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Why isn’t Mushu in the ‘Mulan’ remake? We now have an answer

‘Mulan’ director Niki Caro explains why Mushu didn’t make it in the sequel

Shang (voiced by B.D. Wong), right, shows Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na Wen) how to shoot an arrow in Disney’s “Mulan.”
Shang (voiced by B.D. Wong), right, shows Mulan (voiced by Ming-Na Wen) how to shoot an arrow in Disney’s “Mulan.”
Disney Enterprises, Inc.

When you finally see the new live-action “Mulan” remake — whether it’s on Disney Plus’ Premier Access this weekend or later in the year when it’s free on Disney Plus — you’ll notice a rather important character from the animated film won’t be in it: Mushu.

“Mulan” director Niki Caro recently explained to USA Today why Mushu doesn’t appear. Simply, the film wanted to show Mulan gaining trust with her fellow soldiers rather than a talking dragon.

  • “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.”

Caro told Digital Spy in the past that Mushu is irreplaceable.

  • “I think we can all appreciate that Mushu is irreplaceable. You know, the animated classic stands on its own in that regard. In this movie, there is a creature representative — a spiritual representation of the ancestors, and most particularly of Mulan’s relationship with her father. But an update of Mushu? No.”

China might be another reason

Producer Jason Reed told Collider that audiences in China did not enjoy the character of Mushu because it is a dragon.

  • “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.”