When Mulan was released in 1998, it was part of the era known as the "Disney Renaissance," which kicked off with 1989's The Little Mermaid. One of the hallmarks of this period was Disney pushing beyond Eurocentric stories, with movies like The Lion King and Pocahontas. And yet, the original Mulan still held to the Westernized Disney formula, with comedic talking animals and musical numbers. The live-action remake is a chance for Disney to correct that, re-telling the ancient Chinese myth with a more Eastern style of filmmaking. The new Mulan featurette gives viewers a taste of the results.
One of the first steps was casting, and the featurette focuses heavily on those who star in the film. The Chinese-born American actress Liu Yifei, who plays the titular role of Mulan, has had a career spanning nearly two decades, moving from television series to movies. She also has quite a bit of martial arts training, and her stunts in the featurette suggest viewers are in for some killer action sequences.
She's not the only one the featurette highlights. Disney fans will probably already be familiar with Donnie Yen, who starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Yen is a living legend, and director Niki Caro's story of filming his sword work covers just one of the reasons.
Mulan's epic production is a reminder that this was initially meant as a big-screen release forced onto Disney+ as the pandemic continues to keep theaters from fully opening. Though AMC plans to reopen by Sept. 4 when the movie arrives, it will be at one-third capacity, and that's in states where it can open at all. Some states will not allow theaters to open for fear of the virus spiking.
So instead, Mulan will arrive on Disney+, as a "Premier Access" film. Disney+ viewers will have to pay $29.99 to access the movie upon arrival, above and beyond their $6.99/month subscription fee. The good news is, unlike regular PVOD rentals on YouTube, Amazon, and FandangoNow, this will not be for a single 48-hour usage. The price will get fans the right to watch the film whenever they want, so long as they are Disney+ subscribers.
Mulan arrives on Disney+'s Premier Access tier on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020.