Mulan is a supporting character on Once Upon a Time. A skilled warrior who aided the valiant Prince Phillip in his quest to awaken his cursed lover, Aurora, Mulan travelled long distances and fought many foes. After they get to Aurora and are faced with a deadly Wraith, Phillip's soul is taken and Mulan and the princess grow closer and join forces to face a new challenge: the arrival of outsiders in the fairytale land. However, the vow she made to Phillip, to protect Aurora, keeps her conflicted all throughout, about who she dedicate her helping hand to: the princess she swore to protect, or the strangers who need to return home.
Before the Curse
Mulan meets Prince Phillip. ("The Outsider")
Mulan spends weeks tracking down a beast that has been tormenting her village for a fair amount of time. She finally finds the cave in which the beast resides, but unluckily for her, Belle finds it first with help from books. The naive princess wanders close to the cave entrance but alerts the beast and is almost killed by it. Her life is saved when Mulan shoots an arrow at it. The warrior angrily tells Belle that she spent weeks hunting the beast down and demands she keep out of her way. Later on, Belle is attacked by her previous companions and they threaten to throw her down a well. However, Mulan saves her life again and attacks the men, humiliating them. The warrior decides to team up with Belle in hunting the beast down as she found it in a matter of hours, so she could be useful. As they follow the beasts destruction, it becomes clear that Mulan hurt her leg in the fight earlier, so she becomes unable to engage in any more combat. She gives Belle her sword and tells her to slay the monster that is destroying the villages. Belle enters a village where the beast is at and manages to defeat it by pouring water onto its fiery mane. However, it turns out that the beast is in fact a prince that was curse; Prince Phillip. Belle introduces Phillip to Mulan so they can both work together to treat their injuries. ("The Outsider") After this, Mulan and Phillip team up together to rescue the latter's true love, Aurora, who has been cursed with eternal slumber by an evil witch named Maleficent. Over their time together, they face many battles, and Mulan apparently falls in love with the prince. However, their search is put on pause when Regina enacts her Dark Curse. They are frozen in time as the area they're in is protected by a spell Cora cast. ("Broken"/"Queen of Hearts")
After the Curse
Mulan is introduced to Aurora. ("Broken")
Prince Phillip and Mulan are able to find the former's beloved princess, Aurora, sleeping inside a gazebo on her palace, under the effects of the sleeping curse Maleficent cast upon her. Phillip awakens her with the kiss of true love, and they are overjoyed to find themselves back in each others company. However, their happiness is short-lived, for they are soon attacked by a Wraith, a soul-sucking creature, that somehow makes it to their land and marks Phillip. The latter keeps this a secret from his traveling companions, so as to not worry them, but the two women are able to track him down just in time to witness his soul being taken by the dark creature. They mourn his loss and Mulan tells Aurora the truth that Phillip wanted to withhold from her: their land was ravaged by the Dark Curse, enacted by Queen Regina, and most of its inhabitants disappeared into another realm, but for some reason that part of the land was spared and they were frozen in time for 28 years until something broke the curse and they were able to continue their quest to find Aurora. They then notice something, coming from the rubble from which the Wraith had previously emerged. Mulan removes the wreckage and they find Emma Swan and Mary Margaret Blanchard, who came from Storybrooke via a magic portal, and are now unconscious. The warrior and the princess are therefore led to believe that these two women are responsible for the death of their beloved prince... ("Broken")
Mulan takes Snow and Emma prisoner. ("We Are Both")
Mulan and Aurora are riding their horses along a coastline with Snow and Emma tied up, following behind them on foot. They soon stop as they arrive somewhere, so Snow asks what the place is. Mulan tells them it is their home. A while later, when they arrive at the "home", the four girls walk through the camp, and there is many more people there, shocked to see Snow and Emma, mainly because of what they are wearing. Emma states it's like the people are refugees, so Mulan snaps that they are survivors. With that, Snow kicks the princess in the stomach and calls out for Emma to escape. They both run away, but Snow is knocked unconscious when Mulan throws a sling at her. Emma goes back to help her mother and then the warrior orders for them to be thrown into "the pit". ("We Are Both")
Mulan offers to help Snow and Emma get home. ("Lady of the Lake")
When Lancelot releases Emma and Snow from captivity, Mulan and Aurora watch from afar. The princess is angered, claiming they were responsible for Phillip's death, and she says she wants justice. Mulan demands the princess not to confuse justice with vengeance. Later, the warrior assists Emma and Snow on their journey to find a portal to Storybrooke. She gives Emma and Snow the choice of one weapon to take. When Emma seems to be taking the situation too lightly, Mulan warns her of how dangerous an Ogre is. Aurora follows them and attacks Snow White with a knife, however, she defends herself and pins the princess to the ground. Mulan pulls Snow off the princess, stating she'll sort the situation out. However, Emma soon intervenes and fires her gun into the air, alerting an Ogre. They all flee and Emma is nearly killed. After the Ogre is killed by Snow, they continue their journey to the royal castle. Mulan and Aurora stand guard outside, but when Cora revealing to have been in the guise of Lancelot the whole time, Mulan fights against her, saving Emma's life. When the portal to Storybrooke is destroyed, both Mulan and Aurora promise to help the mother and daughter get back to their family. ("Lady of the Lake")
