Star Trek Guide

Mulan: Where You Have Seen the Actors Before

The arrival of Disney's new live action Mulan has brought the return of some familiar characters played by an entirely different cast. Though the actors are new to the Mulan story, they are not new to the film industry, and audiences may recognize them from their previous works.

Here is a breakdown of the main actors in Mulan and where you may have seen them before:

Mulan (Yifei Liu)

Mulan's star has been in the film industry for over a decade. While Yifei has starred primarily in overseas releases, notably as Zon Yu in 2015's The Third Way of Love and as Diao Chan alongside Chow Yun-Fat in 2012's The Assassins. She has appeared in western releases as well -- most notably, her role in the 2008 action film The Forbidden Kingdom, a film where she performed alongside Jackie Chan and Jet Li. She also released a couple of J-Pop albums back in 2006.

Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now

Commander Tung (Donnie Yen)

One of the biggest names in Mulan, Donnie Yen has starred in countless martial arts and action films since debuting in 1984's Drunken Tai Master and is one of the highest-paid Chinese actors around. Audiences might also recognize him most for his roles in Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryShanghai Knights or xXx: Return of Xander Cage, buthis most iconic role is that of Wing Chun master who trained Bruce Lee: Ip Man. He starred in the four Ip Man films, each martial arts classics.

Chen Honghui (Yoson An)

Yoson An is still early in his career, with his first acting credit being the 2012 video game Path of Exile. Before Mulan, Yoson's biggest role in a blockbuster was that of Major Chen in Peter Jackson's Mortal Engines. He has also starred in several television shows, including Dead Lucky, Fresh Eggs and The Luminaries.

Hua Zhou (Tzi Ma)

Tzi Ma is another character actor with a sprawling list of roles, many of which are iconic in their own right. In addition to appearing in action classics like Robocop2, Rush Hour and Rush Hour 3, Ma also played roles on such TV shows as 24 and The Man in the High Castle. More recently, Ma starred in 2016's Arrival and 2019's The Farewell, both of which were critically acclaimed.

Hua Li (Rosalind Chao)

Rosalind Chao started her career in the 1970s sitcom Here's Lucy. From thereChao became a mainstay on television shows such as AfterMASHStar Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Chao also appeared in I Am Sam, Freaky Friday and What Dreams May Come. However, her most iconic film role came in Joy Luck Club.

The Matchmaker (Cheng Pei-pei)

Cheng Pei-pei plays the small role of the Matchmaker in the film Mulan, but has a decade-spanning career before that, appearing in several wuxia films since the 1960s. One of her earliest claims to stardom is the 1966 Hong Kong wuxia film Come Drink With Me, which helped spark her acting career. While some might know her from the television series Ice Fantasy or Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Cheng Pei-pei's most iconic role is 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Xianniang (Gong Li)

Gong Li, who plays the fascinating witch Xianniang in the live-action Mulan, has had a massive career. Li has been in three Chinese language films nominated for Best Foreign Picture -- 1991's Ju Dou, 1992's Raise the Red Lantern and 1993's Farewell My Concubine. Other noteworthy foreign films include Curse of the Golden Flower, 2046 and The Emperor and the Assassin. Outside of Chinese cinema, she has appeared in such movies as Memoirs of a Geisha, Miami Vice and Hannibal Rising. She also appeared in the 2011 Chinese remake of What Women Want.

Bori Khan (Jason Scott Lee)

Jason Scott Lee is no stranger to Disney films. While arguably best known for playing Bruce Lee in 1993's Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Lee was in one of the first live-action Disney reboots: 1994's The Jungle Book. He would later return to Disney again for Lilo and Stitch, voicing David. Since then, he's appeared in several films, including Soldier, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, Seventh Son and Balls of Fury.

Chancellor (Nelson Lee)

Nelson Lee, who plays the Chancellor, has spent decades as a television character actor. Lee has appeared on Oz, multiple Law & Order shows, Blade: The Series and more. Most recently, he played the Dragon King in DC Universe's Stargirl.

The Emperor (Jet Li)

Jet Li is one of the most iconic actors in Mulan. The international action star, who made his debut in 1982's Shaolin Temple, has had a storied career. Li starred in the first three Once Upon a Time in China films, Fist of Legend, Fearless and the Academy-Award nominated film Hero. His American debut was as the villain in Lethal Weapon 4, after which he went on to star in films such as The One, The Forbidden Kingdom, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Romeo Must Die and all three of The Expendables films.

About The Author


More on this: 571 stories