Let’s get down to business – Captain Li Shang is officially not going to be in the live action Mulan movie. Instead, he’ll be replaced by another love interest called Chen Honghui and we’ve finally gotten a look at who’s going to be playing him…and we’ll begrudgingly admit that he’s a cutie.
While Mulan previously fell in love with her squad leader Shang in the Disney film, she’ll be finding romance further down the ranks in Chen Honghui, a new recruit who becomes her staunch ally. The Hollywood Reporter described him as a ‘confident and ambitious recruit’ in the same platoon as her, led by Mulan’s eventual mentor Commander Tung.
As for who’s playing Honghui? Well, say hello to New Zealander Yoson An.
Yoson is a relatively newcomer to the scene and this will be his first major Hollywood project. His previous screen credits include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny and the upcoming films The Meg and Mortal Engines.
He’ll be joining a star-studded and primarily Asian cast, which included Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Donnie Yen as Commander Tung, Jet Li as the Emperor of China and Yifei Liu as Mulan. In the same casting announcement, two brand new characters were also revealed: a couple of con artists called Ramtish and Skatch played by Chum Ehelepola and Utkarsh Ambudkar respectively.
Naturally, the decision to scrap Captain Li Shang has been a controversial one – almost as controversial as Disney’s decision to scrap all the songs from the remake. Shang and Mulan’s hate to love relationship was one of the biggest highlights of the animated film, plus nobody can forget his contender for Disney’s biggest bop I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.
He’s also seen renewed popularity as a bisexual icon in recent years, as many have pointed out that he seemed to be in love with Mulan when he first thought she was a man and as a woman.
People were very nervous when it first came out that Disney was doing a live action remake of the beloved flick, especially as they had optioned a script about a white male merchant which starred Mulan as a secondary character and love interest. However, Disney quickly reassured protesters that they were going to be reworking the script and have since hired a predominantly Asian cast.
We’ll have to wait till 2020 when Mulan is released to see if Chen Honghui holds up to Captain Li Shang, who is IMHO Disney’s best prince. Okay sure, he’s not technically royalty but he’s the king of my heart and deserves a throne – well, one smaller than Mulan’s anyway.