Skip to content → Skip to footer →

Mulan II Rewrite – Beat Sheet

Overview

Major rewrite changes

  • Focus on the central theme of heart vs. duty
  • Mushu’s weird selfish plot device instead becomes a thematic arc to learn duty
  • Covering plot holes: reasons why the Emperor can’t just use his own army
  • Mulan instead becomes the paragon: perfect union between heart and duty
  • Antagonistic Huns attack the gang every time they put heart over duty
  • Characteristic dialogue
  • Climactic battle rewritten from scratch
  • Resolution with consequences

Rewriting

While the plot beats from the original source are mostly summarised in default colour (assuming the reader is familiar with the source), any changes are explained in more detail and coloured in red.

Scene headers are labelled accordingly:

  • (no label) - The scene has roughly the same purpose in the plot as the original.
  • CUT - The scene was entirely cut out. Useless.
  • NEW - The scene did not exist in the source material, and was concepted just for the rewrite.
  • DEFERRED - The scene originally happens earlier in the story, but was delayed for later.

Cast

  • Mulan
  • Shang
  • Mushu
  • Gang of Three:
    • Yao,
    • Chien-Po,
    • Ling
  • Princesses (Middle Kingdom)
    • Mei (middle),
    • Su (youngest),
    • Ting-Ting (oldest)
  • Emperor (Middle Kingdom)
  • Emperor Qin (Northern Qui Gong Kingdom)
  • Princes (Qui Gong)
  • Huns Soldiers + Huns Leader
  • Fa Zhou (Mulan’s dad), Mama Fa, Grandma Fa

🚨 Spoiler Alert! 🚨 Everything that follows is spoiler territory, obviously…

Original Plot Structure

  • Hook: Mulan trains some girls, and Shang comes to propose to her.
  • Inciting Incident: The Emperor summons the Mulan and Shang to the palace for a secret mission. Mushu finds out he would lose his status as family guardian, as well as Mulan, should they get married.
  • Key Event: The duo decide to call off their wedding, and head to the palace. The Emperor quests them to escort his three princess daughters to form an alliance with Lord Qin to protect them from a coming Mongol invasion.
  • First Plot Point: They leave their kingdom with the three princesses and three guards.
  • First Pinch Point: Mushu sabotages the carriage, destroying it. They must stop and set up camp.
  • Midpoint: The oldest princess, Ting-Ting, asserts to her sisters that they must follow their duty over their heart. Nevertheless, they sneak out with the guards to attend a festival.
  • Second Pinch Point: Shang catches them in the village, puts his foot down, and forbids their blossoming relationships. Mulan is incredulous and they break their own relationship off.
  • Third Plot Point: Continuing their journey, they get ambushed, resulting in Shang falling to his death. They regroup and mourn. Mulan decides to offer herself in the princesses’ place.
  • Climactic Inciting: Shang crashes the wedding, apparently alive. The people don’t like him.
  • Climactic Midpoint: Mushu masquerades as the Great Dragon to dissuade Lord Qin.
  • Climactic Moment: Lord Qin gives in, and weds the duo on the spot.
  • Resolution: China is saved, due to the alliance. Mushu is added onto Shang’s family guardians, which means he still gets to be with Mulan.

Rewrite Plot Structure

  • Hook: Three princesses play around. Their Queen Mother reprimands them, sorrowful herself.
  • Inciting Incident: The Emperor summons the Mulan and Shang to the palace for a secret mission. Mushu finds out he would lose his status as family guardian, as well as Mulan, should they get married.
  • Key Event: The duo decide to call off their wedding, and head to the palace. The Emperor quests them to escort his three princess daughters to form an alliance with Lord Qin to protect them from coming Hun raids.
  • First Plot Point: They leave their kingdom with the three princesses, three guards, and an entourage of guards.
  • First Pinch Point: They get ambushed by Huns, separating them from the rest of the soldiers. They press on ahead to make the deadline.
  • Midpoint: The oldest princess, Ting-Ting, asserts to her sisters that they must follow their duty over their heart. Nevertheless, they sneak out with the guards to attend a festival.
  • Second Pinch Point: They get ambushed again at the festival. Shang puts his foot down, and forbids their blossoming relationships. Mulan is incredulous and considers to break their own relationship off.
  • Third Plot Point: Continuing their journey, they get ambushed, resulting in Shang falling to his death. They regroup and mourn. Mulan decides to offer herself in the princesses’ place.
  • Climactic Inciting: Huns ambush the Qin palace. Everyone retreats inside.
  • Climactic Midpoint: The three guards joins the fight. They must fight their way to light the signal fire to call for reinforcements, but gently fan it to make it grow.
  • Climactic Moment: Reinforcements are called. One last Hun makes an attempt on Lord Qin, which is blocked by Shang, alive. Shang announces that the village that his father had died protecting was actually in Qin's dynasty. Shang demands for Qin to honor them by not requiring Mulan's marriage, to which Qin is pressed to fulfill.
  • Resolution: China is saved, due to the alliance. Upon accusations of treason, the princesses vouch for the guards. They all attend Mulan and Shang's wedding, whereupon Mushu officiates and completely fulfills his duty.

