Christina Aguilera will return for the Mulan remake with a new take on “Reflection” and more original songs
Update, March 6th: On Friday, March 6th, Christina Aguilera released “Loyal Brave True,” a new song off of the Mulan soundtrack. The singer also confirmed that the soundtrack will include a new version of her classic song “Reflection” from the animated 1998 movie. Billboard reports that in a press release, Aguilera briefly described the two new tracks, saying that “Loyal Brave True,” in particular, “represents the fine balance between vulnerability and strength”— much like Mulan itself.
You can watch the official lyric video for “Loyal Brave True” below:
Original post, February 28th: Mushu the tiny dragon may not be making an appearance in the upcoming live-action Mulan remake, but one, very important [unofficial] cast member is: the one and only Christina Aguilera. During a performance at her Las Vegas residency Xperience, the singer announced to the audience that she’ll be recording an updated version of “Reflection,” the original movie’s signature ballad, as well as some brand-new songs.
After her Mulan music announcement, Aguilera she sang “Reflection,” everyone cried, and we booked our flights to Las Vegas.
To clarify, Broadway actor Lea Salonga performed “Reflection” as it appeared in the original movie. But Aguilera’s uber-popular rendition of the song, which she released when she was 17, led to her signing with RCA Records and effectively launching her career.
We’ve already gotten a little teaser that “Reflection” would appear in Niki Caro’s version of Mulan. The second movie trailer, which dropped in December, was scored to an orchestral version of the ballad—but this is the first time we’ve received confirmation that the song will appear, in full (and sung by Aguilera herself), at some point in the movie. Considering that Caro announced that the movie will not be a musical, it’s likely that Aguilera’s “Reflection” will pop up during the opening or closing credits.
Other than its beloved original ballad, don’t expect to find too many similarities between the live-action Mulan and the cartoon.
The 2020 version of the film will remain even more loyal to the “The Ballad of Mulan,” the early-medieval Chinese legend that inspired the original Disney movie. But the remake will also, definitively, be a product of our current cultural moment. For one thing, producer Jason Reed said that the character of Li Shang—Mulan’s commanding officer and love interest in the 1998 film—would instead be split into two, separate characters due to the original film’s troubling power dynamic.
“Particularly in the time of the Me Too movement, having a commanding officer that is also the sexual love interest was very uncomfortable, and we didn’t think it was appropriate,” Reed told Cinemablend.
And director Niki Caro is joining the (tiny) ranks of the four female directors to helm a live-action film with a budget exceeding $100 million. Caro has said that she’s committed to retelling this story with greater cultural and historical accuracy (and a feminist bent), though she and Disney have been criticized for not affording this opportunity to a Chinese director.
Still, we’re so curious to see how the new Mulan, which will premiere on March 27th, 2020, will both mirror and stray from its cartoon predecessor—and, of course, to hear Aguilera’s musical contributions.