Meet The Characters Of Disney’s ‘Mulan’
Today marks the debut from the much-anticipated debut of Disney’s Mulan, a Disney+ Premier Access offering—which means it’s the perfect time to meet (or reintroduce ourselves to!) the characters we’ll see in this epic live-action adventure.
Mulan (Yifei Liu)
Let’s start at the top! Similar to the character in the beloved animated film, Mulan is strong, determined and compassionate. When each family in her village must provide a man to help fight against invaders Mulan hatches a plan to take the place of her father who is of ill health. Af first she is out of her depth but through perseverance develops into a strong, powerful leader.
Liu had this to say about her approach to playing such an iconic character, ““Each day I allowed myself to forget who I am for the moment. You have to kind of lose yourself and not think about just how brave Mulan is. Yes, I am playing a hero, so we need to bring out that side, but I think every human being is complex—and complex is so beautiful. And that’s where the energy of the character is.”
Zhou (Tzi Ma)
Next up is Mulan’s devoted father. Tzi Ma has this to say of his character, “Zhou is a former military man who went to war and was injured. When we meet him, it is years later, and he has a family—a wife and two girls. One girl, Mulan, has a spirit that’s very different from anyone else. Zhou tries to contain her spirit as much as he knows how. But it’s impossible, because you cannot contain that kind of a spirit. It’s a gift. And Zhou understands that, so you see Zhou always trying to straddle this line of containment but not refinement. Even when he’s heartbroken when she goes in his place, I think in his heart of hearts he knows she will come back and bring greatness.”
Commander Tung is the leader of the battalion in which Mulan winds up serving. Dignified and highly experienced on the battlefield, he acts as something of an adviser to Mulan. Says Yen, known recently for his turn in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, “Tung is [Mulan’s] mentor, and she sees something in [him], not only his skill but also his wisdom… I enjoyed the scenes with the conversations between Mulan and Tung. Those are the more sentimental moments that reveal [his] inner vision and passion. You normally don’t see that because when he’s in his armor, he’s very strict and very military.”
Honghui (Yoson An)
Honghui trains alongside Mulan in the Imperial Army. As the film starts he is Mulan’s competitor but ultimately becomes her friend. Yoson An says, “Honghui is a young conscript, just like all the other conscripts—but he has a military background. So his martial arts skills, compared to the other boys, are pretty much through the roof… I guess you could say that Mulan and Honghui start off on the wrong foot. But as they train together and live together in training camp, Honghui can see that there’s something different about Mulan, in comparison to the other boys. Because Commander Tung is very aware of what Mulan is doing all the time during the training process, Honghui feels like there must be something there that he’s not seeing. So, he makes amends, and it turns out that he’s right.”
Böri Khan (Jason Scott Lee)
A formidable adversary, the Emperor’s nemesis Bori Khan is a Rouran fighter from the North who is on a mission to avenger the death of his father. Lee admits that he loves, “the choices that the villain can make, and I like the heaviness and the weight that those characters carry. It’s fun to be singled out in black costuming. You really get a sense that he’s from a different world. He’s not of that China world that’s been created.” Jason Reed also has this to say of the character, “They say a movie is only as good as its villain, so we knew that our invader from the North had to be scary, intimidating, and a real threat to the army and the Emperor. You have to believe this character is capable of taking down an entire empire at the height of its power.”
Xianniang (Gong Li)
Next up is my favorite character and a new one for the Mulan universe. Xianniang is a close ally of Böri Khan.Producer Barrie Osborne says this of the mysterious witch, “Khan’s hidden weapon is Xianniang—who is a woman not unlike Mulan. She is physically fit and has the power of chi, an almost magical power, which gives you an incredible amount of strength. Xianniang gives Böri Khan an edge over the Chinese army.”
Lin also describes the character saying, “Xianniang is powerful, but the things that she wants are actually very simple.” “She continues, “She wants freedom and survival… Khan and Xianniang have a collaborative relationship. She knows the things he needs, and he knows what she wants… But they won’t reach their goals if they don’t cooperate with each other, so they formed a collaborative relationship.”
The Emperor (Jet Li)
Last but not least is mega-star Jet Li who dons the robes of the Emperor. Li said that what attracted him to the film was the tone of the script, “It was very moving and very emotional to read, because Chinese people always believe in loyalty and filial devotion. It’s very difficult to do both well, but the Mulan story is very special. She shows both loyalty to her country and filial devotion to her parents. It’s a wonderful story because it is showing that a human can do both.” Director Niki Caro said the Emperor, : “He brings to the role of the Emperor all the gravitas that you would expect for the Son of Heaven—but he also brings tremendous heart and soul and action. So that when Jet Li’s Emperor leaves the throne to protect his people, you know it is going to go down.”
Readers are encouraged to keep following along with MickeyBlog for more Mulan news and updates coming your way this weekend! Don’t miss your chance to get premium access to view the film starting TODAY on Disney+
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