When I was a little girl I had exactly one choice for a movie role model and her name was Wonder Woman and she was glorious. But as much as I loved Wonder Woman, it really wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world to have, oh I don't know, maybe a second or third female role model to look up to. Fortunately, little girls today are way luckier, a sentiment that's evidence in the first live-action Mulan trailer that was released Sunday. I don't want to spoil anything just yet, but seriously, this Disney princess is the coolest role model for little girls everywhere.
Of course, anyone who saw the original 1998 animated version of Disney's Mulan is already well aware that she's an independent, empathetic, brave girl who is determined to make her own path in the world. For those of you who don't know the story here's an abridged version: The Ballad of Mulan is an ancient Chinese folklore poem that tells the story of Hua Mulan, a girl who lived in 5th century China and impersonated a male solider to help her family. She trains in the army and fights as an excellent soldier for 12 years, only revealing her identity at the end of her service when she goes back to her family.
There have been several changes to the story along the way, with a bit of romance added in for the 1998 Disney film, (although it's important to note Mulan is avoiding marriage from the outset) but essentially the story remains the same — Mulan is an impressive soldier who is forced to dress as a man to do what she loves. And now, fans will finally get to get to see her in an upcoming live-action film, thanks to Disney and lead actress Liu Yifei.
The first official trailer was released on Sunday during the U.S. Women's Soccer team's historic 4th World Cup win, and if that isn't the most beautiful timing ever I don't know what is.
The stunning trailer tells a familiar story, but a powerful one about the way traditional expectations of marriage and children, particularly in a time when those roles were so stifling, can hinder a young girl's opportunity to become the person she truly is meant to be. Because Mulan might be fighting out of a sense of defending her family's honor, but she is also a natural born warrior. And the fact that her story has been passed down through hundreds of years and celebrated really sends a message to little girls that they have the right to choose their own path, no matter what sort of hindrance might be blocking their way.
It's worth nothing here that Disney has been working towards redefining the traditional princess roles through live-action remakes in recent years, one example being Maleficent, a film about the witch from Sleeping Beauty. The movie offers children a way to look differently at female "villains," a refreshing take that isn't often seen fairytales.
When Mulan hits theaters in March 2020, I have a feeling little girls everywhere will have yet another hero to root for, which is a beautiful and powerful thing.