The Mulan FAQ

All about the legend of Mulan and the Disney film version

Written and maintained by Angela Kuo

"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all."

What's new? (October 2009) * E-mail Angela * Links * Timeline
Posters and Pictures * Creative Stuff *
Doing research on Mulan? Read this first. Follow the links below - not everything is on this page!

GENERAL BACKGROUND
Who is Mulan?
What's the correct spelling of her name and what does it mean?
What's the official title of the movie?
When was the film released? Includes info about the trailer.

MUSIC AND LYRICS
Who wrote the songs and the score?
What's on the soundtrack? Includes info on the soundtrack (U.S. and other versions), lyrics, and pop singles
Where is the music in the trailer from?
Why is the synthesizer "transformation" theme missing from the soundtrack? Is it available?

STORY
Who are the characters in the film?
Where can I find the script?
How was the story changed? (Includes other variations of the story)
What inside jokes, anachronisms, and mistakes are in Mulan?

VOICES AND ANIMATION
Who are the voice talents?
Who are the supervising animators?
Who else worked on the film? (Directors, producers, writers, etc.)
What Mulan stuff is on the Disney animation studio tour?
How was computer generated imagery (CGI) used in the film?
Are Tom Bancroft and Tony Bancroft related?

LANGUAGE--CULTURE--MORE INFO
How accurate is Chinese culture/history/language in Mulan?
Do the characters' names mean anything?
What's the origin of "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all"?
Where can I learn more about Mulan and other aspects of Chinese folklore, literature, and culture?
What are those Chinese characters at the top of the FAQ?
What do the Chinese words in the CD booklet mean?

MONEY--MERCHANDISE--AWARDS
Will there be a sequel?
How much did Mulan make at the box office?
What Mulan merchandise is available?
What information do you have about non-English dubbings and open-captioned (subtitled) versions of the film?
Are the video and DVD available?
What awards has Mulan won?
How can I let Disney know how I feel about this movie?

Acknowledgments

Who is Mulan?

Mulan is the heroine of a famous Chinese poem written during the Northern Dynasties (AD 420-589). In the story, Mulan disguises herself as a man to serve in the army in her father's place. While serving, she is recognized as a courageous soldier and offered a government post. She turns down the position in favor of going home and living a peaceful life with her family. After she returns home, she puts back on her lady's clothes--and shocks her fellow soldiers, who didn't know she was a woman during the time on the battlefield. The story was expanded into a novel during the late Ming (AD 1368-1644) Dynasty.
Was there really a Hua Mu-Lan? Nobody knows for sure (click here for some discussion about the history and legend of Mulan), but women throughout history have disguised themselves as men so they could serve their countries.

Top of FAQ

What's the official title of the movie?


(Mulan logo copyright Walt Disney Company)

The title is Mulan, after having gone through the titles China Doll, Fa Mulan, The Legend of Fa Mulan and The Legend of Mulan.

Top of FAQ

When was the film released?

The film premiered at the Hollywood Bowl, California on June 5, 1998 and opened across the United States on June 19, 1998. A list of release dates for other countries are listed here. Additions and corrections are welcome!

The movie is rated G and is 88 minutes long. The original trailer is on the Hercules video and was aired on TV. The trailer can also be seen here.

Mulan was shown to test audiences and received high marks for an animated feature screening at that stage (reportedly the highest in the previous ten years). It also got a standing ovation at a screening for the animators in California.

Here are written descriptions for an early TV trailer, the extended theater trailer, and a Mushu trailer.

Top of FAQ

Who are the characters in the film?

Click to meet the characters in Mulan. If you're looking for more pictures, a lot of the other fan sites also have great pictures.

Top of FAQ

Where can I find the script?

The script has not been published as far as I know. As far as checking quotes from the movie, I find watching it with subtitles and listening very carefully usually works.

How was the story changed?

The legend of Mulan has already been expanded and altered in various stories, novels, plays, operas, and films. The original poem doesn't get into detail on how Mulan went undetected for so long, or how and why she was such a great soldier. Disney did change one part of the story--Mulan gets discovered while she's in the army and is banished. Of course there's more to the story after that...

Here are some interesting variations written before Disney did the film.

At least three live-action versions of the Mulan story are in various stages of planning as of July 2003, including one reuniting Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon stars Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat.More information to come...

Top of FAQ

Who are the voice talents?

Check out the performers' major credits, photos, and links. Voice actors in translated versions are listed here.

Top of FAQ

Who are the supervising animators?

Mark Henn (Mulan and Fa Zhou), Ruben Aquino (Shang and Fa Li), Tom Bancroft (Mushu), Pres Romanillos (Shan-Yu and the Falcon), Alex Kupershmidt (Khan and General Li), Barry Temple (Cri-Kee), Broose Johnson (Ling and Chien-Po), Aaron Blaise (Yao and the Ancestors), Jeffrey Varab (Chi Fu and Grandmother Fa), and T. Dan Hofstedt (the Emperor). Brian Ferguson animated the Matchmaker and Shawn Keller and Byron Howard animated Little Brother.