Act 1

1.x - Mushu intro - CUT

1.1 Princesses Intro - NEW

INT. DINING ROOM, ROYAL PALACE, MIDDLE KINGDOM

  • Three princess sisters, as children, run wild around the Royal Palace.
  • The Queen reprimands them, shoves fans into their hands, and forces their posture.
  • The girls are: heartbroken; disgusted; conflictingly obedient — in ascending order of age.
  • The Queen sings Who Could Ever Ask For More (Like Other Girls’ intro): Playing your role is the ultimate thing you can do.
    • The first verse of the song seems so different from the rest of it: almost as if it were another song?
  • By the end, the girls are all emotional and just bury their faces in their mom’s chest.
  • The Queen is aghast — she orders all her handmaidens out. The daughters prepare for a harsh scolding.
  • When everyone leaves, the Queen looks down. She's unable to bring herself to scolding them. She warps her arms around them, almost crying too.

1.x Family Intro - CUT

1.2 Mulan Intro

  • Time jump: Present
    • perhaps with a timelapse of the Palace, across twenty years of seasons coming and going, the Palace expanding. A big explosion of fireworks as Mulan defeats Shan Yu from the first movie. Then two more seasonal cycles.

EXT. PADDY FIELD - DAY

  • In a wild field, little girls come running wildly to Mulan wanting to learn how to fight and be like her.
  • She sings Lesson Number One: You must be both tough AND gentle.
  • The oldest girl exaggerates being tough, imitating a man, and destroys her sparring partners. Mulan offers to spar with her. Mulan is fluid and gentle, whilst firmly blocking some hits, and defeats her without ever landing a hit herself. This girl learnt lesson number one.
  • Shang arrives! Apologises coming back late from a mission. Manly war general, come to confess his love. The girls giggle at the manly emotional-ness and stutter.
  • Shang confesses his love and admiration for Mulan’s bravery and honour, proposing there on the spot.
  • Mulan says yes.

1.3 Reacting to the Engagement

INT. MULAN’S BEDROOM

  • As Mulan dresses up in her room, she breaks the news to Mushu
  • He establishes it’s been two years since the events of the first movie, Mulan I
  • Mulan affirms that Mushu is her most trusted friend, AND beyond dutiful as her guardian: Mushu has proven to be honourable.
  • Mulan explains how they had talked about it already and how Shang had planned it all in advance, and they are set to marry the next afternoon already.
  • Shang enters. “Your Grandma invited someone to help us celebrate.” “Who?” “Close relatives.”
  • Cousins fill the courtyard. They go out to greet them.

INT. FA FAMILY TEMPLE

  • Mushu wakes up the ancestors. He gloats at how much he went beyond his duty, not just keeping Mulan safe, but also helping her find love.
  • The ancestors remind him that once Mulan is married, Mushu loses fulfils his guardianship of Mulan. This means Mushu will go back to sleep as a stone guardian.
  • He realises, and stops bragging. He will lose Mulan.
  • The ancestors challenge Mushu: "How honourable are you, really? Will you keep to your duty to see the marriage through, even if it means losing Mulan?"

1.x Mushu Hatches His Plan - CUT

1.4 Differences

EXT. COURTYARD, FA FAMILY LAND

  • Back at the crowded courtyard, relatives compliment the Fa parents
  • “Everyone is here, especially when their cousin is a perfect bride and a perfect daughter!” “Your daughter, Mulan, is worth eight sons!”
  • Shang’s mother hugs him proudly, “Your father would’ve been so proud of you.”
  • The coiple wade through relatives, and disagree on things. Her parents comment, “Perhaps a not-so-perfect husband.”
  • Mulan expresses to some young cousins that she is basically being plucked away from her own family, and grafted into Shang’s. It’s gonna be tough duty.
  • An imperial messenger arrives, making a scene, and announces before everyone, “The Emperor sends his congratulations!—And also a special summon to a secret urgent mission—however the Emporer understands if the couple wishes to decline because of their wedding.
  • Mulan thinks that it would be a dishonour to accept the mission but postpone the marriage when the relatives are all here already. Shang overrules her that it would be a dishonour to refuse this request from the Emperor, especially in front of the entire family.
  • They purposely accept the call.

INT. BARN, FA FAMILY LAND - LATER

  • Fa Zhou (Mulan's dad) also gives Shan Yu’s sword for Mulan to use, as well as put a flower in her hair. He repeats, “The greatest honour is having you as my daughter.”

