Mulan Remake is Not a Musical

UPDATE: Niki Caro clarified her comments on the lack of songs in the Mulan remake. Our original story follows with an update at the end.

Ever since Maleficent was released in 2014, Disney has been obsessed with giving their animated classics the live-action remake treatment. However, out of the four that have followed, only Beauty and the Beast has been a full fledged musical. And as of now, it sounds like the lack of signature tunes in Disney’s live-action remakes will continue with the Mulan remake that’s in the works.

Mulan has Niki Caro attached to direct the live-action remake of the movie about a young girl who impersonates a man in order to join the Chinese military so that her ailing father won’t be drafted and sent to war. The film is in the final stages of pre-production, and that’s enough for Caro to know what kind of remake we’re looking at, and fans might be disappointed to hear that the original songs from the animated film are not part of the plan.

Caro recently spoke to Moviefone while promoting the arrival of her new movie The Zookeeper’s Wife. While she said that her version of the 1998 animated favorite would be “a big, girly martial arts epic” just like the animated movie, she also confirmed that Mulan remake is not a musical:

“Yes, from what I understand, no songs right now, much to the horror of my children.”

Caro’s children likely aren’t going to be the only fans horrified by a lack of songs in the new Mulan. However, this really shouldn’t be surprising when you look at how Disney has been approaching most of these remakes. The Jungle Book only incorporated a couple songs into the movie, including “Bare Necessities” and a different version of King Louie’s song “I Wanna Be Like You.” Meanwhile, Cinderella didn’t have any songs.

It’s not hard to understand why a change like this is taking place. The tone and style that the Mulan remake is going for would likely be upset by the inclusion of any musical sequences. Making those kind of interludes feel natural and organic rather than distracting can be difficult, especially if the entire movie isn’t a musical. Still, it would be nice if Niki Caro figured out a way to at least include  “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” somehow:

Our best hope is that Caro does say “no songs right now,” which indicates that their approach could change at some point. The film is supposed to start shooting in China this spring, though we have no idea who is starring in the movie yet. Hopefully we’ll find out more about Mulan soon.

UPDATE: As we suspected, “no songs right now” was more of an indication as to where the movie is at in pre-production right now. Caro told The Los Angeles Times, “I don’t know where that’s come from. We’ve never talked about songs, and no decision has been made.” She went on to indicate that she’s not fully working on the movie yet, so that’s why there are “no songs right now.” According to the new report, the “vibe at the studio” is that they aren’t opposed to having songs in the movie and they’re leaving it open so they can decide at the appropriate time. The uproar on the internet that followed probably helped Disney make a more firm decision, but we probably won’t know for awhile.

Will you be disappointed if there are no songs in Mulan?

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