We still have more than a year to go until Disney's live action adaptation of Mulan arrives, but 2018 marks the anniversary of its animated predecessor's release. As the second-to-last movie of the Disney Renaissance, Mulan was another big success for the studio in 1998, earning many positive reviews and making over $304 million worldwide. And like most of the popular Disney movies from that era, Mulan was a musical, with songs like "I'll Make a Man Out of You" and "Reflection" still fondly remembered. However, a song that ended up being cut from Mulan was called "Keep 'Em Guessing," and it had Eddie Murphy's Mushu, Mulan's miniature dragon sidekick, advising her on how to keep her cover as a male soldier. Regarding why the song wasn't included in the finalized cut, here's what lyricist David Zippel had to say:
We wrote three different versions of it. But that's because we didn't understand at that point that it wasn't that [Eddie Murphy] wasn't liking our songs, he just didn't want to sing in the film.
It's been a long time since I've watched Mulan in its entirety, but after reading the above quote, I do remember that Mushu did indeed not belt out any tunes during the movie. Well, unless you count when Eddie Murphy says, "This guy's got 'em scared to death" during "I'll Make a Man Out of You." While Murphy was all too happy to play Mulan's comedic relief, as David Zippel (who worked on the movie's musical elements with composer Matthew Wilder) revealed to EW, evidently the actor wasn't interested in singing in the movie at all. Fortunately, Mushu still had plenty to do throughout Mulan, so it's not like his role took a major beating just because Murphy didn't lend his vocal talents to a musical number or two.
With the live action Mulan movie coming up, one might wonder if this means that the new version of Mushu, unlike Eddie Murphy's iteration, will lead his own musical number. The only problem with that assumption is that so far, there's no indication that Mushu will even be a character in this new adaptation. In fact, with the basic premise of Mulan disguising herself as a man so she can take her father's place in the army, this new Mulan movie sounds quite different from its predecessor, from a sorceress taking Shan Yu's place as the main villain to a new character named Chen Honghui serving as the eponymous protagonist's love interest. Hell, while director Niki Caro has said that music will play an important role in the new Mulan movie, we don't even know if this version will be a musical. So basically, it'd be best not to compare the live action Mulan adaptation too much to the animated movie when it comes out; they sound like two incredibly different beasts.