1.5 Palace Quest

INT. THRONE ROOM, ROYAL PALACE, MIDDLE KINGDOM

  • They arrive at the palace.
  • “Ah, General Li Shang, the most dutiful man in all of China, just as his father before him. There is no one else I’d rather appoint to lead this important mission. And I’m sure there’s no one else you’d rather have beside you than Fa Mulan, a warrior worth ten thousand men—also, your fiancebride-to-be. Congratulations, by the way.”
    • Caleb’s post-edit: HA fiancé is overtly French. Let’s have him say: “bride-to-be”.
  • The Emperor explains the quest:
    • Remnants of the Huns are one big nomadic group, raiding our cities
    • Taking advantage of Shan Yu’s mostly successful military campaign from the previous movie
    • We were overconfident on The Great Wall. Too many soldiers were already retired from active duty when Shan Yu striked.
    • In Mulan I, we had to call on reserves and new recruits: we relaxed the conscription conditions, extendeding to Mulan’s old father, along with Shang’s entire troop made up of previously “unfit for war” males like the Gang of Three
    • We still don't quite yet have enough troops to properly defend the Great Wall and repel the Hun raids.
    • Instead: we will send princesses to make an alliance with a neighbouring kingdom.
  • Mulan doesn’t overreact about arranged marriages, but does voice her concern for the princesses: the Emperor replies that they understand their duty and accept the honour.
  • Shang asks why the alliance demands marriage.
    • Reply: Emperor Qin is demanding and unhonourable—but he’s our last hope.
  • The Emperor provides them an entourage with a squad of palace guards
    • Shang requests to have an additional three special unit soldiers…

1.6 The Gang of Three

EXT. MATCHMAKER’S HOUSE - DAY

  • The Matchmaker kicks the Gang of Three out. “You three are WORSE than Mulan! Better hope you have her luck!”
  • They sing a shorter A Girl Worth Fighting For (Redux): how they’ve returned from war, fulfilling the expectations of a man, yet that’s not enough for any girl to want to date them
  • Mulan and Shang enter, and recruit them

1.7 Leaving the Palace

EXT. COURTYARD, ROYAL PALACE, MIDDLE KINGDOM - NIGHT

  • The three princesses (Su, Mei, and Ting-Ting) enter the carriage, hiding their faces with their fans.
  • Mei drops her shoe. None of the entourage notices (Remember, they have an entourage now).
    • Yao deliberates, then decides to pick it for her.
    • Mei mutters, “You’re just the guard – it’s not your duty to do that.” “No, but it would be my honour.”
    • Mei blushes, "No, the honor is mine, that I would have the privillage to be escorted by a soldier who is more than his strength." Yao runs back, heart racing.
  • Shang swears their safety, on the basis of his generalship.
  • Mulan prods them: she herself was matchmade to local men, but the princesses would stay forever in a foreign land.
  • The princesses affirm that just as Mulan saved their kingdom with the sword, they can save the kingdom with their marriages. As Mulan honoured her father, they must honour the Emperor.
  • Mulan mulls, and starts a thought: “You know when I took my father’s place in the army, I had to sneak out without my father knowing, right? Oh! We’re going. Princessess… with your sacrifices, you bring honor to us all.”
  • As brazen as the princesses show themselves to be, now that they’re alone, the princesses sigh sadly.
  • Mulan and Shang say aloud they should just about make the three-day deadline

Act 2A

2A.1 Reactions on the Road

EXT. GRASSLANDS, WILDERNESS - DAY

  • Mulan and Shang discuss the princesses’ arranged marriages in light of their own happy one.
    • Shang: “A soldiers’ duty is to die in war; a princess’ duty is to live in an arranged marriage.”
  • Mushu tells Cri-Kee that he’d test the relationship, just to be “really sure that Shang was worth Mushu himself losing Mulan”. With a slight hint of selfishness.
  • Yao expresses his infatuation to the Gang of Three, but the other two remind him that these princesses are engaged, and that to be entrusted as a royal escort was the highest honour for a soldier. Who could ever ask for more? Yao huffs.
  • Mei simps over Yao to her sisters. Ting-Ting reminds her of the solemn oath, the consequences and the great dishonour she would bring. They hide their faces with their fans again.

2A.2 Water Break

2A.2A Forming the Pairs

  • The entourage takes a water break. Shang and Mulan are busy with logistics.
  • The princesses are allowed out of their carriage, and the guards saunter towards one each.
  • Mei pours her heart out to Yao, who is surprisingly a smooth talker. “Sometimes, I feel like I’m worth nothing.” Reply: “Right now, you’re worth more than all our lives combined!”
  • Su struggles to pick fruits, and Chien-Po hoists her up, to her delight.
  • Ting-Ting spies on them. Ling tries to woo her with jokes, but Ting-Ting hides her face in her fan, stifling what sounds to be a disgusted noise. She books it.

2A.2B What is Honour?

LATER

  • Mei squats down to assist Mulan in packing travel prep.
    • `“Mulan raises an eyebrow, “Princess, you don’t have to help me!”“
    • “I protested the wedding for months. But when I heard that Fa Mulan was postponing her wedding for this — the same Fa Mulan who took her father's place in the army — I had dishonor on myself. So I finally agreed.”
  • Mulan realises the Emperor chose her specifically to convince Mei. A twinge of guilt. "Just because of me? I feel responsible… this is not what your heart wants."
    • Mei: “My heart wants to honour my duty to my country, and my father. Just like how you honoured your duty to your father.”
  • Mulan: “Mei… my father's duty for me was to impress the matchmaker. And I failed my duty, reaaally badly. But slipping away to take my father's place in the army? He would never make that my duty. That was me following my heart. I want this for you, too.”
    • Mei tears up. She starts… sobbing. "I don't want to do this. But I do! Mulan!"
  • Mulan puts a hand on the shoulder of the younger woman, just a girl. "The greatest gift and honor, for your father, is just having you as his daughter."

