Rumors that Disney’s live-action Mulan will cast a white male lead has sparked a Twitter protest calling to #MakeMulanRight. The Mulan report comes from an anonymously-published open letter posted on the blog Angry Asian Man. The writer alleges that The Legend of Mulan, the spec script Disney purchased for their live-action adaptation, changes both the story and the crucial message of 1998’s animated classic. As Told By Hypable.
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— Hanna Flint (@HannaFlint) October 10, 2016
Having read the spec script by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, the author writes that the Legend of Mulan introduces “a white merchant” whose “business brings him to the heart of a legendary Asian conflict.” The merchant “unwittingly helps save the day while winning the heart of the Asian female.”
— Kim Horcher (@kimscorcher) October 10, 2016
To make matters worse, the white hero (presumably displacing the iconic young captain Li Shang) apparently perpetuates anti-Asian stereotypes.
“The man is 30-something European trader who initially cares only for the pleasure of women and money,” the open letter states. “The only reason why he and his entourage decide to help the Chinese Imperial Army is because he sets eyes on Mulan.”
— Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana) October 10, 2016
Inspired fans have begun tweeting in protest, using the hashtag #MakeMulanRight. Their efforts seem to be needed — allegedly, “more than half” of the focus of the script focuses on the merchant.
Mulan is unequivocally the best princess movie Disney has ever made & I’m going to be so mad if they add a white boy in there for no reason
— MeGHOUL MacKORPSE???? (@mmmegan) October 10, 2016
The new character apparently “develops a mutual attraction with Mulan and fights to protect her in the ensuing battles. To top it all off, this man gets the honor of defeating the primary enemy of China, not Mulan. Way to steal a girl’s thunder,” the writer observes.
— ?? (@Juanito29434) October 10, 2016
While Mulan’s romantic feelings for Shang are an important part of the animated movie, Mulan’s motivations are always grounded in her desire to understand her true identity and do what is right. At the end of the film, Mulan and Shang share not a kiss, but an affectionate glance.
— Ben B. Singer (@benbsinger) October 10, 2016
Of course, movie scripts can evolve greatly from their earliest incarnations to the finished film.
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