Mulan Video Shows Original 1991 Mushu Designs By Disney Animator

Mulan Video Shows Original 1991 Mushu Designs By Disney Animator #Mulan #Video #Shows #Original #Mushu #Designs #Disney #Animator Welcome to Lopoid

Former Disney animator Tom Bancroft shares a video showcasing a number of early design sketches for Eddie’s Murphy’s Mushu from 1998’s Mulan.

Former Disney animator Tom Bancroft shares a video showcasing a number of early design sketches for Eddie’s Murphy’s Mushu from 1998’s Mulan. Murphy voiced the small dragon and former guardian of the Fa family in the animated musical adventure film. Murphy starred alongside Ming-Na Wen, who provided the voice of the titular heroine.

Released in 1998, Mulan is inspired by the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, and follows Wen’s Mulan as she takes her father’s place in the Chinese army when he is conscripted. Disguising herself as a man to join the ranks of the Imperial army in their fight against the invading Huns, Mulan is aided by the disgraced Mushu, who hopes to regain the praise of the spirits of the Fa family ancestors by guiding her in her quest. While the 2020 live-action Mulan remake cut Mushu, the character was a key part of the original animated feature, as both a source of comedy and a companion to Mulan throughout her journey.


Related: Why Disney Princesses Have Animal Companions

With the film having recently passed the 24th anniversary of its release, one of the features’ animators has offered fans a glimpse of Mushu’s design’s evolution. In a video posted on his personal TikTok account to celebrate the milestone, Bancroft showcases a number of sketches from Mulan’s early stages of production in 1991. In the video, the character’s original designer shares a number of character sheets and sketches of Mushu created to see how the character’s expressions could work alongside Murphy’s performance. In some sheets, Bancroft notes that Mushu once had longer, more curved horns that were shortened to lessen any animation issues that could arise. Alongside Mushu, Bancroft also shows a clip glimpse of sketches of the dragon alongside Mulan and Cri-Kee (Frank Welker), as well as various sketches of Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) that had been stored alongside the Mulan artwork.

Mulan 1998 Eddie Murphy as Mushu

Click here to see Bancroft’s original video on TikTok

Despite his absence, Mushu’s family guardian role remained a part of the remake, instead being fulfilled by a phoenix that represents the ancestors of Liu Yifei’s Mulan. However, the 2020 live-action remake’s director, Niki Caro, denied that it was a direct update to the beloved dragon. Caro explained that the phoenix was decided to act as a guardian to further tie into the film’s exploration of gender fluidity, with the mythical bird symbolizing femininity.

A classic released during the “Disney Renaissance” period in the late-20th century, Mulan has become beloved for its plot, character arcs, and memorable musical moments, standing out among Disney’s 1990s animated movies. As such, Bancroft’s glimpse behind the design of one of its most memorable characters is a perfect way to celebrate the film’s anniversary. Not only does the video show the evolution of Mushu’s design, but it also confirms that both the character and Murphy’s casting were key considerations throughout the film’s development, proving why he is pivotal to the beloved Disney animated feature.

Next: Every Disney Princess Who Isn’t An Orphan

Source: Tom Bancroft/TikTok

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Nathan Graham-Lowery
(439 Articles Published)

Nathan is a young writer whose interest in film started when watching behind-the-scenes features on DVDs as a kid. He graduated with a degree in Film Studies. He has an interest in stories, how they can affect people and inspire. Nathan also has a fondness for comics and games, doing his best to keep up to date.

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