I think all Disney fans can agree that Mulan was a significant step for Disney animated movies and their female characters.
Yes, we all love the classic princesses, and while I’ll give props to Pocahontas, even though she was brave and strong, her decisions and her character development really revolved around her male counterpart and had the whole “love conquers all” message.
Mulan was different. She wasn’t the most beautiful, sought after woman, she wasn’t even from any kind of royal lineage. She was common and she was surrounded by people telling her who and what she needed to be, but all she wanted was to find herself. And whether you’re a boy or girl, you relate to that. Mulan was real (figuratively and possibly literally, but no one really knows if “The Ballad of Fa Mulan” is true). I could go on and on about how great this movie and character is, but that isn’t why we’re here.
We’re here because Disney finally announced that Liu Yifei will be starring as “Mulan” for the live-action Mulan remake scheduled for 2019. Needless to say, we here at The Pop Break are excited. However, Liu Yifei as Mulan is the only confirmed role so far for the movie. So, we decided to put together a short list of our favorite Mulan character, that isn’t Mulan, and who we think would be the best actor/actress for the role. –Rachel Freeman
Benedict Wong as Chien-Po
Mulan was anything but short of loveable sidekicks. There were Mushu and Cricket plushies and toys galore. However, from a character design perspective Chien-Po, the gentle giant of the film’s overtly Three Stooges parody, will always be my favorite. I can only imagine how fun it must have been for animators to draw the many circles that made his character model. And just like me, he loved the three essential food groups: beef, pork, and chicken.
Benedict Wong is no stranger to playing the loveable sidekick. Audiences would recognize him most as the towering librarian, Beyoncé fan, and Dr. Strange’s no-nonsense advisor, Wong. With his return to the massive hero roster of Infinity War, he seems to be a staple supporting character in the MCU, so why not bring him over to a Disney project? Although better known for dramatic roles such as Kublai Khan on Netflix’s Marco Polo, it would be charming to watch Benedict Wong channel his stoic performance from Marco Polo and Dr. Strange for a more comedic role. -Alisha Weinberger
Baljinnyamyn Amarsaikhan as Shan Yu
Shan Yu is one of the most iconic Disney villains. He is the leader of The Hun Army and is just…merciless. In the first five minutes of the movie he kills someone. Sure, you don’t see it, but we all know it happened. It’s also pretty obvious in the scene where Mulan (as Ping) is holding the doll in the destroyed village that women and children were not a moral concern.
Shan Yu was, well, scary. He didn’t even have musical number. Every scene involving him was dark and bleak. But probably the most terrifying thing about his character is how successful he was. He may be evil, but he was clearly a great military leader.
Baljinnyamyn Amarsaikhan would be perfect for this role. He has already shown his ability to portray an ancient Mongolian warrior in his role as Ariq Böke from Marco Polo. He’d just be a Hun instead of a Khan. Though his character was not around for as long as I had hoped, he left an impression on me and I feel like he could absolutely nail this role. He’s been in other movies, such as Thief of the Mind and Trapped Abroad, but other than Marco Polo, he hasn’t done much in American film or television and quite frankly, I’m so tired of seeing the same people in every movie. I want to see someone talented and new, and I think Baljinnyamyn Amarsaikhan could shine given this opportunity. -Rachel Freeman
Ludi Lin as Li Shang
I’ll be honest, I don’t know if it’s a good idea to create live action films for every popular Disney princess flick. However, I do know that if Hollywood is going to do this, I hope they do it right.
Bradley Darryl (B.D.) Wong played the original Disney prince and he had young girls all over the country swooning over his voice acting for years. So, I wouldn’t mind him playing the role again. But, Wong looks like a fully grown man now and if Disney wants to follow the animated film like Beauty and the Beast did, then actor Ludi Lin would look the part and perform well opposite actress Liu YiFei as Mulan.
The character Li Shang is stoic, good at martial arts, and by the end of the animated film – humble. On the other hand, Li Shang was voted to number 13 on Ranker.com’s list of “fuccboi” princes because of his sexism and arrogance. This means the actor who gets this role needs to look like a stoic “fuccboi” who will eventually change his ways once Mulan saves the day.
Ludi Lin has a serious look, he’s young and handsome, and he’s good at martial arts. After seeing him in 2017’s Power Rangers movie and learning that he got his acting chops from watching his mother’s theatre performances, I have a feeling he can handle a Disney musical. I haven’t heard him sing, so if he can’t then Disney might want to hire Donny Osmond again.
I won’t be upset if Disney has a different choice, but – as I stated before – I hope they do Mulan justice. -Asia Martin
There you have it. These are just a few character and casting choices we hope to see. But I think I can speak for, at least most, Disney fans, that while we may have our thoughts and opinions on actors/actresses for different roles, what’s really important and matters most is that Mulan is done right.
…And also that Eddie Murphy voices Mushu again.