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~ The Emperor of China to Li Shang about who Mulan is.
♫When will my refection show who I am... inside...?♫
~ Fa Mulan singing.
I think you girls are stronger than you know.
~ Fa Mulan to Sofia, Amber and Jun.
Sometimes your song can't start until you go someplace to reflect.
~ Mulan to Vanellope.
Fa Mulan (Chinese: 花木蘭) is the titular protagonist of Disney's 36th full-length animated feature film of the same name and its sequel, and its 2020 remake and later making a cameo in the Sofia the First series and Wreck-it Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet.
In the animated movie in 1998, she is the 8th Disney Princess in the official lineup.
In the 2020 live-action re-make, she is portrayed by Liu Yifei in the live-action reboot of Mulan, and she was also portrayed by Jamie Chung, who also played Go Go Tomago in Big Hero 6, in the television series Once Upon a Time. In Japanese dub from the movie, she is voiced by Eri Ito, who also voiced Belle in Disney Beauty and the Beast and singing Queen Erika in Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper and Mayumi Suzuki.
Unlike the previous Disney Princesses who were feminine, sweet, caring, classy, clever, kind, and gentle, 18-year-old Mulan is tomboyish and is more courageous, strong and self-reliant. And while most Chinese women at the time were expected to be graceful, quiet, and shy, Mulan was independent and outspoken. However, Mulan can be a bit clumsy, like when she tries to impress a matchmaker. She is tough, smart, intelligent, selfless, and determined, especially when it comes to joining the army in her father's place to save his life and her family, showing Captain Li Shang how brave a warrior she is, and defending China and the Emperor from Shan Yu and the invading Huns.
Her character was praised by critics and audiences and is one of those Disney heroines who broke the gender barriers.
Martial Arts: As part of her training, Mulan displays mastery over kung fu and eventually becomes very proficient in hand-to-hand fighting.
Swordsmanship: Mulan possesses skills in the use of her father's sword and is an expert swordswoman, easily holding her own against even Shan Yu.
Marksmanship: Mulan has developed skills with ranged weaponry, from using bows and arrows to gunpowder cannons.
Expert Rider: Mulan is an excellent equestrian, further enhanced by her bond with her loyal steed Khan.
Strategist: Mulan is intelligent, cunning, and resourceful, shown on several occasions. This is seen when she was first to climb a pole and retrieve an arrow embedded in the top successfully during her training. Knowing her unit was vastly outnumbered, she was able to quickly think of using the last cannon to cause an avalanche to wipe out the entire Hun army, quite literally stopping them cold. She later lured Shan Yu into Mushu's firing range and when she pulled out her fan, she acted as though she was in shock from having nothing left to fight with, when all along she planned to disarm him with it.
Mulan is the only child of Fa Zhou, a former war veteran, and Fa Li. Mulan is forced to go to the town Matchmaker to find her a husband, which ends in humiliating failure. Shortly after, the Chinese Emperor's counsellor, Chi-Fu, arrives in her village to announce that the deadly Huns, led by Shan Yu, have invaded China and that one man in every family must serve in the war. Despite her protests, her father says that he will go in spite of his old age and old war wounds. Mulan decides to go in his place posing as a man, cutting her long hair with a sword, stealing her father's armor and riding away on her horse, Khan, so she will keep him from risking his life.
On her way to the army camp, Mulan meets Mushu, a small red dragon who claims to be a guardian sent by her ancestors. He agrees to help her pass as a soldier. Though Mulan fails the army training at first, she uses her intelligence and becomes the first soldier to solve a puzzle set by Li Shang, her unit's commanding officer. Afterwards, she rapidly progresses to become one of the best soldiers in the unit. She also befriends Yao, Ling and Chien Po, three fellow soldiers, though she is forced to hide her gender. Through the machinations of Mushu, the soldiers are called to the war front.
After finding that the Chinese Army, led by Shang's father General Li, has been completely destroyed by the Huns, Shang leads Mulan and the other soldiers to stop them. Despite the unit being outnumbered, Mulan can defeat the Huns by starting an avalanche and burying them by way of the last rocket in the army. She sustains an injury from Shan-Yu, which results in her true gender being revealed. She is spared death, the punishment for a woman joining the army, as Shang's way of repaying the debt from Mulan rescuing him during the previous battle.
Mulan is left behind by the army and prepares to return home. However, she discovers that Shan Yu and his five generals have survived and are heading towards the Imperial City. Mulan attempts to warn Shang, but she is ignored because she is a woman. However, when Shan Yu captures the Emperor, Shang, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po join her in a rescue attempt. Mulan disguises herself, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po as concubines and takes out the Hun guards, allowing Shang to reach Shan Yu and the Emperor. Yao, Ling and Chien Po escape with the Emperor, but Mulan remains behind after Shang is knocked unconscious by Shan Yu.
