Ten Things You May Not Know About Mulan

by | Dec 3, 2018 | Disney Entertainment, Lists and Trivia

  1. Mulan was inspired by the character Hua Mulan from the Chinese poem “The Ballad of Hua Mulan.” Since so little historical details survive from the time the poem was written, it’s unknown whether Hua Mulan was a real person. In the original poem, Mulan’s surname was spelled using the Mandarin pronunciation “Hua,” though Disney uses the spelling for the Cantonese pronunciation, “Fa.”
  2. In the original poem, Mulan’s identity as a woman was never revealed while she was serving in the army. It was only upon returning home that her fellow warriors discovered her true identity when they came to visit her, and when they learned the truth about their friend and general, they praised her for all she had done for them.
  3. It may be a dubious distinction, but Mulan is credited with amassing the, um, highest body count among Disney Princess. 2,000 Hun soldiers were animated for the Huns’ attack sequence, along with their 2,000 horses. After Mulan’s ingenious idea to create an avalanche to defeat the vast army, only six Huns survived, meaning 3,994 enemies perished. She doesn’t seem quite as demure now, does she?
  4. One of the best known quotes from the film is spoken by Mulan’s father, Fa Zhou: “My, what beautiful blossoms we have this year. But look, this one’s late. But I’ll bet that when it blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all.” Most people assume he was referring to a cherry blossom, but the tree is actually a magnolia tree, and the flower itself is known as the “mulan” flower!
  5. It’s a Disney cliché that every princess or main character is an orphan, or has lost at least one parent. But in actuality, Mulan is one of four Disney Princesses to have both parents alive and present during the entire film, the others being Aurora, Rapunzel, and Merida. But she does have the distinction of being the only Princess not to be born into royalty, or to marry a prince. (In case you’re wondering, Pocahontas has the title of ‘Chieftan’s Daughter,’ the equivalent of being a princess in her culture.)
  6. Mulan’s voice was originally going to be provided by Tia Carrere before the producers eventually settled on actress Ming-Na (best known for her roles in The Joy Luck Club and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) Carrere would go on to voice Nani Pelekai in Lilo & Stitch. Before finding Ming-Na, Lea Salonga (who provides Mulan’s singing voice) was briefly considered for the speaking role, but her voice wasn’t low enough to convincingly play Ping.
  7. In addition to her voice, Ming-Na provided another element of Mulan’s characterization. You may have noticed that Mulan touches her hair a lot throughout the film. The reason is because the animators noticed that Ming-Na had the same habit, so they decided to incorporate it into the character.
  8. In the Magic Kingdom, you’ll find Mulan’s portrait hanging with the other Princesses in Princess Fairytale Hall, and she makes a cameo appearance in Fantasmic! But of course, in the newly opened Shanghai Disneyland, Mulan is heavily featured throughout the park. She stars in her own float in Mickey’s Storybook Express, has her very own scene in Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, and has her own wall carving display inside the Enchanted Storybook Castle.
  9. Like Rapunzlel, Mulan is well known for her hair, or more specifically, for her having to cut it in order to blend in with her army brethren. In the direct-to-video film Mulan II, her hair has grown back, though not quite as long as it was in the beginning of Mulan. However, in promotional works, her hair is always shown at its original length; all the way down to her waist.
  10. The animators used real-life reference to convincingly animate Mulan, but the reference material wasn’t performed by Ming-Na. Mimi Chan, a martial arts instructor and performer, provided the motion capture references for Mulan’s martial arts moves. In 1999, Chan entered the Martial Arts Hall of Fame as “Woman of the Year.” Chan’s cousin, George Kee, played the part of Captain Shang Li when they choreographed the fight sequences for the film’s song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

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