Following the arrival of the Huns in their invention of China, the Emperor of China wants new recruits to join the war. He sends Chi-Fu, his councilman, into Mulan’s town to give each family a conscription notice: “one man from every family must serve in the imperial army.” He lists off families, with the Fa family being named. Mulan screams, “No!” and runs for her father as his limps up toward Chi-Fu. He coldly tells her she has “dishonored him.” Mulan quietly steps back, watching him limp back for their home. Later that night, Mulan, after a spat with her father and her family now asleep, steals he father’s sword, war scroll, armor, and cuts her hair before disappearing into the rainy night.
The next morning, Mulan is practicing being a man in order to get into the camp of recruits. With the help of Mushu, a small Chinese dragon, she does. After some misunderstandings with fellow recruits a fight breaks out with Mulan on the ground. Captain Li Shang exits his tent, following a military meeting with his father, General Li, when he sees this. The recruits get off of Mulan as Shang walks over, saying, “I don’t need anyone causing trouble in my camp.” Mulan apologizes, but quickly tries to make herself seem manly, even punching Shang in the arm. Shang asks for her name, which Mulan struggles to give, until she finally tells him her name is “Ping.”
The next day, the first day of training, Shang removes his shirt, to which Mulan peaks from behind a fellow solider and checks him out. The exercise is to retrieve an arrow Shang shot to the top of a tall wooden post, using two heavy stones that represent “discipline” and “strength.” Everyone fails to reach the top. The following days of training aren’t well earlier, to which Shang gives Mulan her horse for her to go back home. Mulan walks off, when she notices the arrow still lodged in the post. For the rest of the night, she struggles to reach the top. By the break of dawn, she manages it, throwing the arrow down at Shang’s feet when he emerges from his tent. The days following, training goes better and Mulan bests Shang in hand-to-hand combat, knocking him down, which leaves Shang pleased at how far she’s come.
After Mulan baths in the river, she overhears Shang and Chi-Fu argue over the recruits, which results in Shang being dismissed from the tent. Mulan tries to reassure Shang by telling him, “For what it’s worth, I think you’re a great captain.” This works for a moment as Shang stops walking and flashes the tinniest of smiles over his shoulder before continuing on. As Shang walks off, Mushu comes up to her, saying, “You like him…” Mulan attempts to brush it off, by ends up smiling anyway, giving herself away again.
Mushu wants to speed things up, so he devises a plan to get the newly soldiers on the frontlines with a false letter asking for them. The soldiers travel to where General Li, is supposed to be when it’s realized he and his soldiers were all killed by the Huns. Shang is devastated, but hides it well. As Shang is making a makeshift grave, Mulan walks up and gives her sincere condolences, which Shang accepts. As Shang is getting up, he lays his hand on Mulan’s shoulder before addressing the soldiers they’re moving out.
On the journey through the mountain pass, a canon fires from Mulan’s carriage which has Shang furious that their position has been given away. He quickly tells her to get “out of range,” and have other canons saved. They fire their canons at the perched Hun soldiers whom are firing flaming arrows down at them. Shang commands they save their last canon, which is to be fired at the Huns leader, Shan Yu. Deceiving her own plan, Mulan takes the final canon and runs with it down the snowy slop as Shang yells for her to come back. With Shan Yu’s massive army charging toward, Mulan fires the canon at the mountain side, causing a great avalanche. Shan Yu manages to slice at Mulan’s slide before she’s able to run and grab Shang. Khan, Mulan’s horse, breaks free from another solider restraining them and goes to aid Mulan. Once on top of Khan, Mulan makes a desperate attempt for Shang but falls short before he’s carried away with the heavy snow. Mulan goes for him again, this time succeeding in getting him on Khan with her. With the help of the other soldiers, they’re pulled up over the cliff and hauled up to safety. As they lay there, gathering their breath, Shang thanks Mulan, telling her, “Ping, you are the craziest man I’ve ever met. And for that I owe you my life. From now on, you have my trust.” As Shang is helping Mulan up, she falls to the ground in pain, from the wound Shan Yu had inflicted on her earlier. Shang yells out she’s wounded and as Mulan fades into unconsciousness, Shang tells her to “hold on,” being the last thing she hears.
Shang anxiously paces back and forth as he waits for Mulan’s medical status report. The doctor emerges from the tent and informs him of something that make’s Shang burst into the tent. Mulan wakes and smiles up at Shang, as she sits up to greet him, the blanket covering her falls, relieving bandages covering up to her breasts, giving away her secret. Shang storms out of the tent with Mulan following out after him. She attempts to explain, even telling him her true name. Shang walks for her horse, grabbing her sword, heavily implying he’s going to kill her for the dishonor she’s brought. Ultimately he drops the sword in front her crouched body, claiming, “A life for a life, my debt is repaid.” He alerts the others they’re leaving, which as them shocked as they’re abandoning her on a cold, snowy mountain at night.
