Disney's live-action remake of Mulan will not feature Mushu or songs. Director Niki Caro made the reveal in a new interview promoting the upcoming movie. It had been previously reported that the movie was going to be missing these elements, but this is the first time that it has been officially confirmed. Disney can't really win with their remakes when it comes to pleasing fans. Either they are criticized for being too similar to the originals, or criticized for deviating too much.
Even looking at the Mulan trailers and promotional footage, one can tell that Disney is going for something different with the remake. There is a serious tone and it looks like a big budget action drama, which means there really isn't time to break out into song. Niki Caro had this to say about the lack of singing in the movie.
"I mean, back to the realism question - we don't tend to break into song when we go to war. Not that I'm saying anything against the animation. The songs are brilliant, and if I could squeeze them in there, I would have. But we do honor the music from the animation in a very significant way. I guess that's the biggest thing for me about making - remaking - an iconic title like Mulan in live-action. It's the fact that it can be real, and it's the real story of a girl going to war."
Niki Cara believes the same thing when it came down to deciding whether or not to include Mushu in the live-action remake of Mulan. Mushu is a fan-favorite character from the original animated version and when it was rumored that he was going to be sitting out, Disney fans weren't exactly pleased about the decision. However, it fits with what Caro is trying to get across on the big screen. She says.
"You know, the animated classic stands on its own in that regard. In this movie, there is a creature representative - a spiritual representation of the ancestors, and most particularly of Mulan's relationship with her father... But an update of Mushu? No."
Many believed that the recent Mulan reshoots, which were described as 'major', would be adding some of these elements back into the finished movie. But that's simply not the case as we can see.
The live-action remake of Mulan has come under fire from critics in China for being historically inaccurate. The movie later found itself in hot water last summer when star Liu Yifei publicly sided with Chinese police over the Hong Kong protests. This led to thousands of Disney fans calling for a worldwide boycott of the movie. The actress was not on hand to deliver footage at the D23 Expo in August of last year as a result.
Since a lot of the backlash around Mulan has died down, it seems that the movie may be in more trouble for not including some of its most famous factors. The songs and Mushu are what a lot of fans think of when they think of the iconic animated version. But, Disney has seen worse and the movie will more than likely be a hit in theaters and cross the $1 billion mark when the dust settles. The interview with Niki Caro was originally conducted by Digital Spy.