If Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of their 1998 animated hit “Mulan” wasn’t already on every martial arts fan’s Most Anticipated list, it’s sure to be now! Two of Asia’s biggest action stars, Donnie Yen and Jet Li are joining the cast, with Chinese actress Gong Li also coming aboard the film.
The new casting additions to “Mulan” follows the casting of Jet Li’s “Forbidden Kingdom” with co-star Liu Yifei in the title role of the woman warrior Hua Mulan, who disguises herself as a man to take the place of her ailing father in the midst of China’s impending military conflict with the invading Huns. Donnie Yen is set to assume the role of Mulan’s military leader and mentor, Commander Tung, who finds himself tasked with making a man out of Mulan and her fellow conscripts.
Jet Li will reportedly portray the Emperor of China, and the film will make a departure from the villainous Shan Yu, (general of the Huns in the animated film) with Gong Li set to menace our heroine in the form of an evil witch. Additionally, Xana Tang will also appear in an original role in the form of Mulan’s sister.
Under the direction of filmmaker Niki Caro, “Mulan” marks the latest in a series of live-action remakes of Disney’s animated library, which began with 2014’s “Maleficent”. Since then, Disney has also produced remakes of “Cinderella”, “The Jungle Book”, and “Beauty and the Beast”, the latter being among 2017’s biggest hits. “Mulan” is next up on Disney’s live-action remake slate, with “Aladdin” set to follow.
The film marks Donnie Yen’s second collaboration with Disney, following 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story“, in which he appeared as the blind warrior Chirrut Imwe. The film will also reunite Donnie with Jet Li, after their previous collaborations in 1993’s “Once Upon A Time In China II” and 2002’s “Hero“, along with 2017’s short ensemble film “Gong Shou Dao” starring Ali Baba founder and CEO, Jack Ma.
“Mulan” will also mark something of a return to the spotlight for Jet Li, who has backed away from filmmaking to a large extent in recent years while putting more focus on his philanthropic endeavors with “The One Foundation” and “Taiji Zen“. Li has also experienced issues regarding his health in recent years that was thought to have played a role in his semi-retirement, though Li himself later confirmed that these issues had subsided in 2016. Hopefully, Donnie Yen and Jet Li get an opportunity for another rematch in “Mulan”, to say nothing of Jackie Chan jumping aboard – he did, after all, provide the voice of Li Shang for the animated film’s Chinese release, so we can certainly dream!
“Mulan” is set to get started in August, and be released on March 27th, 2020. Stay tuned for more grand-scale details on the upcoming epic before and as it prepares to roll into theaters around the world! In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the heroine Mulan and which other Asian stars would you like to see appear in the movie? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (Be sure to check out more of KFK’s action-packed martial arts film news coverage, too!)