identity to where Mulan is from. China is a big country if you don’t notice. Mulan is not supposed to come from a family in that area, as indirectly described in the original poet. And the make up, the clothes, all wrong. This is Disney’s cash-grab. It’s going to make tons of money anyway. But this is not a Chinese story , does not reflect Chinese history, has nothing to do with Chinese culture, no matter how many Chinese actors are in it.

  39. serena says:

    I’m really excited about this, Mulan has always been my favourite animated Disney movie of all times!

    This one looks a little bit more heavy, so I’m worried there’ll be no Mushu or granmother who kinda were the comic reliefs (along with Mulan’s 3 friends in the army).