Disney's 1998 film Mulan is a modern-day classic, as the millions of fans who've memorized every word of "I'll Make a Man Out of You" can attest. Mulan is one of Disney's fiercest heroes, joining the army in her father's stead while attempting to keep her identity hidden. Even on its own, the movie is one of Disney's best, but fans who have rewatched it dozens of times have cooked up some theories that are too good to ignore.
Many of the theories explain away the story's gaps in clever, satisfying ways. Others attempt to connect Mulan with other films in the Disney canon. Some of them are just downright creative, and they all bring a little something extra to this timeless film. These Mulan fan theories remind us that there's still a lot to learn about the original animated film.
Mulan's music is one of the film's most memorable aspects, and Redditor /u/chondroitin proposed a theory based on the lyrics of "A Girl Worth Fighting For." During the song, all the men in Mulan's regiment sing about how they are in combat to protect the women they love back home. This doesn't really apply to Mulan, as she is there because of her father, but the theory contests that she is also fighting for a girl.
The song ends rather bleakly as the unit stumbles upon a decimated village. Mulan stops to pick up a doll, symbolizing that Mulan is actually fighting for all the little girls of China. This isn't the first moment involving a doll either - earlier in the film, Mulan swipes a doll from a little boy and returns it to the crying girl he took it from.
Redditor /u/Xasrai proposed a theory claiming that the Great Stone Dragon knows Mulan extremely well because she is always praying to it for advice. When Mushu attempts to awaken the Great Stone Dragon in order to fetch Mulan, it refuses.
It understands that Mulan is honorable and doing the right thing, so it lets her go. Defying the ancestors' will may have ultimately led to the Dragon's destruction, but it is willing to sacrifice itself to help Mulan.
Mushu is Mulan's dragon guardian, but a theory from Watso Videos suggests that he's not the only creature sent to help Mulan on her journey. They believe the Fa family horse, Khan, is actually Fa Zhou's guardian, just as Mushu is Mulan's. This is backed by the fact that Khan seems incredibly intelligent and goes out of his way to save Mulan on several occasions.
Khan was likely granted to Zhou as protection by his ancestors when he first went into combat, but Khan wasn't needed once Zhou retired. This is why he can travel with and guide Mulan.
The whole reason Mulan joins the army is to keep her father, Fa Zhou, out of the conflict. Although he is an experienced and renowned warrior, Zhou is past his prime and suffers from physical ailments. So why did the Chinese forces want him in their ranks so badly?
Redditor /u/Wash_zoe_mal posted a theory that could explain this contradiction. Mulan's troop is clearly a band of misfits. The young, inexperienced captain struggles to help his men accomplish even basic training, and he's quite obviously in over his head.
The theory suggests that Zhou wasn't enlisted to become a foot soldier - instead, he was to be assigned as an officer over the misfit troop. Given his experience in conflict, the notion of the Chinese army seeking him out for such a position is fairly logical.