Trivia / Mulan

Disney Film

  • Actor Allusion:
    • BD Wong stars as Shang, whose love interest disguises herself as a man to join the army. His first film role had been in M. Butterfly - as a man who disguises himself as a woman.
    • Mushu jokes of 'Ah-Chew' as a potential alias for Mulan. Pat Morita, who voiced the Emperor, guest starred on Sanford and Son as a character called Ah-Chew.
    • Yao disguises himself as a woman towards the end. Harvey Fierstein is famous for drag queen performances.
  • Breakaway Pop Hit: "Reflection", which, surprisingly, was Christina Aguilera's first single, and the start of her career. As it's so different from the musical style of the movie, fans are likely to disassociate the two.
  • Creator Backlash: While proud of the film, the grueling hours nearly ended co-director Tony Bancroft's marriage and he swore off directing features for almost twenty years, only returning to co-direct a couple of foreign co-productions.
  • Creator In-Joke: Crickee wears sunglasses at the end, as a nod to Stevie Wonder who sang "True To Your Heart" with 98 Degrees (the song that plays over the end).
  • Cut Song: Two as revealed in the DVD: "Keep 'Em Guessing", originally intended to be Mushu's introduction song, and an opening number filled with Ominous Chinese Chanting.
  • Dawson Casting: Ming Na Wen was in her mid-30s voicing the much younger Mulan.
  • Development Gag:
    • Mulan's dog is named Little Brother - as a nod to one version of the legend where Mulan enlists in the army to save her younger brother.
    • Mulan says "you're...tiny" when she first meets Mushu. This references that Disney execs were unsure about having a dragon as her sidekick, afraid it would be too big and menacing. Once they were told that dragons could be any size in Chinese folklore, Mushu was created.
  • Fake Nationality: While Mulan, Shang, and Chi-Fu = Chinese-Americans, Mushu = African-American; Shan Yu = Irish-Puerto Rican; Chien-Po, Ling, the head Ancestor, and the Emperor = Japanese-Americans; Yao = Jewish-American; Mulan's singing voice = Filipina; Shang's singing voice = Osmond-American; Fa Zhou = Korean-American. On the other hand, they're mostly using American Accents.
  • Image Source:
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Hyper-masculine Yao is voiced by out-loud-and-proud homosexual Harvey Fierstein.
  • Non-Singing Voice: A few.
    • B.D. Wong does the speaking voice of Shang but the singing voice — that is, for "I'll Make a Man Out of You" — would be none other than Donny Osmond. (This in spite of Wong being a Broadway performer with a good singing voice. The Word of God on this is that Donny Osmond's singing voice sounds more like B.D. Wong's speaking voice than his own.)
    • Ming-Na Wen also does Mulan's speaking voice, while her singing is provided by Lea Salonga (who also sang for Princess Jasmine).
    • Marni Nixon sings for Grandma Fa for the character's verse in "Honour To Us All", where her speaking is provided by June Foray.
    • Matthew Wilder, the film's composer (and One-Hit Wonder singer back in the 80s) does Ling's singing voice.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Fa Zhou is seen practicing a form of tai chi called Mulan Quan - which is named after the original Mulan legend.
    • Crickets are indeed considered a symbol of good luck in China.
    • Magnolias serve as a running motif in the movie. Mulan's name translates as "magnolia".
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Donny Osmond jokes that his kids didn't think he had made it in show business until he had worked on a Disney movie.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The full version of the "Reflection" sequence changes the tone of the piece from a quiet, somber, well, reflection to a triumphant action scene. Lea Salonga still performs this full version live.
    • Lea Salonga originally auditioned as Mulan's speaking voice as well. Due to her voice being not considered deep enough to allow Mulan to pass for a boy, she was turned down and Ming Na Wen got cast. However she was retained as the singing voice.
    • Shan-Yu was originally going to have Animal Eye Spy powers via his falcon.
    • According to the audio commentary on the special edition Mulan DVD, Li Shang was considered a dorky guy despite being physically fit due to his inability to talk to Mulan. An example of this would be after she defeats Shan Yu he says "You fight good" in a nervous way.
    • Rachel Portman was originally going to score the movie, but she became pregnant and dropped out; Jerry Goldsmith eventually signed on after he in turn left another project.
    • Bruce Willis was originally cast as Li Shang.
    • Stephen Schwartz was originally attached to write songs for the original Mulan before being let go because of his work on The Prince of Egypt. He was perfectly happy to do both and didn't have an exclusive contract. However, because The Prince of Egypt was a DreamWorks Animation film, the top brass at Disney weren't happy about him working on a DreamWorks Animation film and said that he had to make a choice. He chose to honor his commitment to The Prince of Egypt and says he doesn't regret it. Schwartz had written two songs for the film before being let go. Neither was used. He had also begun work on two other songs. Also, "Written in Stone" is used in Mulan Jr., a children's theater production of Mulan.
    • Tony Bancroft lobbied hard to not make the movie a musical, feeling it was inappropriate, but the higher-ups didn't want to deviate from their then-still-massively successful musical format.
    • Harvey Fierstein almost didn't take the role of Yao, as he didn't want to potentially steal a role for a more deserving Asian actor. He was swayed when he was told that the rest of the cast was predominantly Asian.

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