The director of the live-action remake of Mulan has discussed the fate of dragon Mushu.
The character voiced by Eddie Murphy in the 1998 animated film is a fan favourite but will not feature in the new version, starring Yifei Liu as the famous Chinese warrior.
Niki Caro said: “I think we can all appreciate that Mushu is irreplaceable and the animated classic stands on its own in that regard.
“In this movie, there is a spiritual representation of the ancestors and of Mulan’s relationship with her father but an update of Mushu, no.”
Caro also confirmed there will be no singing in the new imagining, saying: “We don’t tend to break into song when we go to war.
“Not that I’m saying anything against the animation, because the songs are brilliant, and if I could have squeezed them in there I would have, but we do honour the music from the animation in a very significant way.”
Discussing the search for an actress who could take on the role of a young woman who disguises herself a male warrior to save her father, she said: “We began with a deep and intense search of all of China actually, and a worldwide search for Mulan.
“We literally looked everywhere in the world for a year and we didn’t feel that we had her.
“Then you stop and think about what this actress has to be, and to be able to do – from China, a fluent English speaker, brilliant actress, able to pass as a man – and then all the things that I insisted she bring to the movie, which is a real physical prowess, I didn’t want to have a wispy actress, I wanted to find a woman and a partner, for me, who was actually genuinely strong, and so we found Yifei a year after we started.”
Mulan is released in UK cinemas on March 27.