Disney will get down to business with its next live-action princess tale, Mulan. (Technically speaking, Fa Mulan is a legendary warrior, not an actual princess, but she’s since adopted the Disney Princess moniker so don’t @ me.) According to Variety, the movie is reportedly being fast-tracked for release on November 2, 2018.
The studio is currently in the process of finding its Mulan. Since the live-action project was announced last year, fans have been concerned about casting choices — mainly, that all the Chinese characters would be, well, given the Hollywood whitewashing treatment. (See Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, Rooney Mara in Pan, and Emma Stone in Aloha for receipts.) A petition, which has since garnered over 100,000 signatures, was even launched, asking for Disney to cast Chinese actors in the film.
It appears that Disney has taken the concerns to heart. In an announcement on Tuesday, the studio said that it will launch a global casting search for a Chinese actress to play Mulan, the titular heroine who runs away from home and disguises herself as a man to join the Chinese army against the oncoming Hun invasion. (It’s insane to me that Disney needs to specify that it’s currently searching for a Chinese actress to play a Chinese heroine, but it’s 2016 and here we are.) A director for the project has yet to be announced.
Based on a Chinese folktale, the original animated Mulan was released in 1998 and earned $304.3 million worldwide. Since then, the character has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to her memorable appearance as a queer heroine on Once Upon a Time, where she’s played by actress Jamie Chung.