|“||When will my reflection show who I am inside?||„|
|~ Mulan singing about her struggle with her identity|
|“||Just because I have to look like a man, doesn't mean I have to smell like one.||„|
|~ Mulan disguising herself as a man|
Fa Mulan is the titular protagonist of Disney's 36th full-length animated feature film of the same name.
She is the 8th Disney Princess in the official lineup. She is voiced by Ming-Na Wen with Lea Salonga doing her singing voice, six years earlier she had originally done the singing voice of Princess Jasmine.
Unlike the previous Disney Princesses who were feminine, sweet, caring, classy, clever, kind and gentle, 18 year old Mulan is tomboyish and is more courageous, strong and self-reliant. And while most Chinese women at the time were expected to be graceful, quiet, and shy, Mulan was independent and outspoken. However, Mulan can be a bit clumsy, like when she tries to impress a matchmaker. She is tough, smart, intelligent, selfless, and determined, especially when it comes to joining the army in her father's place to save his life and her family, showing Captain Li Shang how brave a warrior she is, and defending China and the Emperor from Shan-Yu and the invading Huns.
Her character was praised by critics and audiences, and is one of those Disney heroines who broke the gender barriers.
Mulan is the only child of Fa Zhou, a former war veteran, and Fa Li. Mulan is forced to go to the town Matchmaker to find her a husband, which ends in humiliating failure. Shortly after, the Chinese Emperor's counselor, Chi-Fu, arrives in her village to announce that the deadly Huns, led by Shan Yu, have invaded China, and that one man in every family must serve in the war. Despite her protests, her father says that he will go in spite of his old age and old war wounds. Mulan decides to go in his place posing as a man, cutting her long hair with a sword, stealing her father's armor and riding away on her horse, Khan, so she will keep him from risking his life.
On her way to the army camp, Mulan meets Mushu, a small dragon who claims to be a guardian sent by her ancestors. He agrees to help her pass as a soldier. Though Mulan fails the army training at first, she uses her intelligence and becomes the first soldier to solve a puzzle set by Li Shang, her unit's commanding officer.
Afterwards, she rapidly progresses to become one of the best soldiers in the unit. She also befriends Yao, Ling and Chien Po, three fellow soldiers, though she is forced to hide her gender. Through the machinations of Mushu, the soldiers are called to the war front.
After finding that the Chinese Army, led by Shang's father General Li, has been completely destroyed by the Huns, Shang leads Mulan and the other soldiers to stop them. Despite the unit being outnumbered, Mulan is able to defeat the Huns by starting an avalanche and burying them by way of the last rocket in the army. She sustains an injury from Shan-Yu, which results in her true gender being revealed. She is spared death, the punishment for a woman joining the army, as Shang's way of repaying the debt from Mulan rescuing him during the previous battle.
Mulan is left behind by the army and prepares to return home. However, she discovers that Shan-Yu and his five generals have survived and are heading towards the Imperial City. Mulan attempts to warn Shang, but she is ignored because she is a woman. However, when Shan Yu captures the Emperor, Shang, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po join her in a rescue attempt. Mulan disguises herself, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po as concubines and take out the Hun guards, allowing Shang to reach Shan Yu and the emperor. Yao, Ling and Chein Po escape with the Emperor, but Mulan remains behind after Shang is knocked unconscious by Shan Yu.
She reveals herself to the ruthless leader of the Huns as the soldier who took down most of his army, which angers Shan Yu. While running from Shan Yu, she comes up with a plan to kill him by means of fireworks. While Mushu goes to get the fireworks, Mulan faces Shan Yu on the roof of the Emperor's palace. She disarms him with a paper fan and uses his sword to pin him to the roof, allowing Mushu to fire fireworks at Shan Yu, presumably killing him. Mulan is oppressed by Chi Fu for the final time when he arrogantly says that as a woman, she is unworthy of being called a hero or being worth anything.
Mulan is then confronted by the Emperor with her various crimes, having heard about them from Chi Fu. At the same time, he acknowledges that she saved all of China and bows to her out of respect. His gesture results in all the gathered people bowing as well. The Emperor first offers Mulan a council position then a job as consul, both of which Mulan refuses. The Emperor instead gifts her with his personal crest, and Shan Yu's sword. Mulan returns home, and is able to reconcile with her father. The end of the film shows Mulan inviting Shang, who had followed Mulan under the guise of returning her helmet, to dinner.
Taking place one month later, Li Shang, now promoted from Captain to General, proposes to Mulan, and they begin preparing for their wedding. However, the Emperor tasks them both with escorting his three daughters to the neighboring Chinese kingdom of Qui Gong in an attempt to form an alliance. Should the alliance fail, the Mongols would invade China just like the Huns did. Mulan and Shang ask Yao, Ling, and Chien Po to accompany them. Shang and Mulan's relationship becomes somewhat strained during the trip, as the couple has differing views on various issues, particularly on the subject of the arranged marriages the princesses are being forced into. Meanwhile, Mushu is informed that if Mulan marries Shang, he would cease to be a guardian, instead being returned to his former job of Gong Ringer. Mushu takes advantage of Mulan and Shang's differences and tries to break them up. However, Mulan soon discovers Mushu's plans and tries to reconcile with Shang.
Before she can talk to Shang, bandits attack the group. Shang and Mulan are able to save the princesses, but are left hanging from a broken bridge. Shang chooses to sacrifice himself, as the bridge can only support one. Mulan and the princesses continue towards Qui Gong. Seeing that the princesses have fallen in love with Yao, Ling and Chien Po, and believing that Shang is dead, Mulan prepares to offer herself as a bride in their places. However, Shang is revealed to have survived his fall, and travels to stop her. Mushu is able to fix things by masquerading as the Golden Dragon of Unity, and forces the King to stop the wedding. The joyful princesses are released from their vows, and Shang and Mulan are informally married. They later hold an actual wedding at the Fa family home, although it is not known how much time has passed.
At the end of the film, it is revealed that Mulan has told Shang about Mushu and that Shang has combined the family temples, allowing Mushu to remain a trusted advisor and guardian to Mulan; much to the Ancestors' chagrin and annoyance.
Sofia the First
Mulan made a guest appearance in the Sofia the First episode "Princesses to the Rescue!".
While singing a song called "Stronger Than You Know," she teaches Sofia, Amber and Jun that they are stronger than they know by showing them how to cross over the moving warrior statues with vines and tells them to go on to save their beloved fathers and brothers without her.
Just like Ariel in "The Floating Palace," she does not appear in her redesign outfit. Instead, she wears her much shorter shoulder-length hair, her battle armor along with her helmet and a new golden sword.
Cameos and other appearances
Mulan makes cameos in the House of Mouse television series and the direct-to-video release Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse. In "Ask Von Drake", Mulan was seen with Mushu and Cri-Kee during the headcount of all the Disney character guests. In "Salute to Sports", Mulan briefly appeared on stage with Donald to give a martial arts demonstration.
In Lilo and Stitch, Mulan is featured on a poster in Nani's bedroom. Also, a Chinese restaurant called the Mulan Wok can be seen in the town.
In the animated mini-series, It's a Small World: The Animated Series, Mulan makes a brief non-speaking cameo in the episode "Just One Moon".
Mulan was planned to star in the second installment of the Disney Princess Enchanted Tales series of DVDs with Cinderella. However, the film was canceled due to poor sales of the first installment.
Mulan was also set to make an appearance in the abandoned short, Princess Academy. One piece of concept art for the project shows her elegantly descending a flight of stairs, behind Jane Porter.
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