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Mulan (Disney character) facts for kids

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Mulan
Mulan character
Mulan disney.png
Mulan as she appears in Disney's Mulan.
First appearance Mulan (1998)
Created by Robert D. San Souci
Portrayed by Yifei Liu
Crystal Rao (child)
Voiced by Ming-Na Wen
(speaking voice)
Lea Salonga
(singing voice)
Based on Hua Mulan from the Ballad of Hua Mulan
Information
Aliases Fa Ping (male alter ego)
Hua Jun (male alter ego in 2020 film)
Occupation Imperial agent
Soldier
Farm girl
Warrior
Affiliation Disney Princesses
Family 1998 film:
Fa Zhou (father)
Fa Li (mother)
Grandmother Fa (grandmother)
2020 film:
Hua Zhou (father)
Hua Li (mother)
Hua Xiu (sister)
Spouse(s) Li Shang
Children Li Lonnie (Descendants)
Relatives Fa Zhou (father)
Fa Li (mother)
Grandmother Fa (grandmother)
General Li (father-in-law)
Nationality Chinese

Mulan is a fictional character, inspired by a legendary figure, who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 36th animated feature film Mulan (1998), as well as its sequel Mulan II (2004). Her speaking voice is provided by actress Ming-Na Wen, while singer Lea Salonga provides the character's singing voice. Created by author Robert D. San Souci, Mulan is based on the legendary Chinese warrior Hua Mulan from the poem the Ballad of Mulan. The only child of an aging war veteran, Mulan disregards both tradition and the law by disguising herself as a man in order to enlist herself in the army in lieu of her feeble father.

Disney had originally conceived Mulan as an oppressed young Chinese woman who ultimately elopes to Europe to be with a British prince. However, director Tony Bancroft, who was inspired by the well-being of his own daughters, wanted Mulan to be a different, unique kind of Disney heroine – one who is strong and independent, whose fate does not depend upon a male character. Thus, the relationship between Mulan and Captain Li Shang was relegated to that of a minor subplot, while Mulan's bravery and strength were emphasized in order to ensure that she remained the hero of her own story. She became the eighth Disney Princess and the first one who wasn’t born of royalty or marrying a prince. She also became the first one of Asian descent as well. Mulan's supervising animator was Mark Henn, who deliberately designed the character so that she would appear less feminine than her predecessors.

Reception towards Mulan's personality has been generally positive, with critics praising her bravery and heroism. However, some commentators have accused Disney of Westernizing the character, while her romantic relationship with Shang has been widely accused of compromising Mulan's heroism. Both Wen and Salonga have been awarded Disney Legends for their contributions to the role. Yifei Liu played the live-action version of the character in the 2020 live-action adaptation of the original 1998 film, named Hua Mulan.

Appearances

Films

Mulan

The Huns, led by Shan Yu, invade China by breaching the Great Wall. The Chinese emperor orders that the army protect his citizens over himself, general mobilization, issuing a conscription that one man from each family to join the Chinese army. After Mulan's meeting with the matchmaker goes horribly awry, Chi Fu arrives at her home to enlist her father. Although she protests knowing her veteran father can not survive another war, Mulan is silenced by both Chi Fu and her father. That evening, Mulan takes her father's old armor and disguises herself as a boy named Ping, enlisting in the army on his behalf. Upon learning of Mulan's departure, the ancestors order the small dragon Mushu, a disgraced former guardian, to awaken the "great stone dragon" so that he may retrieve Mulan, only for Mushu to destroy the statue. Mushu decides to join Mulan in the army and help train her in the hopes that the ancestors will crown him a guardian once again.

Reporting to the training camp, Mulan is able to pass as a man, although her military skills are initially lacking. Mushu provides clumsy guidance to Mulan on how to behave like a man. Under the command of Captain Li Shang, she and her fellow recruits Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po, gradually become trained warriors. Desiring to see Mulan succeed, Mushu creates a fake order from Shang's father, General Li, ordering Shang to follow the main imperial army into the mountains. The reinforcements set out, but arrive at a burnt-out encampment, where they discover that General Li and his troops have been massacred by the Huns.

