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Will Li Shang Be in Disney's Live-Action Mulan?

How the Me Too Movement Influenced Disney to Cut Li Shang's Character From Live-Action Mulan

MULAN, Mulan (left, voice: Ming-Na), Shang, (center, voice: B.D. Wong), 1998. Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection.

Disney's live-action version of Mulan was finally released on Sept. 4, but there is one character who doesn't make an appearance: Li Shang. While the character serves as Mulan's commander-turned-love-interest in the original animated film, he is not in the reboot. Instead, the character is split into two parts with Donnie Yen playing Commander Tung and Yoson An playing a soldier named Chen Honghui, who acts as Mulan's love interest.

So, what is the reason for the switch-up? The film's producer Jason Reed said the #MeToo movement heavily influenced their decision to reimagine the character. "We split Li Shang into two characters. One became Commander Tung, who serves as her surrogate father and mentor in the course of the movie. The other is Honghui who is her equal in the squad," he told Collider in February. "I think particularly in the time of the #MeToo movement, having a commanding officer that is also the sexual love interest was very uncomfortable and we didn't think it was appropriate."

Just as Mulan and Li Shang's characters start off on the wrong foot in the animated film, Chen Honghui's relationship with Mulan in the live-action movie is a slow burn. "As they progress through the training together, they kind of have this unspoken bond about it because they recognize each other's warrior spirit," the New Zealand actor said about his character. "That's how they kind of build their friendship up, to begin with, through the training and acknowledging each other."

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Be sure to tune into the film on Disney+ to see how their relationship pans out.

Image Source: Everett Collection
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