As details continue to emerge about the forthcoming remake of Disney's 1998 classic, Mulan, recent news that the character Li Shang may not be in Mulan's live-action version has seemingly left fans of the film clouded in a lot of emotion — particularly because fans have long regarded Shang as an iconic bisexual figure. Rumors surrounding the highly-anticipated reboot and its characters have been circulating throughout the web for quite some time. However, it starting to become increasingly clearer that the chatter of Shang's departure may actually prove to be factual. (Bustle reached out to Disney for comment on Li Shang's reported exclusion from the film, but has not yet received a response.)
The Twitter account @nerdyasains posted a Mulan casting call on Twitter on April 16, which quickly went viral. The post read:
saddened to report it’s basically been confirmed that li shang will not be in the live-action mulan.
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.
The tweet posted an image of a curious description for a character who goes by the name of Chen Honghui. Meanwhile, the website Backstage.com shares that Honghui's part will be a lead role in which casting directors are looking for someone in their 20s who is "strapping, cocky and handsome" and can speak "fluent English and Mandarin Chinese."
Sharing more about the character's background, the casting description continues: "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." The casting details share that Honghui will initially be Mulan's "chief rival" but indicates that Honghui is not immediately aware that she is woman. It continues,
"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."
Although many tidbits still remain scarce ahead of the movie's scheduled 2020 release, if this is true, it seems like the remake will divert quite a bit from the storyline of its original version. While no official news on the matter has been divulged, the recent casting call reveals that the live-action remake has plans to unveil a new love interest for the film's titular character, which fans feel will ultimately leave Shang's beloved character left behind.
Despite being excited about the film's return, fans are seemingly not here for Li Shang's departure, if this news is indeed true. Many took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the new movie's direction.
While its still unclear who is going to be cast in the role of Honghui, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that actor Gong Li has signed on to play a witch, who will apparently the villain of the new movie. The character is notably another new addition to the movie's storyline as the original version featured Shan Yu as the leader of the Huns as the animation's primary antagonist.
It seems that these new characters won't be the only appendages to the cinema's storyline as THR shares that the live-action remake will also introduce viewers to Mulan's sister, who will played by actor Xana Tang. As for other casting choices, it has been reported that Liu Yifei aka Crystal Liu will play the lead role of Mulan, while its been reported that Disney also recently cast Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Mulan's mentor in the Chinese military. Though not officially announced as a cast member, THR also indicates that Jet Li is reportedly in final talks with the studio to play the emperor of China.
While details surrounding the new film surely sound exciting, fans seemingly have not been thrilled about the changes in casting along with the idea that this time around, Mulan might not be a musical. Many were also disappointed to learn that Mulan's release date had been pushed back to on March 27, 2020.
Whether or not the Li Shang news is true, Mulan seems to be shaping up for a triumphant return in its remake.