As the reinforcements solemnly leave the mountains, they are ambushed by the Huns, but Mulan cleverly uses a cannon to cause an avalanche, which buries most of the invaders. An enraged Shan Yu slashes her in the chest, and after the avalanche subsides, her deception is revealed when the wound is bandaged.

Instead of executing Mulan as the law requires, Shang spares her life, but nonetheless expels her from the army. Mulan is left to follow alone as the recruits depart for the imperial city to report the news of the Huns' destruction. However, it is discovered that six Hun warriors, including Shan Yu, have survived the avalanche, and Mulan catches sight of them as they make their way to the city, intent on capturing the emperor.

At the imperial city, Mulan is unable to convince Shang about Shan Yu's survival; the Huns capture the emperor, and seize the palace. With Mulan's help, Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po pose as concubines, and are able to enter the palace. With the help of Shang, they defeat Shan Yu's men; as Shang prevents Shan Yu from assassinating the Emperor, Mulan lures the Hun leader onto the roof, where she engages him in single combat. Meanwhile, acting on Mulan's instructions and signal, Mushu fires a large skyrocket at Shan Yu. The rocket strikes, and propels him into a fireworks launching tower, where he dies in the resulting explosion.

Mulan is praised by the Emperor and the assembled inhabitants of the city, who bow to her in an unprecedented honor. While she accepts the crest of the Emperor, and the sword of Shan Yu as gifts, she politely declines his offer to be his advisor, and asks to return to her family.

Mulan returns home, where she presents these gifts to her father, who is overjoyed to have Mulan back safely. Having become enamored with Mulan, Shang soon arrives under the pretext of returning her helmet, but accepts the family's invitation to stay for dinner. Mushu is reinstated as a Fa family guardian by the ancestors amid a returning celebration. When Mulan thanks Mushu, she kisses him on the forehead, followed by her dog, Little Brother, and a herd of chickens bursting into the Temple, with a Great Ancestor calling Mushu's name, ending the film.

Mulan II

One whole month after the events of the original movie, Mulan and Li Shang prepare to marry but are distracted by a task from the Emperor, who wants his three daughters escorted to their own marriage ceremony. Their romantic relationship becomes somewhat strained during the trip, as the romantic couple has differing views on various issues. Meanwhile, Mushu realizes that if Mulan marries Shang, she will not need him anymore as her guardian spirit, and decides to trick the two into breaking up. When bandits attack, Mulan and Shang fight them off, but Mulan is devastated when Shang is seemingly killed trying to save her. To make sure the three princesses are not forced to marry against their will, Mulan takes their place marrying the eldest son of the ruler of the neighboring land. Shang survives the accident and arrives in time to stop the wedding but ultimately Mulan is saved by Mushu who, posing as the mighty Golden Dragon of Unity, frees the three princesses from their vows, and marries Mulan and Li Shang himself causing Mulan to forgive him for his actions. Afterwards, Mulan informs Li Shang of Mushu's existence and he combines the temples of his family and hers, allowing Mushu to keep his position.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Mulan, alongside other Disney Princesses, appeared in the film Ralph Breaks the Internet, as was announced at the 2017 D23 Expo.

Live-action film

Yifei Liu portrays Mulan in a live-action adaptation of the 1998 animated film. The character's journey through the live-action movie is mostly the same as the animated film. Although she does have a sister, who was not featured in the original movie, and she reconsiders joining the Emperor's Guard after returning home. A phoenix also serves as a guardian to her instead of Mushu.

