The star of Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan skipped the film’s D23 panel following the Hong Kong controversy. Mulan’s lead actress, Crystal Liu Yifei, recently voiced her opinions about the civil unrest in Hong Kong on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. Her remarks caused further uproar and chaos in an already tense situation and led to the trending hashtag #BoycottMulan on Twitter.
In June, Disney dropped the trailer for the live-action reimaging of the 1998 animated classic film. Notably absent of musical numbers, Mulan is set to sail in on a wave of success following a slew of live-action remakes from the Mouse House. Recently, Disney released live-action remakes of Aladdin, The Lion King, and The Jungle Book. Last week, Yifei ignited controversy when she stated support for Hong Kong police. The Chinese-born actress pledged reinforcements for the city’s police, who have been accused of using excessive force to stave off unrest from activists and journalists amidst a pro-democracy, anti-government demonstration in Hong Kong. Yifei took to Weibo to post, “I support Hong Kong’s police, you can beat me up now. What a shame for Hong Kong. #ialsosupportthehongkongpolice.” Needless to say, the actress’ stance had led to the backlash with accusations that Yifei supports police brutality and is anti-democratic. Those enraged by Yifei’s words quickly spread the hashtag #BoycottMulan on Twitter.
In spite of a roller coaster week for Disney, with the Sony/Marvel divorce, accusations of Disney falsifying revenue, and Mulan receiving a boycott, the highly anticipated D23 Expo commenced as planned. Hailed as one of the biggest events in the world, D23 has revealed vital nuggets of information for the entertainment industry including, new footage from Frozen 2, the Black Panther 2 release date, the Star Wars 9 poster, and much more. Portions of the Saturday Disney Panel featured both stars and directors for films presented. Mulan director Niki Caro took to the stage to treat fans to an extended look at the live-action remake, sans Mulan herself.
Despite the star of Mulan not being in attendance, the presentation of the Mulan footage was well-received by the crowd. As of this writing, Disney has not yet declared why Liu was not at the D23 presentation. Thrust into the middle of a global human rights battle, Disney has remained silent about the issues at hand.
Walt Disney Company is well aware of China’s necessity for box office pull. Since the reveal of Mulan’s reimaging, droves of fans in all countries have been eager to see the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan brought to life. As it stands, it is unclear whether all of the chaos will have a major impact on the film, which is set to hit theaters in March of 2020. Mulan continues to be one of the most revered of Disney’s animated features, and there’s no doubt that those who flock to see the live-action remake will be empowered, enthralled, and enlightened by the live-action reimagining of Mulan.