Disney ‘Mulan’ Redux Pushed to 2019

Audiences won’t see the Chinese warrior heroine on screens now until more than a year after the originally planned release date.

With the shadow of Wonder Woman possibly now looming over her, Disney’s live-action production of Mulan will now likely premiere in late 2019, the Mouse House quietly revealed at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California over the weekend, according to Movieweb.

The announcement came among a slew of other film updates, including that the live-action production of Aladdin is going ahead — something likely to irk Mulan fans.

The main issue appears to be casting. No casting choices were announced — neither was a firm release date — and controversy over whether the lead would be played by Chinese-Australian actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo, as reported previously by China Film Insider, or an actress from Greater China continues. Disney did confirm that all the main roles of the film will be Chinese and portrayed by Chinese actors, although they did not specify what that means. Disney also confirmed that unlike the original, this film is not a musical.

It’s not unthinkable that the success of DC Comics’ Wonder Woman film — a superhero property that Disney doesn’t own via Marvel — has sent everyone back to the drawing board. With that film and Gal Gadot’s performance setting a new standard for female superheroes, Disney wouldn’t want to be caught on the back foot when presenting a female Chinese warrior, especially not at a time when the Chinese box office could make Mulan a franchise character.

Mulan was an animated hit for Disney in 1998, with Ming-Na Wen voicing the title character. It earned over US$400 million globally.

Hua Mulan is a legendary female warrior from the Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420-589 AD). She is described in “The Ballad of Mulan,” as a brave daughter who takes her general father’s place as leader of his troops when he is killed in battle. Hua later retires after 12 years as a combat veteran.