The live-action remake of Mulan is shaping up to be pretty good! Not only does the trailer look promising, but producers have wisely decided to drop what seems like an unnecessary and possibly problematic character: Mulan’s male commander, General Li Shang.
In the 1998 animated version, Li Shang develops a bond with Mulan’s male alter ego, Ping; after she’s revealed to be a woman, the two have dinner together. But producer Jason Reed told Collider that given the current political climate, it seemed smart to have Li Shang sit this one out:
“I think particularly in the time of the #MeToo movement, having a commanding officer that is also the sexual love interest was very uncomfortable and we didn’t think it was appropriate,” he said.
“We split Li Shang into two characters. One became Commander Tung (Donnie Yen) who serves as her surrogate father and mentor in the course of the movie. The other is Honghui (Yoson An) who is [Mulan’s] equal in the squad.”
Full disclosure: Though I’ve seen the animated version of Mulan, I can’t for the life of me remember a single character besides, you know, Mulan, and therefore can’t judge whether there was anything untoward going on between her and Li Shang. Plenty of people have expressed contempt for the decision to bench the general for this version, but I say: Can there ever be a truly equal relationship between two people with massive power differentials? Duke it out in the comments.