If you shelled out the extra $30 to see Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan this past weekend, you may have noticed a special cameo near the end of the film. Read on to learn the story about how that ended up happening, what the original plan for the cameo was, and more.
Warning: spoilers for the 2020 Mulan below.
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Who is that girl I see?🗡😘 🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺 This almost didn’t happen. Me, in the most elaborate period costume and makeup, in New Zealand, on the set of @mulan, with my daughter Michaela, about to shoot a very big scene. How did I get here? Well, it was quite a huge undertaking! I am BEYOND thankful to #agentsofshield producers, @Disney, my team, Jason Reed & @nikicaro who all worked so hard to make this possible. The costume, makeup & hair dept were incredible! The sweetest, most fun and talented cast & crew!😍It was just meant to be. My cameo was also a BIG secret. In fact, I am only permitted to post NOW! Even though it’s been 3 days of many fans’ & casts’ postings as well as numerous articles that already came out since its debut. The enormous outpouring of joyful surprise, excitement, and even tears from Mulan fans made all the effort worth it! 😁 What an incredible gift to have such diehard fans as part of my life and career for over 2 decades!!! Thank you a gazillion times!!!🙌🏼😍 I am overwhelmed by your love and emotions. You are all in my heart! ❤️❤️❤️❤️I love each and every one of you to the ends of the universe! 😍😍😍😍 This one is for you. YOU are my #reflection. 🙌🏼❤️ #connectedforever #mulan #fullcircle #grateful @mulan @disneyplus The legacy of Mulan continues in this epic film. If you have’t seen it yet, uh….spoiler alert? 😏😐 😘🥰😘🥰😘🥰
Ming-Na Wen, who voiced Mulan in Disney’s 1998 animated movie, popped up in a brief cameo near the end of director Niki Caro’s 2020 live-action version. When Mulan is brought in to meet the Emperor (Jet Li), she’s introduced by a woman credited as “Esteemed Guest,” who just so happens to bear a striking resemblance to the animated version of Mulan herself.
“Niki had this fantastic idea to want to make me look as much as the animated Mulan is possible,” Wen explained to EW. “We thought she was crazy. But then the make-up and hair people worked their magic. They got the red ribbon; they got her lopsided bun on my head. It was great.”
“I was nervous about that moment,” she continued. “I have so much make-up on and then all that silk, I was like, ‘I don’t know that anybody’s gonna recognize me.’ But the reality is, even if they didn’t recognize me, they would’ve recognized my voice.”
The original plan was for Wen to portray the mother-in-law who showed up during the movie’s matchmaker sequence in the first act of the film, but The New York Times says that role would have required Wen to be on the movie’s New Zealand set for a month. But since the actress was shooting the final season of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Los Angeles at that time, the timing wouldn’t work – the S.H.I.E.L.D. producers couldn’t lose her for that long of a stretch, so it looked like the entire idea of the cameo was going to be a bust.
But eventually, Caro and producer Jason Reed came up with the idea of her playing the “Esteemed Guest,” which only required Wen to be on the set for a week. “I thought that was very appropriate and just wonderful, a little Easter egg where I could pass the baton,” the actress said of her experience working on the new movie.
To read our review of the film, click here. We also have interviews with Jason Scott Lee, Tzi Ma, and Jimmy Wong.
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