Check out the animators' credits.

Top of FAQ

Who else worked on the film? [Directors, producers, writers, etc.]

Mulan was directed by Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft and produced by Pam Coats. The associate producers were Kendra Haaland (Hercules) and Robert S. Garber.

The screenplay was by Rita Hsiao ("The Wonder Years," Toy Story 2), Christopher Sanders (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch), Philip LaZebnik (Pocahontas, The Prince of Egypt), Raymond Singer & Eugenia Bostwick-Singer. Sanders also was head of story. Other people involved include Chen-Yi Chang (character/costume design), Hans Bacher (production design), Ric Sluiter (art direction), Robert Walker (layout), Robert Stanton (background), David Tidgwell (effects), and Eric Guaglione (CGI). Jerry Goldsmith conducted the score.

Top of FAQ

What Mulan stuff was on the Disney animation studio tour?

My friend Marc Hairston took the tour in October 1997. His report:

The first room there is the one with a big storyboard set up. It's the scene where Mulan is meeting with the matchmaker and trying to recite the proper attributes for a good wife. Mulan has written all this as a "crib sheet" on her arm between her wrist and elbow. The matchmaker takes Mulan by the arm and smears the writing half way through and leaves Mulan to fluster her way through the rest of the list. Obviously, this is part of the set up in the early part of the movie. They have a little room to the left (as you enter) where they have the little statuettes of all the characters. In the room to your right just before you start the main tour, they have some beautiful background paintings and scenes from the film. Once inside you see the usual group of cubicles with animators working away on drawings. Then they showed us a trailer (about four minutes) of Mulan. We saw some of the battle sequences, the scene where Mulan makes it to the top of the pole that none of the other soldiers could climb, the bad guy, Mulan's parents and horse, the scene where she cuts off her hair before running away (that one is surprisingly powerful) and various other stuff. They introduced the "gang of three" and Mushu (with the wonderful line of Mulan's: "My ancestors sent a little lizard to protect me?")

Top of FAQ

How was computer generated imagery (CGI) used in the film?

All the CGI in Mulan was done in Florida. The Huns and horses in a charge scene was done using CGI. CGI also was used for the large crowd scenes. For more information, check out this article from Digital Magic.

Top of FAQ

Are Tom Bancroft and Tony Bancroft related?

Tom (supervising animator for Mushu) and Tony (co-director) are identical twins.

Top of FAQ

What is the origin of "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all"?

This is the promotional phrase for Disney's ad campaign for Mulan. I don't know if it's an actual Chinese saying or can be directly credited to somebody, but it does have some basis. The pine, the bamboo, and the plum blossom are featured in a lot of Chinese artwork and are very symbolic. The pine and bamboo remain green when it snows and the plum blossom begins blooming when it's still winter. "Mulan" (magnolia) is not a flower in the trilogy, but it does bloom early in the spring, before the leaves form.

More information here.

Top of FAQ

Where can I learn more about Mulan and other aspects of Chinese folklore, literature, and culture?

The Mulan Links page has information on Mulan and other Chinese-related links and there's a webring at the bottom of the FAQ. And if you can get away from the computer, check your local library--there's probably stuff there too.

Top of FAQ

What are those Chinese characters at the top of the FAQ?

The top two characters are "Mu-Lan." The third is "zhuan" and means "biography" or "story" (particularly a historical one). The characters at the top of the FAQ are written in the simplified form used in mainland China. "Lan" looks very different in its traditional form. Click here for Mulan's name, as written by the calligrapher Mi Fei.

Top of FAQ

What do the Chinese words in the CD booklet mean?

For each song:

Top of FAQ

What Mulan merchandise is available?

Mulan books, toys, and Sing-A-Long are in stores, and Disney stores put out Mulan stuff on May 29, 1998. The video and soundtrack are also available. McDonald's also had the Happy Meal toys. The Disney Store Online has more information about other products, and you may also look here.

Top of FAQ

What information do you have about non-English dubbings and subtitled versions of the film?

Disney usually shows both dubbed and subtitled versions in non-English speaking countries. For open-captioned screenings of Mulan in the U.S., please contact your local theaters or Buena Vista Distributions. Support groups for the deaf and hard-of-hearing may also have information.

Some more casting and soundtrack information about Mulan can be found here. Read the next question for more information...

Top of FAQ

How can I let Disney know how I feel about this movie?

Send Walt Disney Pictures an e-mail!

Top of FAQ

Acknowledgments. Thanks to many wonderful people and resources.

Back to my Mostly Disney World

This page is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company. Send any comments, questions, and corrections to Angela Kuo.

Copyright 1996,1998,2004 by Angela Kuo. Disney images at this site are copyrighted by Disney and used without permission. Created Sept. 1, 1996. Last modified October 6, 2009.
Since Nov. 21, 1997, this site has had visits.

This page hosted by Geocities. Get your own Free Home Page 1