The live-action remake of Disney‘s 1998 classic Mulan hit Disney+ on Sept. 4, but the film came without one of the cartoon's beloved main characters: Li Shang. In the animated film, Li Shang was both Mulan's captain in Chinese Imperial Army and, later, her love interest. If you're wondering why Li Shang isn't in the Mulan live-action remake, you're def not alone.
As Disney fans eagerly awaited the live-action remake, many realized Li Shang's name was not mentionoed in any casting noticies for the 2020 film. This was the first hint fans recieved that the captain would likely not be part of the remake. Without knowing the reason behind the change, many fans expressed displeasure with the decision to remove Li Shang through social media. "without Li Shang and mushu... just throw the entire movie away" user @klarksbell wrote on Twitter.
So, why isn't Li Shang in the movie? Well, it turns out, he is still sort of in the film, according to producer Jason Reed. "We split Li Shang into two characters," he told Collider in February. "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."
The producer went on to cite the #MeToo movement as a driving factor behind their decision. "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."
Yoson An, who plays Honghui, described his and Mulan's relationship dynamics in the same Collider interview. “They start off on the wrong foot, really. As they progress through the training together, they kind of have this unspoken bond about it because they recognize each other’s warrior spirit."
Hongui also hinted that fans shouldn't expect him to be exactly the live version of Li Shang. "I see this film as a different variation from the animated version and the original story of The Ballad of Mulan. I kind of took a different angle from Li Shang’s character ... there is a multi-dimensional layer to him and the audience will be able to see that when they watch the movie."
The Mulan live-action remake is now available on Disney+ for $29.99 on top of the standard $6.99 monthly platform subscription fee.