With Disney’s new “in thing” being rebooting their famous animated films into live action feature films, they are (re) rolling out the hits. After the success of The Jungle Book and next on their plate is Beauty and The Beast next year. In has recently been announced that Disney’s next live-action remake will be Mulan. Mulan was based on the legend of Hua Mulan as she impersonated a man to take her father’s place during war. Disney has already set a release date of November 2, 2018, for the new version of the film. It looks like the film is already in some trouble when it comes to casting.
According to the Angry Asian Man blog, the script for the upcoming film has been reviewed and is angering some fans due to the fact that the lead of the film is going to be a white man. As with Matt Damon’s next film, The Great Wall, some people are taking issue with a film that is supposed to center on an Asian cast and Asian culture with a white male lead. It appears to continue the “white savior” trope that has been in many films of the past.
The film is titled The Legend of Mulan and centers on a “white merchant” man instead of the character that the film is based on. As per the blog post:
“The man is a 30-something European trader who initially cares only for the pleasure of women and money. The only reason why he and his entourage decide to help the Chinese Imperial Army is because he sets eyes on Mulan. That’s right. Our white savior has come to the aid of Ancient China due to a classic case of Yellow Fever. In this script written by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, more than half of its pages are dedicated to this merchant who develops a mutual attraction with Mulan and fights to protect her in the ensuing battles. To top it all off, this man gets the honor of defeating the primary enemy of China, not Mulan. Way to steal a girl’s thunder.”
While it’s not definite that this draft of the script will end in the final film, actor Joel de la Fuente confirmed details from the blog post saying:
“I can back you up on what you’re saying. I confirm everything you said about that draft.”
Recent films like The Great Wall, Doctor Strange, and Ghost in the Shell have come under criticism for “whitewashing” roles to include white people instead of Asian leads. In looks like Mulan will fall under the same lens of criticism. Given the success of their other live-action films, Disney is moving forward with the Mulan adaptation. Time will tell if the lead remains as in the script, or if they will mirror the animated film and have an all Asian cast.