Home Interesting Facts 23 Fascinating Facts About The Original "Mulan" Movie That I Can't Believe I Never Knew Before – BuzzFeed

23 Fascinating Facts About The Original "Mulan" Movie That I Can't Believe I Never Knew Before – BuzzFeed

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Bruce Willis was supposed to be Li Shang?

Hurray, a release date for the live-action Mulan remake is finally in sight! So to celebrate this phenomenally exciting event, I thought I would collate some interesting trivia about the OG animated film from 1998.


Buena Vista Pictures


Buena Vista Pictures

2.

And that Mulan’s pet dog, Little Brother, is a reference to the fact that in the original poem, The Ballad of Hua Mulan, our hero actually has an infant brother?


Buena Vista Pictures

Since he’s too young to fight and her father is too weak, Mulan enlists in the army instead.

3.

Chinese-American actor and red carpet assassin Ming-Na Wen, who was already in her mid-thirties when she was cast as the teenage Mulan, was approached for the role because Disney loved her narration of the groundbreaking movie The Joy Luck Club.


Amy Sussman, Buena Vista Pictures / Via Getty Images

4.

During her recording sessions, animators noticed that Ming-Na touched her hair a lot and decided to have Mulan do the same thing in the movie!


Alberto E. Rodriguez, Buena Vista Pictures / Via Getty Images

5.

Mulan is often credited with launching Christina Aguilera’s career. The former Mickey Mouse Club member released a version of “Reflection” in 1998, which would become her first ever chart success. Resultantly, she was offered a record deal with RCA!


Frederic J. Brown / Via Getty Images

6.

Speaking of “Reflection”, the choon was supposed to be much longer, with accompanying scenes of Mulan riding her horse out of town and through nearby mountains and fields. It was cut down to save time in the film, but also to make Mulan seem like less of a loner at odds with her society.


Buena Vista Pictures

7.

And surely you remember that scene where Mulan sings “Reflection” in her family’s shrine? There are several stones slabs with ancient Chinese lettering on them, which Mulan sees herself in, and these translate into the names of several animators who worked on the film!


Buena Vista Pictures

8.

During a later scene in the shrine, where Mushu awakens the ancestors, a couple worry aloud that Mulan’s actions could lose the family their farm; the couple themselves are a fun allusion to Grant Wood’s oft-parodied American Gothic.


Buena Vista Pictures

9.

Did you ever notice at the start of the movie how Mulan “cheats” while doing her morning chores? She gets her dog to feed the chickens, and she writes notes on her arm in preparation for her matchmaking session. While that seems lazy, it’s actually this exact type of “work smarter, not harder” thinking that allows Mulan to triumph later against Shan Yu!


Buena Vista Pictures

10.

When Mulan is making her way to the Matchmaker at the start of the movie, she helps a man win a board game with one move, and then takes a doll from a young boy to give back to the girl he stole it from. This demonstrates that as well as her beauty, Mulan has intangible and undervalued traits like brains and a strong moral compass!


Buena Vista Pictures


Tim Whitby, Buena Vista Pictures / Via Getty Images

12.

Meanwhile, Mulan was Eddie Murphy’s debut as a voice actor, and since it was kind of a big deal to have him on board, Eddie got away with not coming into the Disney studios to record. Instead, he insisted he cut his scenes in the basement of his mansion in Englewood, New Jersey.


Hector Mata / Via Getty Images


Kevin Winter, Buena Vista Pictures / Via Getty Images

14.

In the Chinese version of the film, Jackie Chan provided the voice of army captain and legit hunk, Li Shang. Bruce Willis, who was the martial arts model for Shang, was originally signed on to also voice the character before he was replaced with B. D. Wong.


Jeff Gross, Frazer Harrison, Buena Vista Pictures / Via Getty Images

15.

Chi Fu’s name in Mandarin literally means “to bully”.


Buena Vista Pictures

It’s written as qī fu or 欺负.

16.

The style of tai chi that Mulan’s father practises at home before his leg injury causes him to collapse is actually called Mulan Quan – a form of tai chi named for Hua Mulan herself!


Buena Vista Pictures

17.

Actual martial artists were used to simulate fight sequences like the above from the film. Mimi Chan and George Kee did the choreo for Mulan and Shang, and Mimi was also used as a physical model for Mulan!


Buena Vista Pictures

18.

Later, when Mulan is met by Mushu whilst preparing to enter the army training camp in disguise, there’s a moment when Mushu says he can see straight through Mulan’s armour, before he drops his gaze to look at her chest!


Buena Vista Pictures

19.

And did you ever clock that the method Mulan uses to climb a pillar and retrieve an arrow whilst in training is repeated later when Mulan and her fellow soldiers scale the Imperial Palace?


Buena Vista Pictures

20.

The scene where Mulan picks up a doll outside of a burned out village is an homage to a scene from Studio Ghibli’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, in which the same thing happens with Lord Yupa.


Toei Company, Buena Vista Pictures

21.

If you thought that Shan Yu is based on Attila the Hun, you’d be wrong! Attila’s armies didn’t venture into the Northern Wei territory where Mulan is supposed to be set. The Huns in the movie are more likely Xiongnu nomads, who frequently clashed with the Han dynasty of China in the third century.


Buena Vista Pictures

22.

And did you ever wonder why Shan Yu doesn’t belittle Mulan or underestimate her skill as a soldier during their final confrontation? It’s likely because he’s used to seeing women as warriors! Hun armies often had women in their ranks, so when Mulan reveals that SHE caused the avalanche, Shan Yu is hardly surprised and views her as a very real threat to him.


Buena Vista Pictures

23.

Lastly, Mulan, as a character, has the biggest body count in Disney history – she takes out approximately 3,994 people and animals with her avalanche manoeuvre!


Buena Vista Pictures

Animators used software called Attila (lol) to create 2,000 Hun soldiers and 2,000 more horses for the main attack sequence. Only six Huns survive, and then Shan Yu himself is later killed. This takes Mulan’s final body count to 3,994, since Shan Yu is technically killed by Mushu.

Now, bring on Mulan 2020!!!!


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