2A.3 Runaway Carriage

  • We see shadows hiding in the grassfields. Hun assassins whisper, “So our scouts were right—we need to prevent the alliance.”
  • The Huns AMBUSH. Amazing fight sequence. Mulan executes a tactical plan with the help of Mushu that wins the upper hand.
  • Mushu lights a firecracker/smoke bomb combo that Mulan tosses into the field. The Huns are blind and deaf, causing them to fight each other.
  • Mushu sabotages Shang—prematurely igniting his bomb. It goes off while on him, spooking the carriage horses.
  • This accidentally causes the carriage with the princesses to runaway and break away from the main fight.
  • The gang and some enemies break off to catch the runaway carriage. The main entourage soldiers are busy fighting the Huns
  • The gang has to jump off the runaway carriage, across a chasm, to the other side.
    • The carriage is destroyed in the chasm.
    • Perhaps a rope bridge that bridges the chasm was destroyed too.
  • The Huns retreat for a more opportune moment.
  • The entourage arrive at the chasm, but even throwing a rope doesn't reach far enough.
  • They establish it would take a day to re-route the chasm. Shang shouts across, “To make the deadline, we must travel without the entourage!”

2A.4 Conflicting Plans

EXT. CAMPSITE, FOREST - NIGHT

  • Mulan and Shang quarrel over how to travel. And who was to blame for the runaway carriage?
  • Mushu feels bad for sabo’ing Shang, and decides to do the dutiful thing to aid the marriage. He spots a nearby town and puppeteers a dummy to inform Yao. Yao, in turn, informs the couple of the informant (secretly Mushu) and of the nearby town.
  • The couple apologise: they both acknowledge they both must be more gentle. They are earlier on schedule and do have some hours to spare—Shang compromises to rest and make camp instead of pushing on. They note that before Chien-Po finishes his watch shift, they can do some sparring practice: their unique reconciliation activity.
  • The Gang of Three try to impress the princesses.
  • Mei teases Ting-Ting about Ling, but
    • Ting-Ting: “We can't fall for them! How can you hide from your duty?”
    • Mei: “How can you hide from who you really are?”
    • Mei storms into her tent.

2A.5 Princesses Break

INT. MEI’S TENT, CAMPSITE, FOREST - NIGHT

  • Mei throws away her fan and pens a goodbye/runaway letter.
  • Her sisters walk in on her in the act: “All this because some guard gave you his heart?!”
  • “No! It’s not about his heart, it’s about MINE. This… isn’t who I am inside.
  • Ting-Ting mentions “duty” and Mei breaks down.
  • Ting-Ting tries to sing Who Could Ever Ask For More
  • Her sisters break out into Like Other Girls: They all fantasise a life without duties and all heart.
  • Ting-Ting ugly laughs—she instinctively reaches for her fan to hide and suppress it—but decides to toss it away!
  • BUT, at the end of the song, Ting-Ting hardens again, picking up her fan:
    • “It doesn’t matter who you are on the inside, because on the outside, you’re a princess. A princess worth a hundred thousand citizens."
    • "You saw the Huns who just attacked us, who would destroy our kingdom."
    • "Mother had given me the special duty to make sure we do what we must.”
  • Mei says, “I hate that you’re right,” and storms out of the tent.
    • Ting-Ting looks away, stifling tears, because she hates that too.

2A.6 Going Crazy

EXT. CAMPSITE, FOREST - NIGHT

  • Mushu regrettably sees things going too well between Mulan and Shang. Conflicted, he decides to sow seeds of doubt. As the couple spars with bo staffs, Mushu ignites one of the bombs, ruining some supplies.
EXT. FOREST, CAMPSITE - NIGHT

Mushu blows a flame onto one of the bombs, and it goes off with a BANG! Shang jumps up in alert.

SHANG
An ambush!

MULAN
Relax, I think one of the bombs exploded by itself.

They run over to their supplies pile. Scorch marks stain and ruin various items.

SHANG
Our supplies are ruined! Mulan, you were supposed to watch the bombs!

MULAN
No, it becomes your duty after sunset!

They clean up the mess.

IN A NEARBY TREE

Mushu and Cri-Kee watch them closely, hidden. Cri-Kee shakes his head disapprovingly.

MUSHU
It's working!

BACK ON THE GROUND

SHANG
The runaway carriage was not my fault, and I'm sure it wasn't an accident. My father trained an elite captain — nothing gets past me.

Without warning, Mulan crashes a bo staff down onto Shang from behind.

Shang senses her, and rolls out of the way, annoyed.

