On the whole, I’d say that fans have been pretty positive about the prospect of a live-action Mulan. If you take out any political aspects of the behind-the-scenes stuff, it seems like many agree it’s different enough to justify a retelling, but similar enough to bring back that heavy dose of nostalgia fans love. But if there was one odd complaint fans had from the trailer, it had to do with the apparent lack of Li Shang.
In the animated film, Li Shang served as the captain of Mulan’s army, as well as the love interest of Mulan. This became apparent when the new “captain” (in this case, a commander) was played by the much older Donnie Yen, and the love interest seemed to be a different character altogether.
“We split Li Shang into two characters,” producer Jason Reed confirmed to One became Commander Tung (Donnie Yen) who serves as her surrogate father and mentor in the course of the movie. The other is Honghui (Yoson An) who is [Mulan’s] equal in the squad.”
So, what’s the reason for this change?
“I think particularly in the time of the #MeToo movement, having a commanding officer that is also the sexual love interest was very uncomfortable and we didn’t think it was appropriate.”
Hm…That’s an interesting bit of reasoning. I guess from a certain perspective that makes sense. They probably don’t want to even remotely imply that a romantic relationship could occur between a soldier and a commander, as there is a power dynamic that could be kind of awkward to skirt around. Instead, they will focus on two soldiers on equal power footing.
“They start off on the wrong foot, really. As they progress through the training together, they kind of have this unspoken bond about it because they recognize each other’s warrior spirit. That’s how they kind of build their friendship up to begin with, through the training and acknowledging each other.”
Of course, some fans on the web aren’t taking too kindly to this response. In their eyes, nixing Shi Lang misunderstands the #MeToo movement, and that part of the point is that he learns about the strength of someone who is both a subordinate and female. I can certainly see that perspective as well, but don’t see a problem with the love interest being shifted to a fellow soldier.
But what do you think? Do you agree with the producer or the outraged? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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