Li Shang, Disaster Bi

shang and ping.png
shang and mulan.png

There are several reasons why I'm wary of the upcoming 2019 live action adaptation of Disney's Mulan. First of all, while the Huns were the final antagonist in the original animated film, the real conflict lied within Mulan's struggle with self worth, social discrimination, and war. She overcomes the challenges she faces through cleverness and strategic thinking - climbing the pole when no other soldier could, shooting a cannon into the mountains to cause an avalanche when her troop was outnumbered by the Hun army, and sneaking into the palace when Shan Yu held the emperor hostage inside. 

Mulan's smart. That's the point. She's not as physically capable as the other soldiers when she first arrives at the training camp but overcomes those obstacles through her intelligence and perseverance (and maybe the best musical number Disney has ever produced). However, in the remake, we lose some of Mulan's strength when an officially released casting call revealed that she will have "mystical powers" that increase her physical strength and speed, "climbing her to the top of the ranks." 

Now, we don't know whether or not this diminishes strategic traits that Mulan shows in the animated film, but we can guess that attributing her success to magical powers and not just, like, human improvement and fierce determination means that it wasn't enough to portray this female character as a strong, capable soldier. No, she has to have magic powers. That's the only way, obviously

Furthermore, as she raises to the ranks within her batallion, her commanding officer and apparent romantic interest doesn't exhibit typical leadership abilities like support and proper discipline - he's jealous and treats Mulan like shit because he doesn't know she's a woman. 

When it's revealed that Mulan is, in fact, Mulan, and not a male soldier in his troop, that's when this male love interest shows her respect and treats her with basic human decency. 

What kind of...hetero toxic masculinity bullshit...

But the real icing on the cake - the real reason why I'm even getting this heated in the first place because, come on, it is just a movie - is that LI SHANG ISN'T GOING TO BE A CHARACTER IN THIS MOVIE.

Bisexual Li Shang, who showed respect to Ping before he knew Ping was actually Mulan because Captain Li Shang, an actually good leader and strong character, cared more about the survival of his troops and the victory of China on the battlefield than some petty pissing contest between soldiers. Additionally, you know Li Shang got the hots for Ping before meeting Mulan. Li Shang is a bi icon (a bicon, if you will), I'm STILL GOING TO BUY A TICKET to the live action Mulan remake just because it has an all Asian cast, and I'm not going to let a film with an all Asian cast flop in the box office, but you're still on thin ice Disney. Li Shang is bi, and y'all are cowards. 

EJ Chong