In light of recent films that have drawn criticism for whitewashing Asian stories, Disney announced that the actress playing the titular role in its upcoming live-action remake of “Mulan” would definitely be Chinese, and that it would be hosting a global casting call for the role.
However, the 2018 film drew fury from fans when sources claiming to have read the initial spec script purchased by Disney revealed the existence of a white male lead. According to the anonymous open letter posted Monday on Angry Asian Man, the main love interest in the spec script is a “European trader” who ultimately “gets the honor of defeating the primary enemy of China, not Mulan.”
Since the purchase of this script, Disney has hired new writers — Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, the writers behind "Jurassic World" — to rewrite the final script. According to Vulture, who spoke with an unnamed source “close to the film,” the script has changed and the film will feature an Asian love interest.
Vulture’s source described the spec script as just a “jumping-off point for a new take on the story that draws from both the literary ballad of Mulan and Disney’s 1998 animated film.”
Perhaps aware of the uproar that had erupted on social media, the source also definitively clarified that “Mulan is and will always be the lead character in the story, and all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese."
In 2015 after Disney had first announced plans to produce a live-action "Mulan" film, fans created a petition asking the studio not to whitewash the title character. The petition currently has more than 100,000 signatures.