Mulan wants to leave Hook for dead. ("The Doctor")
Emma, Snow, Mulan and Aurora return to the safe haven to find that Cora has murdered all of its inhabitants, by ripping their hearts out. However, they find a man - Killian Jones - alive, hiding beneath the corpses, who claims to have survived the attack. Mulan confirms that he was a blacksmith who joined their camp a few months prior. Emma is suspicious of the man and uses her perceptive gift to try and see if he is lying to them, and is able to tell that he is. Therefore, the women tie him to a tree and demand that he tell them his true intentions, under the threat of leaving him to be eaten by the ogres. However, Killian comes clean: he reveals himself to be the famed Captain Hook, and tells them that Cora requested his help, by having him earn the ladies' trust and find out everything he could about Storybrooke, so that she didn't have any surprises when she finally got there. He then reveals that the magic of the burnt wardrobe remains, and with the use of a magical compass that Cora seeks, they might just be able to make it to Emma's land. Hook then offers his assistance, the same way he did to Cora: he'll help them get the compass. They untie him, and let him tag along. Emma and Mary Margaret acknowledge that he is probably setting them up to take a fall, but this way they can stay one step ahead at all times. Killian brings them to a gigantic beanstalk that leads all the way to the clouds, and reveals that the compass is up there. ("The Doctor")
Mulan follows Emma's orders. ("Tallahassee")
At the base of the beanstalk, when the four girls argue over who should be the one to climb up with Killian, Mulan insists she should go as she is the most skilled warrior. However, Emma overrules Mulan and takes her aside before climbing. She asks Mulan to cut down the beanstalk if she doesn't return within ten hours and to make sure Snow White gets back to Storybrooke. Mulan agrees, and then provides Emma with ground poppy in order to knock the Giant unconscious. After Emma and Killian begin their climb up the beanstalk, Mulan draws a line in the sand and places a stick in the sand at the end, saying to the other two women it is a way to keep track of the watches each of them should have. When Emma has been gone for ten hours, Mulan strikes a heavy blow to the beanstalk, but it tackled by an infuriated Snow who demands to know what she's doing. Mulan states that it is her daughter's wish. Just then, Emma jumps off the beanstalk, so Mulan does not need to cut the beanstalk down. ("Tallahassee")
Mulan is caught, trying to escape with the compass. ("Into the Deep")
Mulan later announces to Emma that she may have some ideas as to where Cora is hiding. Emma goes to find Snow so they can discuss them together. ("Child of the Moon") After Aurora wakes up from her dream and meeting Henry, Snow reveals that the fiery room is real, shocking Mulan. The girls then plan on stopping Cora, so they decide to use Aurora to contact Henry for information from Mr. Gold. On their way to a camp, Mulan notices a burn on the princess’s arm and is reluctant to let her return to the netherworld. As Aurora sleeps, the group are attacked by a gang of “zombies” awakened and controlled by Cora. Mulan wakes her up before she can get the information and fights off a few of the men. She then runs away with Aurora, but they’re attacked and the princess is kidnapped. Mulan is later reunited with Emma and Snow and is horrified to reveal that Aurora has been taken. Cora sends a message to the girl revealing that Aurora will die if she doesn’t receive the compass by sundown. Mulan insists they take it, but Emma and Snow want to make a plan. She tells them that they cannot defeat Cora because they don’t have Rumple’s assistance. Snow says they do as she’s been under the sleeping curse. She asks Mulan to make more sleeping powder, she reluctantly agrees. After making the powder and putting Snow to sleep, Mulan sneaks off with the compass but is stopped eventually. Snow almost kills Mulan but it stopped by Aurora, who escaped. They then head to Rumple’s jail cell to find the way to stop Cora. ("Into the Deep")
Mulan saves Aurora. ("Queen of Hearts")
When the group finally arrive at Rumplestiltskin's cell, Mulan uses her torch to search the cell for the squid ink. After Aurora finds Rumple's note with Emma written on it over and over, Mulan finds an empty vial that once contained the ink. They are suddenly trapped in the cell by Cora and Hook and Cora reveals that she's controlling Aurora. When they leave, Mulan apologizes to Aurora for not protecting her. Snow eventually realizes the note is written in the squid ink, so uses it to escape the cell. Aurora asks to be tied up as she can't be trusted, so Mulan reluctantly agrees and accompanies Snow and Emma to find their enemies. They eventually find them about to enter a portal at Lake Nostos and a fight ensues. Mulan uses her sword to deflect Cora's attacks. After Cora vanishes, Aurora's heart nearly falls into the portal, but Hook saves it and gives it to Mulan. Mulan gives Snow her sword and then leaves to reunite Aurora with her heart. She is able to put Aurora's heart back in her chest. Aurora then tells Mulan that Cora told her that Phillip may be able to be revived, and the two set off to recover his soul. ("Queen of Hearts")
