Disney's upcoming live-action remake of 1998 animated flick "Mulan" has been embroiled in controversy since it was first announced. Now, fans are up in arms once again, this time over reports that a beloved character from the original film won't appear in the new version.
Though nothing has been confirmed by Disney itself yet, the film's official casting call -- which went out over a year ago, but has recently been circulating online -- does not include Li Shang, Mulan's military commander and eventual love interest. This time around, that latter role will be filled by a new character named Chen Honghui.
Here's the character breakdown, according to the casting call:
In his 20s, must be able to speak fluent English and Mandarin Chinese; strapping, cocky and handsome, Honghui is another recruit who joins Commander Tung's unit, and he's determined to be the best soldier in human history. Full of himself, with a mean, bullying stream to him, he quickly realizes that Mulan is his chief rival, but he does not realize that she is a woman. Grittily determined to be simply the best at everything, Honghui is increasingly peeved by Mulan's ability to match or out-maneuver him. But after learning that his rival is a woman, his intense feelings of rivalry turn into something very different, something like love.
While the film is certainly trying to differentiate itself from its predecessor in many ways (most notably by including lots of new characters and downplaying the use of music), Shang's exclusion is an especially tough change for some fans to swallow, since he's considered by some to be a bisexual icon. (His character has a pretty charged relationship with Mulan's male alter ego, Ping, which blossomed into romance once the heroine's true identity was revealed.)
saddened to report it's basically been confirmed that li shang will not be in the live-action mulan.— nerdy (@nerdyasians) April 16, 2018
the mulan casting call has been confirmed to be accurate. donnie yen was cast as "commander tung," who is in the description for "chen honghui."
rest in peace bisexual icon. pic.twitter.com/7El8TDhJg5
i'm disgusted. disney is obviously still mad they accidentally made li shang bisexual, so they're REMOVING ANY POSSIBILITY that "chen" is seen as bisexual. they make it clear he HATES mulan the whole time she's presenting male. he bullies her up until he finds out she's a woman. https://t.co/vsj5B9uDGp— princess mizzy 🌹 (@hellomizzyy) April 16, 2018
li shang was only harsh on mulan (ping) at the beginning because ping appeared to be trouble and hold the troop back, but as mulan proved herself worthy in wits and combat on the battlefield the Bisexual Legend Li Shang saw ping as his equal (and also fell in love)— it is i, the binchiest bi, (@ejnoodles) April 17, 2018
when u wanna support the upcoming mulan remake bc disney cast a gorgeous, talented actress who's actually chinese to play mulan but they're also replacing bisexual icon li shang with a random misogynistic dude who'll overshadow mulan's journey & add 0 good elements to the story pic.twitter.com/N88ZKz5am8— gabi (@harleivy) April 17, 2018
The Huffington Post has reached out to Disney for comment on the matter, but has yet to receive a response. We'll update this post if and when they do.
"Mulan" is due in theaters on March 27, 2020.
[via: HuffPost Entertainment]