Once Shang and the others have left, Mulan realizes the Huns are still alive, a few having survived the avalanche, including Shan Yu. She races toward the city where a parade is being held in honor of “China’s heroes.” Shang looks down, clearly saddened by his choices. Mulan runs up alongside Shang and tells him the Huns are alive and in the city. Shang tells her to go home and she tries again, telling him, “Why else would I come back? You said you trust Ping, why is Mulan any different?” Shang dismisses her and continues forward for the Emperor’s palace.
During the Emperor and Shang’s exchange, Shan Yu reveals himself and the Huns to be in city. They kidnap the Emperor, which Shang the other soldiers attempt to thwart, but to no avail. Mulan runs up to them, telling them she has a plan. Fellow soldiers Ling, Yao, and Chien Po follow her lead, leaving Shang behind. Ling, Yao, and Chien Po disguise themselves as women, using cloth to hoist themselves up the beams of the palace. Just as they’re about to start climbing, Shang comes up to Mulan, placing a hand on her shoulder and smiles. He too follows Mulan’s lead and climbs up with them. They make it up, with Ling, Yao, and Chien Po distracting the Huns guarding the door. Mulan yells for Shang to go save the Emperor.
Shang fights off Shan Yu, while Ling, Yao, and Chien Po rescue the Emperor. Once the Emperor is rescued, Mulan calls for Shang to zip line down with her when he’s knocked out by Shan Yu. Refusing to leave Shang, Mulan stays put, cutting the rope zip lining down. Mulan touches Shang wake and as Shan Yu inches closer, Shang throws an arm up to shield Mulan. All Shang has a weapon is small blade which Shan Yu hits out of his hand. Before Shan Yu can deliver a fatal blow, Mulan reveals herself to be the “the solider from the mountains.” Shan Yu leaves Shang alone in his attempt to kill Mulan.
Following Mulan’s successful fight against Shan Yu, as she’s leaping from the roof of the palace, she lands on top of Shang as he’s running down the stairs, the two landing next to each other. Once on their feet, Chi-Fu comes down the stairs as well, demanding “that creature’s not worth protecting.” Shang, along with Ling, Yao, and Chien Po, move to circle around her, effectively shielding her from Chi-Fu’s outburst. Shang quips back, “She’s a hero!” Chi-Fu goes on by saying “she’ll never be worth anything.” This leads to Shang garbing Chi-Fu by the collar, ready to defend Mulan more when the Emperor comes down the stairs, insisting “that is enough.” Shang and others move aside as Mulan comes round from Chien Po to be face-to-face with him.
The Emperor states all the wrong Mulan’s done, which he then ends then with, “…and you have saved us all.” He bows before her, which leads to Shang and others doing the same. She runs and hugs the Emperor which he happily accepts; Ling, Yao, and Chien Po hug her themselves. With Shang last, Mulan walks up to him, inching closer to him. He stumbles over his words, with him ultimately telling her, “Uh, you–! You fight good.” Mulan looks down, clearly saddened his choice of words, telling him, “Oh… thank you.” She walks away for her horse and heads for home. Shang watches on, also saddened by that outcome. The Emperor walks up to Shang, telling him, “You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.” This leaves Shang smiling fondly as he watches Mulan ride away.
Sometime later, after Mulan arrives home, Shang arrives as well; asking Mulan’s mother and grandmother is she lives there, which they silently point her out with surprise. Shang carries Mulan’s war helmet, stumbling over his words some more as he tries to return it. Mulan’s father gives her a knowing look, which leads to Mulan asking Shang if he’d like to stay for dinner. Shang replies back, “Dinner would be great.”
Mulan IIOne month later, after saving China, Shang arrives to Mulan’s family home as she’s finishing up training small girls how to be “warriors.” Shang is now a general, taking his deceased father’s place, when he comes up to Mulan saying, “Mulan, I haven’t known you for very long, but I feel that doesn’t matter so much when a man is in lo—.” The young girls stare and then giggle, causing Shang to start over, before suggesting if he and Mulan can talk somewhere else privately. Mulan asks the girls to leave and once they’re gone, she takes Shang by the hand, leading him to the cherry bloom tree in her yard. Mulan sits down on the bench in front and Shang kneels down to propose. Seconds later, Mulan flings herself onto Shang’s arms, screaming, “Yes!!” The two fall to ground with Mulan on top, laughing as her family watches on, delighted.
