There's a lot of things about the upcoming live-action Mulan remake that has been bothering fans of the original animated classic. For example, people are miffed that the new Disney film will not feature any of the songs that appeared in the first movie and that there will be no singing involved at all. In addition to that, it has been revealed that Mushu, the tiny dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy that served as Hua Mulan's guide in the 1998 flick, will be replaced by a completely different animal. However, the one thing that fans are truly unhappy about is the absence of Li Shang.
There is little doubt that Li Shang was a truly important part of the original Mulan. After all, he was the one who trained Hua Mulan and somehow ended up being attracted to the young woman who was pretending to be a man. Needless to say, Li Shang was also a significant part of fans' childhood as he was declared a bisexual icon and was even voiced by BD Wong. Despite all the excitement to see a live-action version of the character, it has been revealed that Li Shang would not be part of the new Mulan film.
So what exactly happened to Li Shang? The truth has been revealed by Mulan producer Jason Reed, who explained to Collider that the character is still somehow present in the movie. However, his role has been divided and given to two different characters who are close to Hua Mulan.
"We split Li Shang into two characters," Reed stated. "One became Commander Tung who serves as her surrogate father and mentor in the course of the movie, the other is Honghui who is [Mulan's] equal in the squad."
It's an interesting change that splits the character into two very specific roles. Commander Tung is played by Donnie Yen and is decidedly more authorative than Li Shang. On the other hand, Yoson An plays a fellow soldier who becomes interested in Hua Mulan.
So why change Li Shang in the first place? Jason Reed pointed out that it has a lot to do with the changing times. "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," he stated.
Mulan is scheduled for release on March 27.