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    Fa Mulan
    "You don't need a girl like that every dynasty."
    Gender: Female
    Type: Patriotic Amazon
    Age: 16
    Species: Human
    Portrayed by: Ming-Na Wen
    Lea Salonga (singing)
    Jamie Chung (Once Upon a Time)
    Status: Alive
    Media of origin: Mulan (1998)


    Fa Mulan (花木蘭) is the titular main protagonist of Disney's 1998 animated feature film of the same name, the 2004 direct-to-video sequel and the 2020 live-action remake. She is inspired by the legendary Hua Mulan from the Chinese poem "The Ballad of Hua Mulan". She was the eighth official Disney Princess (now the ninth after Anastasia, which was released the year before Mulan, was acquired as part of the acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019), the only one not to be of royal lineage either by birth or marriage. She is the last Disney Princess to be developed during the Disney Renaissance.

    She is voiced by Minga-Na Wen in the animated film and is portrayed by Liu Yifei in the live-action 2020 remake of it and her name will be changed to Hua Mulan.

    Background

    Mulan resides in a small Chinese village with her father, her mother, and her wisecracking grandmother (after whom Mulan takes). She also has a dog named Little Brother. As the standard of the period, Mulan is urged to uphold her family honor by adhering to the status quo set for women of the time. However, she is presented as an outcast. She is clumsy and seeks to finish her household chores by inventing contraptions to do the work in her place (much to the chagrin of her father).

    As a member of the Fa family, Mulan is under the protection of the Fa Family ancestors and the family guardians (which are represented by animals of the Chinese zodiac). By the end of the original Mulan, Mulan's personal guardian is that of Mushu, a diminutive dragon.

    Personality

    At the start of the film, Mulan is introduced as a free-spirited outcast. She is a clumsy girl who cannot follow rules, regulations, or traditions. Despite this, she has a warm heart and wants nothing more than to uphold her family's honor while keeping true to herself. Because of her society, however, this is difficult to accomplish and often brings chaos and embarrassment into her life.

    The driving force of Mulan's journey is the love she has for her father. When her father is drafted to serve in the Emperor's army to defend China, Mulan steals his orders and reports to the camp in his place to protect him as well as to satisfy her desire to prove her own self-worth. She was seen having difficulties with self-confidence due to society's mistreatment towards her and the pressures of the society into which she was born - particularly in the lives of women. Early in the film, whenever she went against sexism and injustice or simply handled a situation in her own, unique way (such as shouting "Present!" when the matchmaker called her name), Mulan was greeted with anger or some form of annoyance from those around her, thus furthering her socially-awkward attitude.

    During her time in camp, Mulan's personality shifts. She proves to be fierce, both physically and mentally, as well as self-reliant, impressionable, and persistent. As she learns the ways of strength and agility, she rises to the top of her class, setting an example for the men surrounding her, and soon earns their respect and friendship. Over time, Mulan gains more confidence, symbolizing her growth, as she becomes more of a mature woman by the film's third act. She can perform successful tactics through quick-thinking and mental observation instead of mere brute strength (something idealized in her camp), eventually saving her fellow soldiers and China on notable occasions. Nevertheless, she retained her humble nature, not once becoming overconfident and boastful, even after becoming a beloved heroine and receiving countless amounts of praise and respect from the very society that continuously opposed her. It wasn't until Mulan returned home and received a loving welcome from her father that she truly emoted her satisfaction over her previous successes, proving her goal, overall, was to uphold her family honor while being true to herself; this being visually and thematically represented by her relationship with her father.

    The sequel shows that Mulan's personality, seen during the latter half of the first film, has remained. Mulan is a responsible young woman, seen as a fearless warrior, leader, and beloved role model among her people, both men, and women. Nevertheless, she is also fun-loving and optimistic, especially when seen with Shang, with whom she had developed a strong, romantic relationship by the start of the second film. The sequel also shows her to be rather laid-back, open-minded, and philosophical, believing in the practice of following one's heart.

