Why Mulan Will Be Disney's First PG-13 Live-Action Remake

Mulan with her bow and arrow

Over the past few years, Disney has made a habit out of producing live-action remakes of its animated blockbusters. This trend began with Maleficent and Cinderella, and the House of Mouse is showing no signs of slowing down, with the next of these remakes being Niki Caro's Mulan. The upcoming blockbuster will not feature any of the original's musical numbers, instead focusing on the war element of the narrative. And Mulan will also be breaking new ground, as it's the first Disney live-action remake that is getting a PG-13 rating. So why the change?

Disney is known for producing family-friend content, especially its animated blockbusters and their respective remakes. But while the OG Mulan was rated PG, the remake will be PG-13. The House of Mouse is at the whims of the MPAA just like any other movie, Niki Caro's version of Mulan got its rating "for sequences of violence." So it looks like the war Hua Mulan was recruited for is the reason why the remake received a harsher rating.

From the looks of Mulan's trailers, you can see how much more action and war scenes will be in Disney's live-action remake. While the original only had a few brief fights, the new one will have multiple battles throughout its runtime. What's more, it will contain plenty of pulse-pounding action, and will even include elements of magic in battle courtesy of the Huns. Those violent scenes are what ultimately landed Mulan with a PG-13 rating.

While Jon Favreau's The Lion King was nearly a shot for shot remake of the original, clearly the Mulan remake is going to make more liberal changes from the source material. As previously mentioned, Disney fans won't be treated to Matthew Wilder and David Zippel's iconic songs like "Reflection" or "Honor to us All." Niki Caro abandoned the musical format to bring higher stakes to the film's wartime setting.

Additionally, there are some major changes happening to Mulan's characters. Eddie Murphy's Mushu is noticeably absent, which is something that fans have taken umbrage with before. Additionally, there is a new villain in Gong Li's evil witch Xian Lang who will learn Mulan's true identity when she's posing as a man. Plus, the title character will be given a younger sister, rather than being her family's only child.

Overall, it looks like Mulan is going to be noticeably more adult oriented than its predecessor. The most common macguffins for comedy are being left out, as well as the iconic Disney songs. As such, the House of Mouse might not be too mad about Mulan getting a PG-13 rating. That might have been director Niki Caro was going for all along, if the movie's trailers are any indication. Still, it's a first for Disney's live-action remakes.

Mulan is set to arrive in theaters on March 27th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.