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Why Mushu Is NOT In The New Mulan Movie, Director Explains

Fans of the 1998 animated movie are asking: “Where is Mushu?”

Mark Andrew

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  • Movie fans who have seen the live adaptation of Mulan are asking: Where is Mushu in this new film?”
  • Director Niki Castro explained in an interview that they deliberately removed the character to add “realism” to the Disney heroine’s journey.
  • Meanwhile, producer Jason Reed added that the hilarious dragon sidekick didn’t play well with Chinese audiences.

Released in 1998 as an animated movie, Mulan has been a massive box office success as it has been well received by fans and critics alike. Now fast forward to 2020, the beloved classic has – as with several other Disney properties – gotten its own live action adaption.

The audience reaction to the modern version, however, has so far been mixed. Case in point, this new one has a more serious tone and so it doesn’t have any singalongs unlike the original movie. Another notable difference, of course, is the absence of Mushu – the talking Chinese dragon voiced by actor Eddie Murphy no less.

In the 1998 film, Mushu was Mulan’s companion during her journey.
So why was the funny fan favorite character left out in this new version?

Well this is what Director Niki Castro told USA Today:

“We were very inspired by what Mushu brought to the animation, which was the humor and the levity, and the challenge was to bring that to Mulan’s real relationships with her fellow soldiers.

“Mushu, beloved as that character is in the animation, was Mulan’s confidante, and part of bringing it into the live-action is to commit to the realism of her journey, and she had to make those relationships with her fellow soldiers. So there was certainly a lot to work with in that department.”

In a separate interview, film producer Jason Reed said that Mushu wasn’t very much well-received by the Chinese movie-going public when the first movie was released.

“The dragon is a sign of respect and it’s a sign of strength and power, and that sort of using it as a silly sidekick didn’t play very well with the traditional Chinese audience,” he admitted.

Watch the Mulan trailer here:

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