Mulan and company find an unconscious Neal. ("And Straight on 'Til Morning")
Some time later, Neal Cassidy - none other than Rumplestiltskin's son and Henry's father - is wounded by a gunshot, fired by his fiancée Tamara, and taken through a magic bean portal. After falling through the portal, he presumably landed in the ocean near the Enchanted Forest and was carried to shore by the waves, and as he lies there, someone is seen approaching. We are shown that it's Prince Phillip, who is alive and well, and asks who it is, before flipping Neal over. Aurora, who's standing near her prince, crouches down beside him and states that she doesn't know. As Mulan crouches down also, Phillip asks if Neal's alive, and Aurora places her hands on his neck and face, feeling for a pulse. "Barely," she declares, "We have to get him help." As Mulan stands up, Phillip grabs onto the unconscious Neal's neckline and requests that Aurora help him, and the two of them proceed to carry him to safety so that they can help him. ("And Straight on 'Til Morning")
Mulan is told of Neal's world. ("The Heart of the Truest Believer")
Mulan watches over Neal as he rests at Aurora's palace. Once he awakens, she asks him who he is. After Aurora gives Neal water, Mulan decides to question him, and when he claims to be from the Enchanted Forest, she doesn't believe him, stating his clothes are similar to Emma and Snow's. Neal asks if she means Emma Swan, so the warrior asks how he knows her, revealing him to be the father of her child, Henry. As Aurora tries to communicate with Neal's family via the Netherworld, Mulan asks Neal how he got to the Enchanted Forest, and he tells her he fell via portal. Mulan asks what the other world is like, so he tells her that everyone believes the people from the Enchanted Forest are just characters in stories, shocking her. When Aurora fails to make contact, Mulan accompanies Neal to Rumplestiltskin's castle in hopes of finding a way to communicate. On their way, Mulan wonders why Emma never mentioned Neal when she was in the Enchanted Forest, so he explains that he broke her heart. When they arrive at the castle, they run into Robin Hood, who claims the castle to be his own. Neal introduces himself as Rumple's son and allows Robin ownership of the castle, but asks to find something first. When he eventually finds a crystal ball, he tries to use it to communicte with Emma, but he's unable to use it. Mulan gives him advice, and it finally works, but he's horrified to discover she's in Neverland. ("The Heart of the Truest Believer")
Mulan hears some heartbreaking news. ("Quite a Common Fairy")
After discovering that Emma is in Neverland, Bae begins looking for a way to get there. He explains that she and Henry need to be saved, but Mulan points out that she only saw Emma in the crystal ball. Bae theorizes that the only reason Emma will have gone to Neverland is to save Henry from Peter Pan. When Robin Hood’s son, Roland, enters, Bae gets an idea on how to go to Neverland. Bae asks Robin to allow his son summon Pan’s shadow; he reluctantly agrees. When the time comes to summon the shadow, Mulan gets into her position as Robin goes over the plan with Roland. When everyone is ready, Roland loudly states the he believes. When the plan seems to have failed, the shadow unexpectedly arrives and grabs Roland. Robin holds his son back to prevent him from being taken and then Mulan helps by cutting Roland’s sleeve off, losing the shadow’s grip. It then flies away and Bae jumps onto it, hitching a ride back to Neverland. Later, Robin thanks Mulan for her help and for saving his son and then he asks what she will now do with herself. Mulan thinks about this, but before she can answer, Robin offers her a place among the Merry Men. Mulan tells him she’s honoured, but explains there’s someone she wants to talk to before it’s too late. Robin Hood understands this to be a loved one, to which Mulan comments that she shall see. Mulan later approaches Aurora, who is pleased she is back. After finding out Phillip isn’t near, she reveals she has something to say, however, before she can, Aurora reveals that she is pregnant. Mulan appears heartbroken and then refuses to say what she was going to say, so instead tells the princess that she is leaving and joining the Merry Men. Mulan later walks into the camp of the Merry Men, where she is welcomed warmly by them. ("Quite a Common Fairy")
Promotional poster of the 1998 film adaptation by Walt Disney.
The character of Mulan is based on the legend of Huā Mùlán in the poem The Ballad of Mulan. The poem, frequently shortened to Mulan, which was publicized in the sixth century, is an ancient Chinese poem in Southern and Northern Dynasties, detailing the story of Huā Mùlán (花木蘭). There are many adaptations of the story, the most popular - and the one followed closely by Once Upon a Time - being the 1998 film adapation by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The general story is during a time of war in China, a young woman named Hua Mulan sees that her father has been conscripted into the army. Having no older brothers, she decides to dress as a man and goes to war in his place. She spends more than ten years fighting alongside other male soldiers. Later, the emperor offers her a government post, but she turns it down saying that she would prefer to return home and see her family. At the end of the poem, Mulan finally reveals her female identity to her army comrades, who are shocked to see her as a woman.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the character.