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After Outcry, Disney Promises Live-Action 'Mulan' Won't Be Whitewashed

By Kristy Puchko | Industry | October 11, 2016 |

By Kristy Puchko | Industry | October 11, 2016 |

Good news! Disney’s live-action Mulan will not be joining the ranks of whitewashed movie properties.

The studio has spoken out in the wake of Internet outrage sparked by Angry Asian Man’s claim that the proposed Disney script’s hero was not a Chinese woman rejecting traditional gender roles to be true to herself, save her father and her nation. Instead, the hero was a white dude. Angry Asian Man wrote:

“The man is a 30-something European trader who initially cares only for the pleasure of women and money. The only reason why he and his entourage decide to help the Chinese Imperial Army is because he sets eyes on Mulan. That’s right. Our white savior has come to the aid of Ancient China due to a classic case of Yellow Fever. In this script written by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin, more than half of its pages are dedicated to this merchant who develops a mutual attraction with Mulan and fights to protect her in the ensuing battles. To top it all off, this man gets the honor of defeating the primary enemy of China, not Mulan. Way to steal a girl’s thunder.”

One one hand, this seemed completely insane. On the other hand, Gods of Egypt, Prince of Persia, Exodus: Gods and Kings, Doctor Strange, Ghost in the Shell and so on.

But a Disney source reached out to Vulture, declaring:

“The spec script was a jumping-off point for a new take on the story that draws from both the literary ballad of Mulan and Disney’s 1998 animated film. Mulan is and will always be the lead character in the story, and all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese.”

The criticized spec script was written by Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin. But since acquiring it, Disney has hired Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver for further development. This could mean the script AAM read was purchased so Disney could be sure no one would make it and sully the brand. Or maybe there’s some bones to it the studio wanted to claim for its own.

For now, we’re taking a huge sigh of relief that #MakeMulanRight has sparked a promise that Mulan won’t go wedging in a blandsome white dude. And as far as finding our warrior princess a suitably hot hunk. We’ve got some suggestions.

Kristy Puchko knows every word to “Honor to Us All.”

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.