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Who Is the Legendary Warrior that Inspired Disney’s Mulan?

Who is that girl we see?



Most of us know Mulan as the Disney princess who disguised herself as a man, took the place of her ailing father in the army and fought in the war against the invaders. More of a warrior than a princess, Mulan was the empowering female hero that the world deserved. She was also the first Asian protagonist in a Disney animated film.


However, a little research will tell you that the story of Mulan wasn’t just another tale crafted by Disney. A Chinese legend called The Ballad of Mulan recounts the heroic deeds of Hua Mulan, a female warrior who rallied behind her nation during the war. This poem is what inspired Disney to come up with the animated film that shaped many a millennial’s childhood.


Fast forward to the present: more than two decades after its release, Mulan is now getting a live-action adaptation. While you wait for the movie to hit the cinemas this year, here’s a primer on the legendary warrior that inspired Disney’s Mulan.


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The Many Faces of Mulan

Mulan’s tale has seen several versions, including a play and a historical novel. It’s no surprise then that there are slight variations in the way Mulan’s story is told in the original legend and Disney’s iteration. 


For one, Disney’s Mulan is portrayed as an inexperienced fighter, without any prior knowledge or training in weapon handling or physical combat, whereas Mulan from the Chinese folktale can give someone a run for their money with her expert skills in archery and Wushu.



The reason Mulan, the animated heroine, goes to the battlefield is to prove her worth to her parents and to make up for the disappointments she thinks she has caused them. Thus, Mulan sings her heart out, “When will my reflection show who I am inside?” Meanwhile, the original Mulan goes to war because of Chinese traditions: it was part of her filial duty as the only offspring to represent her father, who could no longer serve in the army. 


Regardless of which version you find you have a soft spot for, the plot of Mulan, as well as the values it puts front and center, remain the same across all versions. It’s a story that tells of courage, bravery, perhaps most importantly, love for family.


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What About the 2020 Live-Action?

It’s impossible not to talk about the boycott that is tailing the film, but there remains a number of Mulan fans who continue to wait on the edge of their seats for the remake to hit the big screen. 


The live-action remake promises to delight audiences anew, this time with plenty of action scenes and a few new additions to the lineup of characters—including a powerful witch, a soldier who would capture Mulan’s heart and a sibling. Bad news await for Mushu fans, though: Mulan’s spirit guardian dragon will not be making a comeback.


And what of the music? Disney has said that the well-loved tracks (who doesn’t know the lyrics to Reflection and I’ll Make a Man Out of You?) won’t be a part of the upcoming film—we’re still hoping for a change in direction. But with the majority clamoring to hear the signature songs in the live-action film, we’re going out on a limb and say that Mulan just won’t be the same without the musical touch.


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See Mulan Again in Theatres 

This year, Mulan is coming back to life once again to lift everyone up with hope, honesty and a whole lot of emotion. But in case you find yourself a little impatient to see your childhood heroine on the big screen again, how about soaking up a few other Disney offerings over on Netflix to ease the wait? Sit back, relax and bask in your animated and live-action favorites by activating your Netflix account with ThePLAN.


To get started, simply sign up for a new Globe Postpaid Plan or set up Netflix with your existing Postpaid account. If the kid in you starts feeling nostalgic, head to the Globe Shop for quality merchandise featuring your most loved Disney characters!



Art Matthew Fetalver

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