Why Disney’s Live-Action ‘Mulan’ Doesn’t Feature Mushu The Dragon

The reptilian character was voiced by Eddie Murphy in the animated film.
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Mushu was Mulan's companion sent by the ancestors in the animated classic
Mushu was Mulan’s companion sent by the ancestors in the animated classic

As fans of the beloved original will no doubt have noticed, Mushu, the little dragon is noticeably absent in the trailers for ’s live-action retelling of Mulan. The reason is that he is not a part of the upcoming film, and the reason for that has been revealed.

The animated 1998 film featured Mushu (voiced by the phenomenal ), a tiny goofy dragon sent by the ancestors to watch over the title character as she embarks on her journey of bravery and self-sacrifice.

Mushu the dragon
Mushu the dragon

Mushu’s unending antics and his hilarious persona made him a welcome comic relief and his significant contribution to the plot also added to his overall appeal to fans.


Director Niki Caro

It is for the above reasons that the reptilian character will not be seen in the Niki Caro live-action remake as she says that he is “irreplaceable” and that there is a spiritual representative of the ancestors in this film but two rather than one.

I think we can all appreciate that Mushu is irreplaceable. You know, the animated classic stands on its own in that regard. In this movie, there is a creature representative–a spiritual representation of the ancestors, and most particularly of Mulan’s relationship with her father. But an update of Mushu? No.

… So, on the left and right hand of the emperor, there is a dragon. The dragon is representative of the masculine, and the phoenix is representative of the feminine. In a movie, in a story that so much explores gender fluidity, I thought that that was a really nice and appropriate way to go.Niki Caro –



Mulan posterMushu’s removal from the story isn’t the only notable change. A new villain in the form of a witch called Xian Lang has been added. This is a departure from both the animation and the Chinese myth. But Disney has proven that they can pull things like this off and we look forward to seeing the heroine steal hearts and kick some butt when the film comes on March 27, 2020.

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