    Why She Bought Honor to Us All

    1. She is shown be to be selfless and willing to sacrifice herself for others as she joined the army to save her father.
    2. She has a likable and comical spirit guide dragon called Mushu.
    3. She, along with Mérida and Anastasia, are the toughest of the Disney princess line-up.
    4. Unlike most Disney female roles who are usually damels-in-distresses and naive love interests, Mulan is strong and is willing to face and fight her own conflicts.
    5. Even when she's in danger or distress, she's still able to take on her own battles.
    6. She disguises herself as a male very well and clever.
    7. Her song, Reflection, shows that she's questioning her role as a woman and a future wife.
    8. She is killed over thousands of Huns with one canon via avalanche in order to rescue Shang and what's left of the Imperial Army, not only avenging Shang’s father but the rest of the warriors and villains that died in the hands of the Huns.
    9. She saved all of China, one of the biggest countries in the world, from Shan Yu and his Hun army.
    10. Her love-interest, Li Shang, begins treating her with the respect she deserves as she's shown to be an amazing fighter.
    11. She has been given the label of the “Hero of China”.
    12. She is willing to make up plans as she goes, and they actually work for her which helps her save herself from Shan Yu’s wrath.
    13. She was able to overpower and fight off Shan Yu, a blood-thirsty Hun warrior who's over twice her size.
    14. She's still likable in all other entries outside Mulan II (and the 2020 live-action remake), and she has massively redeemed herself in the Kingdom Hearts video games.

    Bad Qualities

    1. Though she's an official Disney Princess, she neither married nor was born into royalty, which makes her role as a princess very debatable.
    2. She unfortunately was flanderized in 2 cases:
      • While not as bad as Mushu, she was flanderized in Mulan II, where she was an incredibly whiny, selfish, immature, misguided, impulsive, and irresponsible spoiled brat. Thankfully, in the Kingdom Hearts games, she has eventually massively improved her character to the point where she is back to normal.
      • Her live action counterpart was horrendous since she can be a Mary Sue, and she was also flanderized into a dull and overpowered Chosen One from birth. As a result, she ends up as woke pandering than an actual character.

    Differences from Source Material

    • Fa Mulan is based on the character Hua Mulan from the Chinese legend. Much like Arthur Pendragon and Robin Hood, the legend has been immortalized in several poems and ballads, and doesn't have a single author. The Disney animated film made some changes to the legend.
    • Mulan's surname is spelled using the Mandarin pronunciation for "花", which is "Hua". Disney uses the spelling for the Cantonese pronunciation. Thought in different forms of the poem, her last name has been changed but 'Hua' is the most popular. The live action version uses the Hua surname.
    • In the Ming dynasty play Mulan Joins the Army and the Qing dynasty novel Fierce and Filial, she takes the name of her aged father "Hua Hu". In the Qing dynasty novel Biography of Extraordinary Mulan, she goes by "Mulan" while masquerading as a man.
    • According to the Ming dynasty play Mulan Joins the Army, Mulan had a young sister named Munan and a younger brother named Hua Fang (nicknamed Yaoer). Mulan does have a younger sister in the live action version.
    • Mulan was already well versed in archery, swordsmanship, spearmanship, bojutsu, martial arts, and various other forms of hand-to-hand combat; being taught the increasingly numerous and highly useful trades of self-defense from her father.
    • In the Qing dynasty novel Fierce and Filial, she left home to battle in the Wei army at the age of seventeen, and returned home twelve years later at the age of twenty-nine.
    • Mulan gained high merit in her twelve years of fighting as a woman but refused any reward and advisory jobs working for the Emperor that would make her and family prosperously wealthy and rich beyond her dreams. She had desired to return home to take care of her dear father whom she had not seen in twelve long years.
    • Hua Mulan had no sense of awkwardness and fits seamlessly into society whether she is a feminine woman or disguised as a masculine man.
    • Mulan actually liked wearing makeup and wearing feminine hairstyles and opted to wear them after returning home from war.
    • Mulan's identity as a woman was never revealed while in service. Shortly after returning home, her fellow warrior comrades who had served with her came to visit. Though they were stunned to see an extremely beautiful woman instead, and then learned the truth about their good friend and general, they praised her for all she had done for them.
    • Mulan was asked to be a concubine/lover to the Emperor in the Qing dynasty novel Romance of Sui and Tang, but she denied this offer and instead took her own life before she was charged.

