We may have over a year to wait until the live-action adaptation of Mulan is released, but the movie has already inspired a lot of discussion online, thanks to the fact that it (probably) won't feature songs, and that the male lead Li Shang has been replaced by a different character (why?!) So it's no surprise that Ming-Na Wen — the voice of the original 1998 Mulan — also has something to say about the 2018 movie.
Ming-Na Wen gave Mulan a distinctive style when she voiced the character almost 20 years ago, and this actress is no stranger to badass characters — Wen currently plays Agent May on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, putting her very real (and very awesome) martial arts skills to good use.
Recently, Wen sat down with ET to talk about the upcoming live action Mulan, and she shared some advice with #Disney as they go about trying to find an actress to play the young warrior heroine:
"She's Chinese in her heritage. Even though we're Pan-Asian, it is specifically a Chinese folklore and I really think that someone with that ethnic background [would] really just add more to the story."
Hollywood has had more than its fair share of casting controversies recently with far too many white actors playing Asian roles (Ghost In The Shell and Doctor Strange spring to mind). But this isn't where the problems end: many people have also criticized the casting of Asian characters in roles that don't match their ethnicity or nationality. This is what Ming-Na Wen is warning Disney against, urging them to cast an actress with Chinese heritage as Mulan. As an important figure in Chinese culture and folklore, Mulan's ethnicity is a big part of her story so Wen's advice makes a lot of sense.
Aside from her casting advice, Wen also praised Disney's slate of live-action adaptations, explaining how their recent movies have given her high expectations for the 2018 Mulan.
"I'm very excited that they want to do a live-action because they've done so amazingly with all of the movies — from 'Maleficent,' to 'Beauty and the Beast,' to 'Cinderella.' I'm really looking forward to the live-action."
And if the actress has one cheeky request for the filmmakers, it's that she be involved in the movie somehow! Wen even told ET that she and Disney were currently "having conversations" about a potential role for her.
"I would love to have a part in it in some way. We'll see — knock on wood! I know the fans really want it and love it. And some of them even go, 'Well, why don’t you just play Mulan?' And I'm like, 'Yeah if it's Mulan: The Later Years.'"
Many fans have already suggested Wen play #Mulan's mother in the film, which would make for a lovely sense of legacy. Wen has lent her voice to Mulan many times over the years, for the straight-to-VHS sequel movie, TV shows, video games, and more. It really would be fantastic to see this Disney legend appear in the live-action adaptation of the movie that made her a household name, so here's hoping the Mulan filmmakers take Wen's comments under advisement!
Would you like to see Ming-Na Wen in the live action 'Mulan'?
[Poll image credit: Disney/ABC via Andrada Presh on Tumblr]
(Source: ET Online)