A little later, after a talk with Mushu about the upcoming wedding, Shang shyly walks up to Mulan saying her grandmother invited “someone” to help celebrate the engagement. Mulan questions, “Really? Who?” To which Shang merely states, “China.” The two walk out and are greeted by several hundred people, all congratulating them. Shang and Mulan teat the party like a “battle field,” and decide to “divide and conquer.” While at the party Mulan’s parents take notice how Shang and Mulan have different opinions on their wedding and life going forward, which leads to them saying they’re not a very “harmonious couple.” Not long after, Shang and Mulan are summoned by the Emperor of China. Referring to how both of them were summoned, Mulan states, “[The Emperor] knows a winning team when he sees one.” Before they leave for the Emperor’s place, Mulan’s parents give them their yin and yang necklaces.
Upon arrival to the palace, Shang and Mulan are told their mission is to escort the Emperor’s three daughters to the Qui Gong Kingdom for the purpose of arranged marriages, as the Mongols are threatening China. They take their previous fellow soldiers Yao, Ling, and Chien Po along as well. Their three day journey begins that night. The following morning, Mulan voices her dislike of the arranged marriages, which Shang tells her, “I know, but not everyone can be as lucky as we are. In an ideal world everyone would marry for love, but the world isn’t perfect. I’m just glad my world is.” As he’s saying this, Shang gently places his hand over Mulan’s and she smiles and they continue on.
While on this mission, Mushi attempts to make Shang look bad as when he informed the Ancestors of Mulan’s marriage to Shang, he’d no longer be Mulan’s guardian as Mulan will be a part of the Li family from then on. It’s during a montage of Mushu’s attempts does Mulan always find a silver lining in Shang’s humiliation, showing much she does love Shang and is willing to goof around with him. Not long after, Mushu accidentally dislodges a stone keeping the carriage carrying the princess flying down a steep hill, heading for a ledge. Shang and Mulan effortlessly work together in saving the women, though losing the carriage in the river below. When Shang comes up to the surface, his immediate action is to yell for Mulan and swim directly for her when she surfaces herself, them holding each other close.
From the fall into the river, the map leading their path is torn. Shang and Mulan have their first argument as a couple when it’s brought up on what they should do. Mulan wishes to “wing it,” while Shang wants to continue using the map. At the mention of asking for directions, Shang is annoyed, while Mulan doesn’t understand why men have an issue with that. Yao interrupts their small spat with a scout report—he’s found a new path they can take. With a new plan, Shang and Mulan quickly apologize to each other and share a moment and embrace. When they break, they find the necklaces have tangled with together, which causes them to laugh. Shang holds her hands, though Mulan steps back as she has “first watch.” As Mulan pulls away, Shang reaches for her, but with her too far, he ends up watching her walk back instead.
Knowing this can’t stand, Mushu executes another plan of making Shang believe Mulan is manipulating him. Shang confronts her, and having no idea what’s happening, Mulan is confused, which leads to Shang storming off, and Mulan following in the opposite direction a moment later. Earlier that night, Chien Po over hears the princesses wishing to be like “other girls,” which leads to him, Yao and Ling leading the girls out of the camp to a nearby village. Not wanting to wake Shang as he’s already on a “short fuse,” Mulan sneaks out to get the six of them back. With his plan still in motion, Mushu wakes Shang up with him also leaving the camp to bring them back, more irate.
Mulan arrives there first, delighted to learn the the six of them have fallen in love, only for Shang to arrive a minute later and break them a part. He sends them back to camp, with him and Mulan the ones left. The two argue over how Mulan’s duty is to “follow her heart,” when Shang’s is honor and tradition. Mulan hits a nerve when she questions if Shang even has a heart. At this, Shang breaks up with Mulan. As Shang rides back to camp, Mulan stays put as dark clouds gather overhead, showing her own heartbreak.
The following day is solemn as the mission continues; no one is talking; only orders are given. Shang and Mulan are still wearing the yin and yang necklaces, holding them in their hands at the same time, while apart. Mushu attempts to make Mulan feel better, but to no avail. He finally breaks and confesses to her that he’s what has gotten between her and Shang. When Mulan realizes all her and Shang’s “problems” were Mushu all along, Mulan races for Shang, commenting how she has to tell him she loves him. Before she is able to, the group is ambushed and the princesses are kidnapped. Mei, a princess, is hauled across a bridge where Shang and Mulan fight off more bandits. The bandits cut the ropes to the bridge, sending it falling. Mulan grips Shang, begging him to hang on. Shang tells her he’s sorry, before letting go and falling far down into the water below. As he falls, Mulan screams and cries for him.
