Niki Caro on the completely new ‘Mulan’ and its surprising ‘Game of Thrones’ influence.
Recently, director Niki Caro reflected on the fan unrest, telling HuffPost, “It reminds me of what a passionate audience the ‘Mulan’ audience is, and it raises the bar for me, my expectation of myself, that I can deliver to that audience with something they don’t necessarily expect, but something I hope that they will appreciate and maybe come to love in a new way, her story once again,” she said. “It’s a new and different way of experiencing something that they already love.” One of the points of the fan backlash was the character Li Shang, Mulan’s commanding officer and love interest, being replaced by two different characters, Commander Tung (Donnie Yen) and fellow soldier Chen Honghui (Yoson An). Caro told us when she signed on to the film around 2017, Shang’s replacements were already in the script. However, she reiterated recent points made by “Mulan” producer Jason Reed, saying the heroine having a relationship with her commanding officer didn’t feel appropriate. “It is the right decision, particularly in the Me Too era,” she said. “The idea that Mulan would have some kind of romance with a commanding officer felt very not right to me.” Caro added that there was a benefit to having Shang’s role split up, as Yen’s Commander Tung “provides a crucial role in development” in Mulan “understanding her own power.”