Did you know that the legend of Mulan dates back to 420 AD? The heroine first appeared in a famed Chinese poem that rose to prominence during the Northern Dynasties. Disney’s 1998 feature, Mulan, holds true to the basic premise of the poem – patriotic girl with ailing father disguises herself as a man to join the army and goes on to many victories in battle.

But Disney’s incarnation of the tale was one in a long succession of adapatations with different outcomes. In 1960, the story was adapted into an opera, The Lady General Hua Mu Lan, which many consider the best known version and most like the Disney film. There’s one notable exception: instead of being discovered as a girl while unconscious, Hua Mu Lan in the opera resists the efforts of her comrades to remove her armor when wounded, vowing to die before taking off her gear. No one found out her true identity until the war has ended.

One version of the folklore involves Hua Mu Lan’s death during battle. Another outcome of the oral history involves her suicide in order to escape an unwanted marriage. A 1939 black and white film Maiden in Armor also drew its inspiration from the legend of Mulan. And in 1999, a farcical TV comedy called Hua Mu Lan, began airing on a local Taiwanese station. In that version, a general is smitten with the disguised heroine and believes he’s in love with a man.

The Disney version of Mulan continued with their straight to DVD Mulan II, where Mulan's plans to marry are postponed when she's placed on special assignment to escort the Emperor’s daughters to their own marriages in other Chinese cities. As with Disney’s first effort, the title role was voiced by actress Ming-Na Wen, known for her work on Stargate: Universe, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Book of Boba Fett.

In 2020, Disney released a live-action Mulan film starring Liu Yifei in the titular role. Rated PG-13, this version portrayed the violence and struggles of war, while also presenting the beauty of the landscape, costumes, and culture.