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.
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.
This theory from Tumblr user atla-annotated proposes that Chi-Fu, the Emperor's grubby advisor, is actually a eunuch. In Imperial China, the Emperor was known to employ eunuchs in the Forbidden City. Eunuchs were the only men allowed in the innermost courtyards of the palace, the home of the Imperial family.
These men could be identified by their blue overcoats and hats, and they would often have only faint traces of facial hair. Their voices were also relatively high-pitched and were often mocked. Chi-Fu possesses all of these traits, and he's even mocked for his high-pitched scream by other men in the 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/liapocalypse proposed a theory claiming that Mulan isn't the actual hero of the story, and the Chinese empire would have fallen if not for her little dragon, Mushu. At one point in the film, Mushu and the Lucky Cricket forge a letter and give it to Mulan's commanding officer, Li Shang. This leads the unit into combat and ultimately restores Mulan's honor.
The letter claims to be from Shang's father's regiment and requests immediate assistance, so the troops move out. They eventually cross paths with the Huns, who are marching towards the Empire with designs on taking it over.
Shang's unit engages with the Hun forces and severely cripples their army, clearing the path for the Empire's eventual victory. This only occurred thanks to Mushu's letter, making him the most important asset in the conflict against the Huns.