MULAN
(playfully)
I got past you, didn't I?

Mulan continues attacking, so Shang ditches the supplies and picks up his own bo staff. As they make their arguments, they also get the physical upper-hand accordingly.

SHANG
Are you taking the mission seriously?

MULAN
Tonight would’ve been our honeymoon night, so, no, I’m not! Are YOU taking our MARRIAGE seriously?

Mulan's attack causes Shang to step back, and pause.

SHANG
(solemn)
Listen, Mulan. If somehow, during the mission... I somehow... die... will you complete the mission?

MULAN
If you DIED?! Why would you DIE?!

Mulan starts throwing fatal blows.

SHANG
Because of the mission! I just said so! It’s a simple question — why’s it so hard to give me a simple answer?

MULAN^
(talking over each other)
You can’t die! We were supposed to be married! What kind of question is that?!

Mulan sends Shang's staff flying, jabbing her own staff at Shang’s neck in victory.

MULAN
I told you we **shouldn't** have come on this mission.

Shang wrestles the staff out of Mulan’s hands, reversing their position.

SHANG
No -- I **need** to do this mission.

MULAN
(softens)
Shang -- tell me what’s on your heart.

SHANG
(waves it off)
Nothing. I’m going to rest before tomorrow’s journey. Good night.

Shang tosses away his staff and heads into his tent. Mulan takes over the night watch with Mushu.

2A.7 Sneaking Out

  • Whispering out of earshot of Mulan nor Shang, the Gang of Three invite the princesses to sneak out to the nearby village to have fun.
  • Chien-Po: “We risk our lives everyday to become a true, real man; we just want to be like other guys…”
    • #todo improve rationale for the guards, avoid nice-guy syndrome
  • The other two sisters look to Ting-Ting and she can’t bear their defeated faces. She huddles the sisters together and whispers, “We’re going to spend the rest of our lives following our duty. You both get one night to follow your heart.”
  • The sisters turn around and bittersweetly nod yes. The Gang of Three celebrate! And lead them off.
  • Mushu sees this and informs Mulan, who leaves right away.

Act 2B

2B.1 The Festival

EXT. MARKET, YONG’AN VILLAGE - NIGHT

  • Su and Chien Po bond over picking out food
  • Yao tries to impress Mei with his strength, by apprehending an escaping thief. The thief rages. Yao decides against whacking him further, instead gently correcting him by teaching him his own anger issues techniques, impressing Mei further.
    • "Nan-wu-ah-me-toe-fu-da…"
  • Ling woos Ting-Ting with more jokes but she just turns away, making some gagging noise.
    • Ling admits defeat, accidentally lighting firecrackers. Ting-Ting accidentally drops her fan, letting out a snort-y laugh.
    • She reveals she had been taught to suppress her un-princess-like laughter. Ling says he finds it endearing; `she replies that he’d be the first.

INT. SHANG’S TENT, CAMPSITE, FOREST - NIGHT`

  • Back at the camp: Shang is still awake and mad. He goes out, announcing it's his night watch shift. He also notices the princesses are gone, and heads for the village.

EXT. YONG’AN VILLAGE - LATER

  • Time jump to the end of the night. The three pairs bask in the fleeting moment over a bridge. They look in their reflection: Yes—this is who they are inside.

2B.2 Breaking Up

2B.2A Village Ambush

  • An Hun archer has his sights aimed on Mei. He releases the arrow — but it’s cut out of the air by Mulan’s sword. She's been following the whole time.
  • The pairs scatter — but the arrows keep following them. It's like facing a modern-day hidden sniper.
  • Shang gets Ling to go out as bait. Mulan vehemently disgrees. Shang overrules, Ling runs out at Ting-Ting's dismay.
    • Ling narrowly dodges all the arrows coming at him.
    • Shang sees the sniper: he runs out, takes his time to draw his own bow. The sniper spots him too, and aims back.
    • They exchange shots: the Hun goes down, but Shang gets hit in the shoulder, wounded.
  • A hidden second archer spots the wounded Shang. Fires.
    • Yao pulls Shang out of the way, saving him.
    • Chien-Po and Mulan take down the final archer.
  • `The Huns flee again.

