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Brush Up on Your Mulan Trivia!

Movie Trivia: 25 Essential Facts About Mulan

Movie Trivia: 25 Essential Facts About Mulan

(Updated 07/24/2020)

MULAN comes back to the big screen soon in a new form, which gives us plenty of time to look back at the original 1998 animated musical. The original MULAN represented a number of firsts for Walt Disney Animation — it welcomed a heroine with origins deep in China's past into the Disney Princess fold, and it marked the first feature made at a then-new Disney animation outpost.

No wonder the original movie still has a place in our hearts. But how much do you know about the original MULAN? Read our collection of essential MULAN trivia to find out.

Essential Mulan Trivia

Movie Trivia: The Original Animated Mulan

1. The story of Hua Mulan goes back to a Chinese folk song, "The Ballad of Mulan," which dates back to the 6th Century. Over the hundreds of years that followed, Mulan's story was retold many times, always with the core ideas intact.

2. MULAN is an original movie but it is not the first movie based on the ancient story. There were multiple silent movie versions, and then the 1939 Chinese film MULAN JOINS THE ARMY, produced during Japan's World War II occupation of China, was a massive hit — in part thanks to the story's political textures.

3. Disney sent the movie's producer, the directors and a whole team of artists to do weeks of research in China, which had a massive effect on the look of the movie.

4. Christina Aguilera had been a Mouseketeer (along with Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake) but singing the song "Reflection" for MULAN proved to be her big break — afterward, she got her first big recording contract, which led to her first album, with the massive hit single "Genie in a Bottle" in 1999.

5. Christina Aguilera was chosen to sing "Reflection" after producers heard a rough demo of her singing Whitney Houston’s song “I Wanna Run to You,” which was recorded on a boombox in Aguilera's family’s living room.

6. MULAN was the first Disney Animation movie made outside the primary Disney studio lot — it was produced at Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida, which at the time had never made a full-length movie.

7. During the "Reflection" sequence, the text on each stone in Mulan's father's shrine is actually the names of all the film's animators.

Movie Trivia: The Original Animated Mulan

8. Mushu was the first animated voice work done by megastar Eddie Murphy, who used his clout to get producers to agree to let him record his lines at home.

9. Celebrated martial arts star and filmmaker Jackie Chan voices Li Shang in the Chinese version of MULAN — and he recorded a version of "I'll Make a Man Out of You," which was released as a pop single.

10. Different animators are often given charge over specific characters, which helps create distinct personalities. Mulan and her father were both animated by a team supervised by Mark Henn to create a sense of familial consistency between the characters.

11. Directors Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook make animated cameos as the fireworks workers in the Emperor's Palace.

12. Tom Bancroft, the twin brother of director Tony Bancroft, animated Mushu.

13. Actors Joe Pesci and Richard Dreyfuss were the first choices to voice Mushu before Disney chief Michael Eisner pushed for Eddie Murphy to be cast.

14. Some of MULAN'S title theme, which is also reflected in "Honor to Us All" is based on the brief song played by Peter Pan in the 1953 movie PETER PAN.

15. Beginning with THE LITTLE MERMAID, all the movies in the "Disney Renaissance" were musicals, but MULAN was the last Disney Animated musical until THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG in 2011.

16. Mulan's animators noticed that Ming-Na Wen, who voices the character, touched her hair often during recording — and made it part of the character.

17. In the animated movie, Mulan cuts her hair short to fit in as a soldier, but in fact warriors of the time would have worn long hair. The filmmakers behind the live-action MULAN changed the approach to remain historically accurate.

Movie Trivia: The Original Animated Mulan

18. The most recent Chinese movie adaptation of Mulan's story is MULAN: RISE OF A WARRIOR, released in 2009.

19. Mulan is only the second Disney princess, after Aurora in SLEEPING BEAUTY, whose parents are alive during the story.

20. The Forbidden City is actually partially located in Agrabah since animators reused some footage from ALADDIN to animate the Forbidden City sequence.

21. There's another connection between MULAN and ALADDIN: Lea Salonga is the singing voice of both Princess Jasmine and Mulan.

22. In the original folk tale, Mulan's primary deception is not discovered by her fellow soldiers until well after the battle is won.

23. Some versions of the Mulan story add brothers to Mulan's family, but Disney's telling is simplified to good effect.

24. The "hidden Mickey" is a Disney animation tradition. In MULAN, Li Shang's horse has spots shaped like Mickey Mouse, and when Mulan is presented to the Matchmaker, one of the other women is wearing her hair dressed to resemble Mickey's ears.

25. MULAN was the first movie Disney released on DVD, which helped propel its popularity higher.

Want to know more about the new MULAN?

All images courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.

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