Disney has a large library of animated movies, and many of the ones from before the year 2000 have either been adapted for live action in recent years or will receive such treatment in the future. We can count Mulan on this list, and while we'll have to wait a little longer for it to arrive in theaters, the Mouse House is moving ahead with assembling the cast. Until today, the only actor who'd been cast in the live action Mulan movie was Liu Yifei, a.k.a. Crystal Liu, who will play the eponymous protagonist. Now word has come in that one of her co-stars will be Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's Donnie Yen.
According to Deadline, Donnie Yen has been cast in Mulan as Commander Tung, who will be the heroine's mentor and teacher. While Yen, an accomplished martial artist, is arguably most famous internationally for starring in the Ip Man film series, American audiences likely know him best for playing the blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One. With Yen now part of the Mulan cast, this marks his second collaboration with the Disney "family." Yen's other recent cinematic appearances include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny and xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
Donnie Yen was one of Rogue One's highlights, so I'm looking forward to seeing him as one of Mulan's principal characters. It is worth noting, though, that there wasn't a Commander Tung in Disney's original Mulan. In the animated movie, Mulan served directly under Captain Li Shang, and his father, General Li, briefly appeared, but was later slaughtered alongside his troops by Shan Yu's army. Disney's recent live action adaptations have varied from being relatively straightforward remakes to taking major creative liberties. It's too soon to tell which camp Mulan falls into, but the addition of this Commander Tung at least indicates that this won't be exactly like the Mulan we watched on the big screen 20 years ago.
Disney's live action Mulan movie was first announced back in 2015, and in February of 2017, The Zookeeper's Wife director Niki Caro was tapped to helm the adaptation. Caro will be the second female director Disney has hired to direct a movie with a budget exceeding $100 million, Ava DuVernay preceding her with A Wrinkle in Time. While music will still play an important role in the new Mulan movie, it remains to be seen if this project will be a musical like the animated tale or go in a different direction.
Mulan will be released in theaters on March 27, 2020, putting it in competition with Paramount Pictures' G.I. Joe reboot that opening weekend. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates about the movie, and if you're curious what other live action adaptations Disney has in the works, check out our handy guide.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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