Earlier today, Disney held its live-action films panel at the D23 Expo, where the studio unveiled new footage and details for its upcoming slate, including upcoming Marvel movies, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and much more. The studio also announced a few changes to its release slate, pushing the highly-anticipated Mulan live-action movie out of its previously-announced November 2, 2018 release date, and into an unspecified date in 2019. While no specific date was given, Disney has already staked out two dates for 2019 movies, on November 8, 2019 and December 20, 2019, so it’s possible this project could take one of those slots.
While Disney took the opportunity at the panel to announce cast members for other upcoming projects such as their Aladdin remake, no casting announcements were made for Mulan, which could be why the release date was shifted. The Mulan 2018 release date was announced last October, although there has never been any confirmation as to when production may begin. The live-action remake had come under fire last fall, when rumors circulated that the studio was seeking a white male character for the lead role, instead of the title character Mulan, but the studio debunked that rumor, stating that Mulan will have an “all-Asian cast.”
The rumor surfaced after it was reported that the Mulan spec script Disney purchased, from writers Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, centers on a, “30-something European trader who initially cares only for the pleasure of women and money,” who becomes the love interest to Mulan. Disney responded by stating that the script was a “jumping off point,” for a story that will draw from both the “literary ballad of Mulan” and the 1998 Disney animated film, which featured Ming-Na Wen as the voice of the title character. Disney also confirmed that Mulan and all of the primary roles, including the love interest, will in fact be Chinese.
The last update we had from Mulan was back in March, when director Niki Caro revealed that this story will be a “muscular piece of girly martial arts extravaganza in China.” The director also revealed that she will begin preparing for this movie by taking martial arts lessons herself, alongside her nine-year-old daughter. She also shot down talk that this would be a live-action musical, with no songs being planned at this time, despite the animated version featuring beloved songs such as “Reflection” and “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” It’s possible that the studio could change its mind regarding the musical aspect and it’s possible that may be why the release date changed, but no specific reason was given by the studio.
Niki Caro, who most recently directed McFarland USA for Disney, is directing from a script by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who were brought in to rewrite the original spec. The original Mulan earned $120.6 million domestically and $304.3 million worldwide when it first hit theaters in 1998. Oddly enough, Mulan was one of the few Disney Princesses who were not shown in a new scene from Wreck-It Ralp;h 2, which features the voice talent of Jodi Benson (Ariel), Paige O’Hara (Belle), Linda Larkin (Jasmine), Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Mandy Moore (Rapunzel), Kelly MacDonald (Merida) and Kristen Bell (Anna). Hopefully we’ll find out more about this Mulan remake soon.