Once saved, that night, Mulan stands in a heavy rainstorm, holding Shang’s sword. As she stares down at it, Shang’s reflection flashes and Mulan breaks down and mourns his loss all night. It’s not until the following morning do the princesses, Yao, Ling and Chien Po come out does Mulan react to what’s around her. Ting-Ting, a princess, tells her that her and her sisters are ready to go through with the arranged marriages, to which Mulan refuses as that’s why they’re out there in the first place, saying, “Losing Shang will not be meaningless. No matter what it takes, I’m finishing this mission.”
Mulan makes for the Qui Gong Kingdom, set to marry the Emperor’s eldest son. During the ceremony, a shuriken is thrown between Mulan and her to-be-husband. She looks up to see Shang racing for her. The Emperor shoves him away, telling him he needs to leave. As Shang holds his ground, Mulan asks what he’s going to do, to which he answers he’s “winging it,” going even further by saying how he’d marry Mulan “right here, right now.” The Emperor pries them apart and Shang and Mulan reach for each other when Mushu pretends to be the Qui Gong Kingdom’s Great Golden Dragon of Unity. The Emperor listens to Mushu’s ruse and agrees to release Shang and Mulan and announces them as husband and wife. Shang and Mulan share a kiss over a cheering crowd.
Back at Mulan’s home, Shang and Mulan unit their families via the temple, where Shang meets Mushu for the first time as Mulan has “no secrets from her husband.” Mulan asks what combining their temples does and what about the rules, to which Shang answers, “Of course. Right next to the rules about dressing up like a man and joining the army.” They hold each other’s hands and laugh.
- One the first day of training, Mulan checks out Shang after he removes his shirt.
- After Shang and Chi-Fu’s argument, Mulan tries to reassure Shang by telling him, “For what it’s worth, I think you’re a great captain.”
- Following the death of Shang’s father, General Li, Mulan offers her sincere condolences, which Shang accepts.
- Shang thanks Mulan–Ping–for saving his life.
- As Shun Yu inches closer, Shang throws an arm up to shield Mulan.
- Shang defends Mulan against Chi-Fu, the Emperor’s councilman.
- Mulan invites Shang for dinner, which he happily attempts.
- Shang proposes to Mulan, which she very happily attempts.
- When the group falls into the river, Shang’s first reaction isn’t of the mission: it’s of Mulan and getting to her.
- Shang sacrifices himself so him and Mulan don’t both die.
- Believing Shang is dead, Mulan is determined to complete the mission so Shang’s “death” won’t be “meaningless.”
- Shang goes against his own code and “wings it,” just like Mulan.
- Shang and Mulan are married by the Qui Gong Kingdom’s emperor.
- Shang and Mulan share a kiss.
- “For what it’s worth, I think you’re a great captain.”
- — Mulan to Shang, Mulan.
- “Ping, you are the craziest man I’ve ever met. And for that I owe you my life. From now on, you have my trust.”
- — Shang, Mulan.
- “[Mulan’s] a hero!”
- — Shang to Chi-Fu, Mulan.
- Mulan – “Would you like to stay for dinner?”
- Shang – “Dinner would be great.”
- — Mulan.
- “Mulan, I haven’t known you for very long, but I feel that doesn’t matter so much when a man is in lo—.”
- — Shang, Mulan II.
- “I know, but not everyone can be as lucky as we are. In an ideal world everyone would marry for love, but the world isn’t perfect. I’m just glad my world is.”
- — Shang to Mulan, Mulan II.
- “Losing Shang will not be meaningless. No matter what it takes, I’m finishing this mission.”
- — Mulan, believing Shang is dead, Mulan II.
Li Lonnie is the daughter of Disney’s Descendants versions of Mulan and Shang. She original had a short cut hair style until she asked Mal, the daughter of Maleficent, to use her hair changing spell on her so she could have “cool” like hers. Her parents’ fighting skills could be the reason why she also enjoys martial arts and kickboxing.
On AO3, Mulang is the most written ship within the Mulan (1998) tag; Fa Mulan’s most written, as well as Li Shang’s most written.
- Mulan/Shang tag on AO3
- Mulan/Shang (Disney) tag on FanFiction.net
- Mulan/Shang (Kingdom Hearts) tag on FanFiction.net
- Mulan and Shang are one of the few canon Disney couples to appear in Kingdom Hearts.
- Mulan and Shang make background cameo appearances in the Disney channel’s original film, Descendants.
- Shang is one of the few princes who doesn’t appear in the TV show Once Upon A Time.
- In this TV adaption, Mulan is a lesbian and is in love with Princess Aurora.