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1. In the Chinese poem “The Ballad of Mulan,” you learn that Disney’s Mulan is actually based on a real-life warrior who fought in China. She disguised herself and fought for twelve long years. She refused any rewards and simply returned home at the end of the war. Both Mulans wanted to take care of their family in their elderly father’s stead.
2. Mulan took five years to complete.
3. The filmmakers had to take several passes at the “Reflection” lyrics. They wanted to express that Mulan really didn’t want anything, except to be herself and to make her dad proud.
4. There was a lot of debate about how low Ming-Na Wen, the voice of Mulan, should make her voice when Mulan was pretending to be a boy. It was hard to have her do a low voice throughout the entire film, so the directors had Ming-Na start low, and cheat her way back up to her normal voice.
5. Filmmakers wrote three song options for Mushu to sing when he introduced himself to Mulan, but every time they added one in, it seemed to halt the movie. Mushu’s song was eventually cut from the film.
6. The character of Cri-Kee was championed by the late Joe Grant, who was one of the oldest Disney animators at the time (he worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). He first suggested the character, and all throughout development, Joe would slip sketches of Cri-Kee under the directors’ door.
7. It took 700 animators, artists, and technicians to complete the film.
8. The directors, Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, made a cameo towards the end of the film.
9. They brewed 1,630 pounds of coffee during production.
10. When Chi Fu calls out the names of people to serve in the army, they’re actually the names of some of the staff. The glowing Chinese calligraphy is also the names of artists that worked on the production.
11. Jackie Chan voiced Shang in the Chinese version of Mulan.
12. At one point in development, the general was not Shang’s dad, but they changed that later on, feeling that it gave Mulan more emotional weight. Both Shang and Mulan do what they do to honor their fathers.
13. The film made $120 million domestically and $304 internationally in the year of its release. It was ranked 2nd of family films of the year, following “A Bug’s Life.” What’s more, it was the 7th highest of the year overall. The five years it took to make “Mulan” really paid off.
14. According to producer Pam Coates, the crowd bowing to Mulan at the end wraps up what the team was trying to express with the film. Mulan is a woman who, because she is true to her heart and true to herself, actually alters the way society thinks.