2B.2B Sharp Contention

  • With an arrow still lodged in the shoulder, Shang confronts the guards for endangering the mission, saying they should be executed right there for treason.
  • Mulan steps in, defending them that it would’ve been worse to have been ambushed in the forest. Besides, at one moment, Yao saved Shang's life — just like Mulan did (back in the first movie) so Shang should give him the same honour. Let's get that arrow wound treated first—
  • Shang harshly shushes Mulan, puts his foot down and forbids the pairs to talk.
    • He orders the Gang of Three to escort the princesses to accomodations.
    • Shang turns to Ting-Ting: “I expected more from you. Your mother would've expected more from you.” She is cut to the bone.
  • Now alone together, Shang blames Mulan for filling their minds with “heart over duty”.
    • Mulan: "Shang, you're too harsh—"
    • Shang: "You too. Stop talking… with them. You gave them false hope that they could escape their duty. I would've stopped tonight's disaster if I had known."
    • Mulan replies, “You would have known if you bothered talking with them. They were safe—I was shadowing them.
    • “You knew, and you didn't tell me?!”
    • “Would you have agreed?”
    • “Of course not! The guards are a liability to the assets.”
    • “What are they to you, real people with real feelings, or just resources in another mission?"
    • They are real people, in a real war, with real bare minimum duties that they need to honour!
  • “Yao, Ling and Chien-Po gave the princesses honour by taking them out on one last night. In marriage, the women leave their family, not the men. These three young girls may never return home, forever. Not that you’d understand.”
  • Shang spins around and huffs, “Men, all across the nation, way too young AND far too old — they leave their family, over some parchment with their family name. So, I understand perfectly when nearly all of these men NEVER return home to their mothers, wives… and children.”
  • "And you don't find it ridiculous? That it doesn't matter if an elderly man has given up the best of his years with his family for the army, got injured with a serious lifelong limp — that he can get thrown into war again? He will surely die!"
    • "Not if sacrificing that one soldier is the difference between victory and defeat! One grain of rice can tip the scale—"
    • "—That man is my 爸爸, Shang! You would so easily send Ling out as bait to die? Just because they're men?"
    • "Too many lives were already sacrificed! Their deaths would be in vain!"
    • "Li Shang, you have no honor!"
  • Shang rips out the arrow from his shoulder, gesturing to it. “My 爸爸 (father) needs me to complete his mission. If you're not willing to be that one grain of rice... then we shouldn't be together."
  • Shang assumes leadership. They give each other the cold shoulder.

2B.3 Confession Valley

EXT. VALLEY - DAY

  • They all silently make their way down a narrow pass.
  • Ting-Ting tries to crack a joke with Ling when Shang wasn’t looking, but Ling doesn’t break.
  • Ting-Ting chucks a pebble into the distance in a fit. It soars over the walls, tumbling down, and knocks the back of a Hun. There’s a huge Hun camp nearby; they investigate.
  • Mulan lags behind, and Mushu confesses that he’s been sabotaging Shang. Mulan is deeply hurt, and says Mushu is unforgivable. Yet, she acknowledges that Shang and herself have escalated the problems on their own.
  • Still, Mulan affirms she will not marry Shang because he is going down this road of extreme duty.

2B.4 Ambush

  • Ohno they get ambushed again. It starts to storm.
  • Mulan throws some firecracker/smoke bombs like last time, but the Huns bat them all back like baseball. Shang takes a hit for Mulan.
  • Mushu fights and bravely defeats an enemy wolf.
  • A Hun captures Mei. About to kill her, his boss stops him. “Don’t kill her, you fool! Use her as a hostage for her sisters!”

EXT. RIVER RAPIDS - DAY

  • Shang and Mulan chase them to a bridge over ferocious rapids. Shang saves and retrieves Mei, and she runs off the bridge to solid ground.
  • The duo take out many of the Huns along the bridge, but…
  • The Huns cut the rope on their end.
  • The flailing bridge is swept downstream by the coursing river, and the duo are thrown off-kilter. The guards hold the bridge in place from their end.
  • Mulan and Shang fall into the river. Shang catches hold of a flaying rope and catches Mulan. He swings her up so she can grab a rope herself, causing his own rope to snap, so he reaches out for Mulan's arm.
  • Mulan grabs a rope hanging by its thread. Shang holds onto and weighs on her, being pulled by the current.
  • “The rope can’t hold us both. A soldier’s duty is to die in war, huh? …You’re the craziest person I’ve ever met. It is my honour to owe you my life.”
  • With that, Shang lets go gets swept under by the currents. The guard trio retract the rope, finding Mulan alone and wailing.

2B.5 Grief

EXT. RIVER RAPIDS - NIGHT

  • The three pairs solemnly take shelter under a rock as it rains that night.
  • Mulan grieves in the rain, with Shang’s sword and helmet: what’s left of him.
  • She looks into the torrenting river, hard to make out her reflection.
  • “Look at me: I will never pass for a perfect bride; or a perfect soldier. Can it be; I’m not meant to choose my heart? Now I see; that if I were truly to be myself… I could never play my part.”
  • She holds her sword to her hair—this time instead of cutting it, she cuts her hairband, letting out her long hair.
  • With a loud wail against a thundercrack, she drives the sword into the ground. She sets Shang’s helmet on it, just like his father’s grave.

2B.6 The Palace

EXT. RIVER RAPIDS - DAY

  • Next morning, the guards and princesses awaken. Mulan’s gone.
  • They note that her sword and uniform were left here, but Mei’s own makeup and one of her dresses are missing.