    Trivia

    • Aside from Cinderella Tremaine and Anastasia Romanov, she's the only Disney Princess to have a known last name.
    • Mulan is the only Disney Princess of East Asian descent.
    • Her pink bridal outfit is very often confused for a kimono (Japanese), but is actually the Chinese garment hanfu.
    • Mulan is the first Disney Princess to technically not be royalty - she was not born a princess nor did she marry a prince.
      • However, she is noble as military achievements earned nobility titles in China during her time period.
    • Mulan is the last Disney Princess to be introduced in the 20th century.
    • Mulan spends most of the time in her training uniform, her battle armor, or her blue infiltration dress, while in the merchandise, she is shown mostly in her "normal" dress or her pink matchmaker dress.
    • Mulan is the second Disney Princess to have both parents alive and present during the entire film, the first being Aurora in 1959 and the third being Rapunzel in 2010, Merida being the fourth in 2012, and Moana being the fifth in 2016.
    • Mulan means "magnolia blossom" in Chinese. It could also mean "wood orchid".
    • While her name is "Fa Mulan" in the Disney film, in the actual Chinese legend her name is "Hua Mulan", though they are both pronounced similarly (Fa being Cantonese). Her name is "Hua Mulan" in the live action version.
    • Mulan is depicted holding some objects as if she were left-handed, but is seen using the sword in her right hand, so she may be ambidextrous. However, since Chinese martial arts are traditionally taught right-handed, so she may have been trained that way.
    • Originally, the screenwriters planned to have Mulan join the army to get out of her society. Though the way she feels about society is still present in the film, it is not made to be the main point. She seemed selfish and unlikable that way, so screenwriters stuck to the traditional way of her saving her father.
    • Tia Carrere, who later voiced Nani Pelekai in Lilo & Stitch, was considered for the role of Mulan. Lea Salonga (her singing voice) was also considered as her speaking voice, but she was unable to speak in a pitch low enough for Ping, hence Disney settling on Ming-Na Wen.
    • Mulan was featured in the 100th issue of Disney Adventures Magazine.
    • When Mulan disguises herself as a man, her eyelashes and double eyelid disappear and her eyebrows grow thicker, but when she dresses feminine, her eyelashes grow back, her double eyelid comes in again, but her eyebrows remain thick.
    • In the original film, Mulan cut her hair to disguise as a man before heading off into the army. This is despite the fact as Chinese men usually kept their hair long just like the long-haired Chinese women back in Ancient China when the original film took place.
    • Mulan touches her hair a lot because animators noticed that her voice actor, Ming-Na Wen, did.
    • Mulan is, by far, the Disney character (hero or villain) with the highest body count ever. The production team had drawn 2,000 Hun soldiers during the Huns' attack sequence, along with 2,000 more horses. Only six Huns survived to the avalanche and only one of them (Shan Yu) is killed later. This makes Mulan's final body count to 3,994 (Shan Yu is killed by Mushu, rather than Mulan, and not a single horse survived).
    • Mimi Chan did the motion capture for Mulan's martial arts moves.
    • In the Disney Princess line-up and dolls, Mulan is often shown as being more tanned than the others besides Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Tiana. However, in the new 2013 type line-up and their merchandise, Mulan is shown as the palest one, when it should have been Snow White.
    • In the Special Edition DVD audio commentary, it is said that though Mark Henn is her animator, Chris Sanders (Little Brother's animator, who later created and voiced Stitch) was the one who mastered her quirky personality.
    • Mulan is often noted in an audio commentary that she uses her mind to solve problems and with the learning at the camp can use a combination of strength and intelligence.
    • In the deleted part of "Reflection", Mulan says, "they want a docile lamb, no one knows who I am," which is true throughout the first film and sometimes between scenes of Qui Gong and Mulan's marriage in the second film, she claims to have told Li Shang everything.
    • The recoloring of Mulan's redesign may be due to the fact that red and gold were often considered by the Chinese as the colors of communism or because in ancient China, the royal color was gold and red was the color of luck and prosperity.
    • All of Mulan's dresses in the first film had a blue bodice and a red sash.
    • Mulan sings a remix of another song in the play Mulan Jr. called "Written in Stone". She also sings a remix of "Keep 'Em Guessing".
    • On the cover of Mulan II, Mushu is holding a ring (probably an engagement ring), but it is never seen in the film nor given to Mulan, possibly due to Chinese marriage traditions.
    • Her side of the yin and yang necklace is the yang side, associated with masculinity.
    • Although Mulan cuts her hair, it remains long in the Disney Princess merchandise.
    • Mulan is shown in several deleted scenes in which one she is daydreaming of how she wants to demonstrate her adventurous/tomboyish spirit.
    • Mulan's curtain has white ducks or swans on it.
    • Mulan, Moana, and Raya are the only princesses not to have celebrities pose as them for the Disney Dream Portrait Series.
    • Ironically enough, Mulan's voice actress, Ming-Na Wen, made a cameo appearance in the 2020 remake of the film where she portrays an esteemed guest introducing Mulan to the Emperor which is seen at the end of the film, making Wen the only actress from the original 1998 film to participate in the remake, though as a different character.

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