Disney Princess franchise

Mulan is the eighth official member of the Disney Princess franchise, a media franchise marketed towards young girls. For children, Mulan demonstrates the positive aspects of never giving up, not being restricted to gender roles and the importance of family and honor. These aspects of the film are more in keeping with a traditional Chinese perspective on cultural value, such as the importance of family and honor. On the official Disney Princess website, the character's brief biography reads, "Mulan is a loving girl who is always brave and bold. When her country needs it most, she disguises herself as a man and goes off to fight. She uses courage and determination to win the day." Although Mulan is a member of the Disney Princess franchise, she is not a legitimate princess in the traditional sense, as she was neither born the daughter of a king or queen, nor does she become princess consort by marrying a prince. She is the franchise's first and currently only East Asian member.

Attractions

Disneyland meet-and-greet Mulan
Mulan at Disneyland theme park in California.

Mulan appears regularly for meet-and-greets, parades and shows at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, including at the Chinese Pavilion at Epcot. Mulan and Mushu, as a kite, make cameo appearances in the Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Resort versions of It's a Small World. In Disneyland, she also makes appearances in the Disney Princess Fantasy Faire Village and regularly performs in the new show Mickey and the Magical Map in the Fantasyland Theater. In most of the parks she is most commonly found alongside Mushu in Adventureland. In the aforementioned show, she performs a trio with fellow Disney Princesses Pocahontas and Rapunzel. As a tribute, there is a portrait of her along with other Disney Princesses at the Princess Fairytale Hall at the Magic Kingdom.

On the Disney Cruise Line ships and in Hong Kong Disneyland, Mulan and Li Shang appear in the stage show The Golden Mickeys. Mulan is also known to come out for meet-and-greets on the ships as well. She is also featured in the Disney on Ice shows Princess Classics and Princess Wishes.

Television

Mulan makes cameo appearances in the Disney's House of Mouse television series and the direct-to-video release Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse. She was scheduled to appear in the second installment of the Disney Princess Enchanted Tales series of DVDs along with Cinderella. It was to premiere in 2008 but was cancelled due to poor sales of the first DVD.

On August 2014, Ming-Na Wen and Lea Salonga reprise their roles as Mulan for the first time since Mulan 2 in the Disney Channel show Sofia the First. In the episode "Princesses to the Rescue," Mulan reminds Sofia and her friends Amber and Jun they are "Stronger Than They Know" in song. Mulan is the 7th Disney princess to appear on the show.

In the Disney TV film Descendants, while Mulan herself does not appear, reference is made to her in the form of her daughter Lonnie, portrayed by Dianne Doan, who becomes friends with the main characters. Lonnie returns in the sequel, Descendants 2, where she assists the former villain kids in a rescue mission on the Isle of the Lost to retrieve Prince Ben; in return, Jay (the son of Jafar), acknowledging how his heritage should encourage him to bend rules, appoints Lonnie captain of the school's fencing team in his place after she was initially rejected as the rules stated that teams must consist of the captain and eight men. At the film's conclusion, Lonnie is later seen dancing with Jay.

Video games

Mulan appears as a playable character in Disney's Story Studio: Mulan, an action video game released in December 1999 by Disney Interactive Studios exclusively for the video game console Sony PlayStation. Loosely based on the plot of the original animated film, the video game's concept and premise revolves around "Players ... assum[ing] the role of Mulan on her quest to recover the missing scrolls." Mulan also appears as a playable character in Disney's Mulan, a similar video game released the previous year on October 10, 1998 by THQ for Nintendo Game Boy.

Disney Infinity 3.0 has announced and released Mulan as one of the playable characters and figures.

Kingdom Hearts franchise

Mulan appears in the Square Enix and Disney video game Kingdom Hearts II in the Land of the Dragons world, with Ming-Na Wen reprising her role. She aids Sora in battle, taking the place of either Donald or Goofy. She uses a jian called "Sword of the Ancestor" for regular combat, and her combination attacks include Red Rocket and other fire attacks, thanks to Mushu. She goes under her pseudonym (Ping) for the majority of Sora's first visit to her world, which follows the storyline of the film, but has abandoned it by the time of their second visit, which follows a new story where they come into conflict with Xigbar and the Storm Rider Heartless.

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