Disney is remaking its 1998 animated hit Mulan into a live-action film in the vein of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, and we're prepared for the new take on the classic story to make some changes. That's the point of a remake, right? While not having certain characters and adding in new ones, as well as tweaking main events, is all well and good, part of what made us fall in love with the original film was its incredible soundtrack. So, will the new film, due out in 2020, be a musical? The "Reflection"-less trailer has us a little nervous.
"We're still exploring the role that music's going to play in it, but for sure there will be music."
Director Niki Caro caused quite a stir back in 2017 by saying that the upcoming version will not include songs: "From what I understand, no songs right now, much to the horror of my children." Panic broke out across the planet, and Caro later clarified her comments. "The live-action is based on that inspirational Chinese ballad and on the animated Disney classic," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're still exploring the role that music's going to play in it, but for sure there will be music," she said.
While the Mulan trailer includes stunning landscape shots and an epic battle sequence, the lack of the 1998 animated film's most popular songs, written by composer Matthew Wilder and lyricist David Zippel — like the aforementioned "Reflection" and "I'll Make a Man Out of You" — naturally has fans confused. As far as we know, music will play a much smaller role in the reboot, like in the recent live-action imagining of Dumbo (which only features one of its predecessor's iconic songs).
Instead, it looks like Caro's vision will weave the popular songs into the film by playing instrumental versions of the tracks in certain scenes. If the only reason you're looking forward to the reboot is for the music, this will no doubt come as a disappointment, but rest assured that Caro is bringing us something original rather than a shot-for-shot remake the way other live-action reboots have been thus far. By all accounts, the film looks like it'll be an empowering action movie of major cultural significance. Who wouldn't want to see that?
However, don't rule out musical surprises entirely! After all, the star of the film, Yifei Liu, comes from a singing background. The 31-year-old actress released a single in Japan in 2006 and a debut album that same year in certain parts of Asia. Perhaps in between slaying her enemies as Mulan we'll get to hear her hum a few tunes.