She reveals herself to the ruthless leader of the Huns as the soldier who took down most of his army, which angers Shan Yu. While running from Shan Yu, she comes up with a plan to kill him utilizing fireworks. While Mushu goes to get the fireworks, Mulan faces Shan Yu on the roof of the Emperor's palace. She disarms him with a paper fan and uses his sword to pin him to the roof, allowing Mushu to fire fireworks at Shan Yu, presumably killing him. Mulan is oppressed by Chi Fu for the final time when he arrogantly says that as a woman, she is unworthy of being called a hero or being worth anything.
Mulan is then confronted by the Emperor with her various crimes, having heard about them from Chi Fu. At the same time, he acknowledges that she saved all of China and bows to her out of respect. His gesture results in all the gathered people bowing as well. The Emperor first offers Mulan a council position then a job as consul, both of which Mulan refuses. The Emperor instead gifts her with his crest and Shan Yu's sword. Mulan returns home and can reconcile with her father. The end of the film shows Mulan inviting Shang, who had followed Mulan under the guise of returning her helmet, to dinner.
Taking place one month later, Li Shang, now promoted from Captain to General, proposes to Mulan, and they begin preparing for their wedding. However, the Emperor tasks them both with escorting his three daughters to the neighboring Chinese kingdom of Qui Gong in an attempt to form an alliance. Should the alliance fail, the Mongols would invade China just like the Huns did.
Mulan and Shang ask Yao, Ling, and Chien Po to accompany them. Shang and Mulan's relationship becomes somewhat strained during the trip, as the couple has differing views on various issues, particularly on the subject of the arranged marriages the princesses are being forced into. Meanwhile, Mushu is informed that if Mulan marries Shang, he would cease to be a guardian, instead of being returned to his former job of Gong Ringer. Mushu takes advantage of Mulan and Shang's differences and tries to break them up. However, Mulan soon discovers Mushu's plans and tries to reconcile with Shang.
Before she can talk to Shang, bandits attack the group. Shang and Mulan can save the princesses but are left hanging from a broken bridge. Shang chooses to sacrifice himself, as the bridge can only support one. Mulan and the princesses continue towards Qui Gong. Seeing that the princesses have fallen in love with Yao, Ling and Chien Po, and believing that Shang is dead, Mulan prepares to offer herself as a bride in their places. However, Shang is revealed to have survived his fall and travels to stop her. Mushu can fix things by masquerading as the Golden Dragon of Unity and forces the King to stop the wedding. The joyful princesses are released from their vows, and Shang and Mulan are informally married. They later hold an actual wedding at the Fa family home, although it is not known how much time has passed.
At the end of the film, it is revealed that Mulan has told Shang about Mushu and that Shang has combined the family temples, allowing Mushu to remain a trusted advisor and guardian to Mulan; much to the Ancestors' chagrin and annoyance.
Sofia the First
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Cameos and other appearances
Mulan made appearances in the House of Mouse television series and the direct-to-video release Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse. In "Ask Von Drake", Mulan was seen with Mushu and Cri-Kee during the headcount of all the Disney character guests. In "Salute to Sports", Mulan briefly appeared on stage with Donald to give a martial arts demonstration.
Mulan was also set to make an appearance in the abandoned short, Princess Academy. One piece of concept art for the project shows her elegantly descending a flight of stairs, behind Jane Porter.
Mulan appears in the 2020 live action remake Mulan as the main protagonist. Her last name is changed to "Hua" in order to avoid contradicting the original ballad of Mulan.
Fa Mulan is one of the two Disney Princesses to have her singing voice done by Lea Salonga. The other being Jasmine.
In Once Upon A Time, she is the only princess who has been presented LGBT, as she crushes on Aurora, changing her sexuality.
In the ballad of Hua Mulan, Mulan had a brother while in the Disney version, she has a grandmother featured in the movie.
In the 2020 remake of the 1998 Disney movie, Mulan has a younger sister.
Despite her status as a Pure Good heroine, Mulan possibly has one of the highest kill count for a Disney character, as she buried alive a whole Hun army, from which only six men survived with none of their horses, with an avalanche she caused. However, she did it to save her friends and China, as had not been for her idea, her friends and herself would have surely been all killed by Shan Yu and his Huns.
Fa Mulan's song "Reflection" is very similar to Hercules' song, "Go the Distance" from the 1997 Disney movie, Hercules.