Mulan stands apart from most of Disney’s live-action remakes of recent years because it’s not a slavish recreation of the animated original. Gone are the songs, Mushu the wise-cracking dragon and even most of the supporting cast. However, there is one brilliant connection to the 1998 film that fans will love, even if they might not spot it. I’m talking about a brief, blink-and-you’ll miss it cameo from the original Mulan, Ming-Na Wen.
After Yifei Lui’s heroine has thwarted an assassination attempt on Jet Li’s Emperor of China, she’s due to be introduced to the ruler and thanked for her courage. As she’s led into a grand throne room, a woman appears and introduces her to the Emperor. “Your imperial highness, Hua Mulan,” she says, before exiting. As you can see in the screenshot below, this character is played by Wen.
Interestingly, Wen also got her daughter a part in this same scene. A few moments later, once Mulan has been introduced to the Emperor, a young girl who’s shown to give an “oh my!” reaction is the actress’ daughter. Wen’s involvement in the movie was not previously revealed, of course, and now we understand why she was at the world premiere of the film back in March.
Cinematographer Mandy Walker revealed to Insider that achieving Wen’s cameo was a stressful affair, as they had to fly the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. star over to New Zealand where the remake was shot and then had to get her costume ready in time, but it was worth it to pull off this connection to the old movie that means a lot to fans.
Mulan is available on Disney Plus from today via the service’s Premier Access label for an additional cost of $29.99. It will then be made free to stream for subscribers in three months’ time on December 4th.