It looks like Disney has high expectations for the yet to be released live action Mulan. Originally intended to come out March 27, the film has been scheduled for a new release date later this year, on July 24. This delay due to the COVID-19 global pandemic is not unexpected, especially because Mulan is expected to do well not only in the U.S. but also China as well, and right now cinemas in both countries are shut down.
Mulan is based not only on the 1998 Disney animated film, but the Chinese legend Ballad of Mulan. Taking away the animal sidekicks and the musical element of the animated film and instead leaning into the action war movie element, this film will be the first live action remake to be given a PG-13 rating. Many of the changes are directly tied to appealing to the Chinese market which knows and loves the Ballad of Mulan.
All Bets Are On Mulan
Mulan has already proven to be a bit of a risk for Disney, boasting the largest budget of a live action Disney remake at roughly $200 million, being the first to be rated PG-13, and detouring away from the animated film. But, it looks like Disney is expecting these changes to pay off.
According to a report by Full Circle Cinema, Disney may already have a sequel to the upcoming Mulan film in development. Now, whether or not the project moves forward will surely be tied to how well the movie does in theaters later this year, in both China and the U.S.
This wouldn’t be the first Disney live action remake to get a sequel ordered. Recently Aladdin’s huge success, grossing over $1 billion worldwide, has led to a sequel being put in the works. With the latest live-action still waiting to hit theaters, a possible sequel is an exciting prospect, but it opens up the question of what the new story would be. It is extremely doubtful that this sequel would be in anyway based on the direct to video animated sequel Mulan II. But, it is also difficult to speculate what could inspire the new story.
In the original Ballad, the warrior fights for her country for 12 years before retiring back to her home, which is when her fellow warriors discover that she has actually been a woman masquerading as a man for over a decade in the army. It is highly unlikely Mulan will keep her secret the entire movie, seeing as she will have a love interest in the Army.
In the animated film her love interest is her commanding officer Li Shang, but in the live action remake the character Li Shang has been split into two characters: mentor and commanding officer Commander Tung, and her fellow new recruit and love interest Chen Honghui.
Even if Mulan’s secret is revealed, it would be interesting to see a sequel where we continue to follow her time as a warrior in the Imperial Army. It could also depend on what happens to the main antagonists in Mulan, Bori Khan a Rouran warrior leader avenging his father’s death and Xianniang a shapeshifting witch. If one or both of them lives or escapes or if they have family who would avenge their downfall. With Xianniang’s abilities to shape shift and her powers as a witch, there is a definite possibility that she could find a way to escape death or imprisonment and that she could want to take revenge on Mulan for foiling her plans.
Learning that there is the possibility of a sequel shows the confidence Disney has in Mulan. While we may have to wait a few more months for the film that confidence makes it seem like it is probably worth the wait. With a new spin on the well-known tale, the thrilling action movie filled with heart has potential to go in a lot of directions.
Mulan is set to hit theaters July 24, 2020. Mulan is directed by Niki Caro and stars an impressive international cast which includes Liu Yifei as Mulan, Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jason Scott Lee as Bori Khan, Yoson An as Chen Honghui, Gong Li as Xianniang, Jet Li a the Emperor, Tzi Ma as Hua Zhuo, Rosalind Cheo as Hua Li.
The official synopsis of Mulan reads:
When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation and a proud father.
Are you excited for Mulan to hit theaters this July? What do you think the sequel will be about? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.