Now that Disney has locked in Liu Yifei, a.k.a. Crystal Liu, to play Mulan in the studio's live-action remake, the studio has moved on to round out the cast. Chinese superstar Donnie Yen has been cast in Mulan as Commander Tung, who is described as a mentor and teacher to Mulan. There was no Commander Tung character in the original 1998 animated film Mulan, so it seems likely this is a new character created specifically for this live-action remake.
Liu Yifei was cast as the title character back in late November, although no further characters have been cast at this time. This new casting report comes just over a month after Disney pushed the Mulan release date from an unspecified date in 2019 to March 27, 2020. As of now, Mulan will go up against Paramount's G.I. Joe 3 on that date, although that will change in the next two years. There had been reports that production was set to begin in January of this year, but filming hasn't begun yet and there is no indication when shooting may start.
While Disney hasn't released an official synopsis for Mulan yet, director Niki Caro explained last March that this version of Mulan will not be a musical, like the 1998 animated movie. Instead, this live-action remake was described by the director as a "girly martial arts movie." The studio has already insisted that the movie will have an all-Asian cast, to avoid any potential whitewashing controversy, and so far, the studio has lived up to that promise. Given that this story will not be a musical like the original, it will be interesting to see what other characters from the original animated movie will be featured, and which won't.
Ming-Na Wen lead the voice cast of the original movie, which also included a diverse array of stars ranging from Eddie Murphy as Mushu to B.D. Wong as Shang, George Takei as First Ancestor, voice over legend Frank Welker as Khan, Pat Morita as The Emperor, Miguel Ferrer as Shan-Yu, Harvey Fierstein as Yao, June Foray as Grandmother Fa and James Hong as Chi Fu. The original Mulan was a box office hit, earning $120.6 million domestic and $304.3 million worldwide. Whether or not this live-action remake can replicate that kind of success 20 years later remains to be seen.
Niki Caro is directing from a script by Lauren Hynek, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Elizabeth Martin, with Chris Bender, Jason Reed and Jake Weiner producing. While Donnie Yen has become well-known to Western audiences lately through his recent roles as Chirrut Imwe in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Xiang in XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and the Ip Man movie series, the actor has been a superstar in Hong Kong for many years. He also recently starred in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, and he recently started filming Ip Man 4, which will be the final installment in the Ip Man saga. Deadline broke the news about Donnie Yen's casting earlier today.