Disney Announces a Live-Action Remake of Mulan

By  · Published on March 30th, 2015

Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Saturday Night Live seems to have picked a good time to parody Disney’s mission to remake all their animated classics as live-action features. Imagine if the studio had planned to announce an actual live-action Bambi movie this week. Fortunately their next choice was not the one about the deer and his forest friends but the one about the female Chinese warrior who cross-dressed in order to fight against a Hun invasion. Yes, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Mulan is the latest added to the trend. At 17 years old, it’s also the most recent of the animated features to hit the remake block and the first since the age of Pixar began. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised if a live-action Frozen is announced next.

Like many Disney animated movies, Mulan isn’t an original work and so this remake won’t be the first live-action take on the story. They’ve all pretty much been Chinese productions, going back almost 90 years, and the most recent was 2009’s Mulan: Rise of a Warrior, which did get a US release, probably helped by the possible familiarity of audiences with the Disney version, from which it is vastly different. Disney’s live-action take will likely stick closely to their 1998 release, similar to the model of Cinderella and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast more than Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent. So, I assume we’ll be getting motion-capture incarnations of Mushu and Cri-Kee.

The script for the live-action Mulan comes via newcomers Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, whose background is mostly in local Cincinnati theater (their recent production was called “Saturday the 14th,” and sadly mulan a stage version of the bad ’80s movie of the same time). No release deadline is set yet, but Disney has quite a few more live-action remakes queued up already, including Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book and Dumbo. They’ll probably announce Lady and the Tramp, The Emperor’s New Groove and an actual Bambi before we see it hit screens.

Watch a trailer for the animated original:

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.