INT. THRONE ROOM, QUI GONG PALACE

  • Mulan (offscreen) implores to Emperor Qin to not require the arranged marriage, but he stubbornly doesn’t even look at her. “You’d have to convince the entire kingdom before convincing me!”
  • The camera pans and we finally see Mulan, all prettied up in Mei’s dress, vows and offers herself instead in marriage for the alliance.
  • Emperor Qin‘s counsellors tell him, “This is Fa Mulan, the hero who saved China! She is worth more than three princesses!”
  • Emperor Qin accepts the offer, and introduces his crown prince.
  • Shang walks through the door. Mulan is shocked; she shakes her head. It’s just the crown prince, a regular looking guy. She’s grieving and hallucinating.
  • Emperor Qin announces the wedding will be later at sunset!

Act 3

3.1 The Gang, and Shang - DEFERRED

EXT. HUN CAMP - DUSK

  • As the afternoon sun fades, the princesses and Gang of Three have been exploring for clues to Mulan's whereabouts.
  • They stumble upon the Hun camp. They overhear that:
    • Mulan had offered herself as bride! The Huns failed to stop the betrothal.
    • The Huns will make an attack during the wedding! (But to be conservative, saving troops for the later war)
    • If they can ruin the wedding, Emperor Qin will give up on the alliance completely.
  • The gang hastens towards the palace. “They wouldn’t believe us if we warned them. We need another way in… oh no, I feel a deja vu coming up. why do I feel like we've been here before?
    • Again, “deja vu” is overtly not Chinese LOL
  • Back with the Huns, they continue, “Did you see that Chinese soldier who fell into the river?” “Yeah, he looks just like that general we fought a year ago at that village!”
  • Back the broken bridge, Shang’s sword and helmet are gone.

3.2 Goodbyes

INT. DRESSING ROOM, QUI GONG PALACE

  • Mulan is in her dressing room, accompanied by handmaidens.
  • They put make-up on her—she bursts out in tears. They furrow in understanding, then leave the room to give her some space.
  • She mumbles to herself, “You defeat armies… but to them, you’re still just a girl to marry.”
  • Mushu steps out of hiding. “I tried to break you up from Shang so that I wouldn't lose you when you got married off. But tonight, when you marry this prince, I’m going to lose you anyways.”
  • “Then, I forgive you.” Mushu is confused but relieved. Mulan continues, “That’s what my heart wishes I had said to Shang.”
  • “You couldn’t fulfil your duty; I can still fulfil mine. Goodbye, Mushu.”

3.3 The Wedding

  • The handmaidens come back to finish her make-up, then stand to the side as she is revealed before the citizens on the palace stage.

EXT. STAGE, COURTYARD, QUI GONG PALACE - NIGHT

  • She walks up to the crown prince. Emperor Qin, who’s officiating the wedding, hands her a goblet as he makes his speech. She looks down wistfully in her distorted reflection in the goblet.
  • Shadowed figures silently take out the guards at posts. A shadowed figure takes out other shadowed figures. Huh?
  • Qin ties a sash between the pair, symbolically uniting two lives and the two kingdoms.
  • Qin asks Mulan to affirm the marriage, who glances one last goodbye to Mushu. She opens her mouth to repeat the vow…
  • An arrow whistles towards her. Mulan instinctively jerks back, so the arrow tears the sash instead.

3.4 Battle of Qui Gong Palace - NEW

  • Dozens of Huns ride in through the main doors. They stand at the gates so no one can leave. Everyone scatters. Big battle.
  • “Where are my guards?” Huns have been stealthily taking out most of the guards already. Cut to a bulky silhouette tearing through palace guards and Huns alike.
  • A few Huns make it to the crown prince, and though Mulan protects him successfully, they are forced back. “Into the palace and lock the doors!”

INT. FOYER, QUI GONG PALACE

  • They lock the gates, but some Huns enter from the windows. They all split up.
  • While the Huns pursue the other palace guards, some palace guards hide the three princes in a hiding spot.

INT. CORRIDOR, QUI GONG PALACE

  • Mulan is slowly backed into a dead end corridor with her defenseless handmaidens. She’s hopelessly outnumbered.
  • “You might need this.” A handmaiden behind her hands her Shan Yu’s sword.
  • The handmaidens reveal to be the Gang of Three in makeup. Mulan smirks, and they take on the Huns.
  • Mulan: “Wait, then where are the princesses?”

INT. HIDDEN BELOW STAIRS, QUI GONG PALACE

  • The crown prince: “My wedding day is ruined! I wanted it to be perfect!” The other prince argues, “It was supposed to be our weddings too!”
  • One guard huffs, “You’re princes who get everything your heart could ever want. Who could ever ask for more?”
  • “I could,” scoffs the third prince. “We’re not like other boys—we’re princes. We’re not like you. One of us, is worth more than all of you guards, combined.”
  • Another guard speaks up, suddenly in a higher pitch. “Every guard in here would die for you. Some already have. It is you, who are not worthy of us.”
  • Dramatically, the princesses take off their helmets and guises, hair flowing. “So, the sentiment is mutual.”

3.5 Fanning the Fire - NEW

INT. FOYER, QUI GONG PALACE

  • The Gang of Three wrestle with a few Huns.
  • A palace guard runs up. “Warrior!” Mulan turns around and the guard is surprised to see the bride leading the fight. He shrugs, anyways—“There’s a signal fire on the palace walls! If we light it, our reinforcements will scare the Huns away!’

