Fun Facts about Disney's "Mulan"

Updated on May 18, 2017
kbdressman profile image

Katie graduated with both a BA in Chemistry from BYU and a BA in Spanish from UVU in 2016. She will graduate from medical school in 2020.

Disney redesigned Mulan in 2013, which attracted some controversy.
Disney redesigned Mulan in 2013, which attracted some controversy. | Source

Controversies

  • It is rumored that Mulan led to the Chinese government lifting a ban against all Disney movies that was implemented after the 1996 release of Kundun, a film that was sympathetic to the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama. Mulan was shown in over 100 cities throughout China when it was released in 1999.
  • In 2013, Mulan was redesigned as being more light-skinned and with blue eyes. Her clothing didn’t match anything she wore in the movie. This sparked some controversy for Disney. People believed that the company was sending the wrong message that you had to have Caucasian features to be a princess or appear beautiful. Her original red and gold clothing were chosen because they represent luck and prosperity. They may have been changed because they could be interpreted as representing communism. Disney responded to the negative response by darkening her skin, changing her clothes to match the film more closely, and changing her eyes back to brown.

Origin of the Story

The film is based on the Ballad of Mulan, which was written in the 6th century. According to the legend, Mulan was a real woman (veracity unknown) who lived during the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534) and fought against the Mongolian and Nomadic invaders with the Chinese army for 12 years. The setting suggests that she would have practiced in the art of kung fu and sword fighting. The story specifically describes Fa Mulan, also known as Hua Mulan, as a woman who was comfortable with archery and riding horses. This is at odds with the Disney adaptation; the titular character was unskilled with weaponry and clumsy in military drill exercises.

The Ballad of Mulan was lengthened into a book during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644.) It was unique for its time as it discussed gender equality. This commentary made the story popular over time.

How Mulan Is Different From Other Heroines

  • She is left-handed, which is often a symbol of being different.
  • She is the first Disney Princess to not be an actual princess as she wasn’t born to royalty. She also didn’t marry a prince.
  • She’s also the first Disney Princess to be raised by her biological parents for her entire childhood and the second to have both of her parents alive during her childhood. The first was Aurora.
  • She is the second Princess to be seen wearing pants. The first was Jasmine.
  • She’s the first Princess to not sing about her love for a hero or prince.
  • She is the first Princess to be seen getting a haircut in a Disney movie.
  • She is the first Princess to be visibly, physically wounded.

Mulan's hanfu
Mulan's hanfu | Source

Clothing

  • Mulan is the first Disney Princess to be seen in her undergarments and the third to be seen naked; the first two were Ariel and Cinderella.
  • Of all the Disney Princesses, she spends the most screen time nude. The nudity is covered as it’s a family movie.
  • She is the only Disney Princess to have a wedding dress that isn’t white; she wears a more traditional red dress. In Chinese culture, red represents prosperity and love.
  • Many viewers confuse her outfit for a Japanese kimono instead of the Chinese hanfu she is actually wearing.

Keep 'Em Guessing

Soundtrack

  • A cover song made it higher on the charts than any of the original songs. No singles from the soundtrack made the Hot 100 charts, but Christina Aguilera’s cover of Reflection reached #19 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
  • Two original songs were deleted from the soundtrack. Unlike other Disney films with deleted tracks, the soundtrack has not been re-released to include those tracks.
  • Keep ‘Em Guessing was removed when Eddie Murphy was cast as Mushu. However, it was released as a special feature on the DVD release of Mulan II. Eddie Murphy couldn’t do the voice for Mushu in that film because of his contract for Shrek 2.
  • The song Written in Stone was replaced by Reflections. It was released in the stage performance Mulan Jr.

Written in Stone

Tradition Behind Shang's Military Techniques

  • The act of punishing the entire camp for a single soldier’s mistake is a common technique used to prevent sympathy for a soldier if they were singled out. It taught recruits that troublemakers were not welcome. This was used by Shang when he made the army pick up all the spilled rice, effectively turning the men against Mulan.
  • It was also common for leaders to single out smart mouths and humiliate them. This was done to dissuade others from agreeing with them or befriending them. Shang does this by telling Yao to retrieve the arrow at the top of the pole.

Source

Meaning Behind the Character's Names

  • Mulan means magnolia blossom in Chinese. This makes the scene where her father compares her to a beautiful, but late blooming, blossom even more meaningful.
  • Ancient Chinese legends describe three kings named Yao, Shun, and Yu. It’s no accident that the self-appointed leader of Mulan’s three friends is named Yao.
  • Fa Ping, Mulan’s name when disguised as a man, means flower pot. This is slang for either eye candy or for an effeminate homosexual man. This explains the jokes the soldiers make in regards to Mulan and her lack of masculinity. It also adds comedy to Mushu’s complaint about his best friend, also named Fa Ping, stealing his girlfriend.
  • Shang’s name in the Mandarin version is Xiang, which means to soar. It is pronounced like this by General Li in the original English version of the film.
  • Khan, the name of Mulan’s horse, translates to prince.

Shang and Mulan's Yin Yang Necklace

In Taoist philosophy, yin represents female, darkness, earth, passiveness, tiger, winter, moon, cold, and death. Yang, the opposite of yin, represents masculinity, light, sky, activity, dragon, summer, sun, heat, and life. Together, they represent balance. The symbols for yin and yang includes a small piece of the other. This represents the idea that nothing is entirely its own self but rather a balance of both.

When Mulan and Shang share a yin yang necklace, Mulan actually keeps the yang, or masculine, half. This may have been done to show that Shang’s gentle nature and Mulan’s tomboyish personality complement each other.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • lawrence01 profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

        I haven't come across Mulan before but her story sounds intriguing. Kind of reminds me of Joan of Arc

        Lawrence

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)