This Remake of Mulan's "I'll Make a Man Out of You" Is All About Female Empowerment

On the heels of the Sept. 4 release of Disney’s live-action Mulan remake, another part of the film has gotten a 2020 makeover of its own, and we might love it just as much as the original. As a tribute to the live-action film, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” composer Matthew Wilder and lyricist David Zippel remade the iconic Disney song with new lyrics and a dance-worthy rhythm that celebrates the bravery and strength of women like Mulan who have made their mark on the world.

“Ladies, time to give it a go! Be the star of your show,” the song begins. “I’m talkin’ right now. Shout it out loud. You can’t be too proud. It’s time we raise up all our voices. Let’s celebrate our choices!” The official video for the song includes a slideshow illustrating the song’s message and highlighting a few admirable women throughout history — including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Michelle Obama, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman — who displayed their heroism through their actions.

As much as we love the original version, the remake’s new bridge and rhythm turn the song into an upbeat anthem of female empowerment. “The irony of the song in its original context was that Mulan was hiding who she is as she trains to be the best and compete in a man’s world,” Zippel told POPSUGAR. “The new version is right out in the open . . . Mulan in 2020 would not have to hide who she is. She would be right out front singing this song, unafraid to exhibit her power.”

Since the original song’s release in 1998, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” has become the anthem of a generation, and Wilder and Zippel made sure to keep the song’s influence in mind when creating the remixed version. “When we attempted to write the new version for the 2020 training sequence, David’s lyrics had to adapt to a point of view that did not include Shang or the mention of Huns,” Wilder said. “My production had to still sound classically filmic, yet bring a new point of view, as well . . . David and I had to free ourselves to bring the right balance of giving the fans the essence of the original, the essential elements of what made the original version so successful and yet have fun with the new version, allowing it to earn the fans’ appreciation on its own merit.”

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