EXT. BATTLEMENTS, WALLS, QUI GONG PALACE - NIGHT

  • Mulan gets the Gang of Three to pick up firewood and to follow her and deal with the Huns in the way. The princesses arrive, and help wherever they can.
  • A Hun leader cries, “Don’t let them light that signal!”
  • A Hun nearly gets Mulan, but Mushu saves her by straining to blast all the fire he’s got. Mushu is out of fire.
  • The male palace guards try to brute force their way to the signal fire. It doesn’t work.
  • In contrast, Mulan fluidly weaves herself (like in 1.2 Mulan Intro and reaches the firepit first. She sets down her firewood—
  • The matchsticks are gone. She turns to Mushu—he musters a mere little flame—Mushu is out.
  • Mulan gets preoccupied with fighting—the Gang of Three come to fan the flame with their brute strength: it nearly dies with the first blow.
  • The princesses push them aside. They fan it slowly and gently. The flame steadily grows.
  • The Huns see the flame, verbalise that reinforcements are coming, and retreat.

EXT. STAGE, COURTYARD, QUI GONG PALACE

  • On the palace stage, one last Hun makes a desperate dash to strike down Emperor Qin.
  • Mulan ties a bunch of floating lanterns together and jumps/floats down from the wall.
  • She can’t make it in time—but Shang does. Tattered clothes and all, he parries the blow. The Hun flies backwards. Shang’s survived the rapids and came back to save the day.
  • The Hun: “We will come for you, next time with the entire army, and we will crush your family name.” Shang knocks him out cold.
  • The battle is over. Everyone cheers.

3.6 Dishonour - NEW

  • Mulan and Shang reunite tenderly. Amidst the celebrations: “Hey, that’s my wife!” says the crown prince.
  • Qin walks up to them. “I still expect you to keep your duty of marrying my prince!”
  • “Two years ago, General Li, my father, went against direct orders so he could save your village from a Hun attack—beyond his duty to his own kingdom! Even the Huns could say that he fought honourably until the last child escaped. As his son, I demand that you honor him, release Fa Mulan, and make the alliance.”
  • Qin laughs proudly. “Am I your Emperor? Is it my duty to honour him?”
  • Mulan has had enough. “That’s it! Dishonour! [turning to Shang] Make a note of this. Dishonour on you! Dishonour on your family! Dishonour on your kingdom!”
  • Qin is incredulous. He’s about to pronounce a death sentence.
  • “Dishonour!” Chien-Po cries from the crowd. “Dishonour on you!” some citizen echoes. “I will fight for the alliance! For honour!” The courtyard is in uproar.
  • Qin looks around panickingly. He’s baffled. “Okay! Okay!” He grovels at Mulan’s feet. “Please! Please grant us the honour to make the alliance with you!”
  • Shang stares off into the sky, “I understand now, 爸爸: one grain of ricecan tip the scale.”

3.7 The Three Reunited - NEW

INT. THRONE ROOM, MIDDLE KINGDOM PALACE

  • Back home, The Gang of Three are tossed at the Emperor’s feet.
  • Some soldier accuses, “These guards sabotaged the mission! Their duty was to protect the princesses, but they only flirted with them, and put them in danger! Make an example of them, or else every boy will want to Be A Man like… them!”
  • The princesses step forward: “爸爸, these men have protected us, besides saving our kingdom too?!! And most of all… they brought Honour to us. To Us All.”
  • Following your duty is just like following your heart, except you’re following someone else’s heart, usually against your own heart. Because you want to honour that person.
  • 爸爸, we want to honour you.
    • “We would cut our royalty ties, and live as nobodies Like Other Girls, if it means to be with them!”
    • “…But I know we are not Like Other Girls. While we will follow every word you command to honor our duty, we will also follow our heart, for that is honouring ourselves.”
  • The Emperor raises an amused eyebrow. What happens is left vague.

3.8 The Marriage - NEW

EXT. GAZEBO, FA FAMILY LAND - DAY

  • Mulan brings Mushu in front of a room to meet Shang.
  • “So this is the talking lizard!” “No, see, I don’t do the tongue thing. I breathe fire, though!”
  • Mushu turns to see the room before him: Mulan’s parents, Shang’s mother, the Gang of Three and the princesses. “Wait, so you’ve told everyone. I thought we had a little something special!”
  • “Of course I told everyone. You’re my most special friend who agreed to officiate my wedding!”
  • Mushu officiates the wedding, tearing up in pride. Mulan says yes.
    • Probably need to research on ancient Chinese marriage practices, this is so Western LOL. But eh.
  • Mulan goes in to kiss Shang. Yay!
  • Then, she pulls back, and Mushu’s gone.
  • Bittersweet moment: Mushu has fulfilled his duty. Mulan and Shang are married. Princesses/Gang of Three are fulfiled. China (Middle Kingdom) is saved. Woooo