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This article focuses on the Enchanted Forest character, Mulan.
For the Chinese legend, see Mulan (legend).
For the Disney movie, see Mulan (film).

I'll teach you how to fight better than any man here. I'll teach you the most important thing you need to have to fight... honor.

—Mulan to Merida src

Mulan is a character on ABC's Once Upon a Time. She débuts in the first episode of the second season and is portrayed by guest star Jamie Chung.

Mulan is based on the character of the same name from the Ballad of Mulan, and the titular character from the Disney film, Mulan.


Before First Curse
At some point, Mulan serves in the army of the Emperor of her native land, and proves herself in battle. For several months in her home empire, Mulan tries to track down a beast called the Yaoguai. After finally reaching the creature's den, Mulan sees a woman, Belle, trying to lure it out. When the Yaoguai comes out to attack, Mulan fires an arrow to force it away. Belle is grateful for her help, though Mulan berates her for scaring the beast and ruining her chance of killing the Yaoguai and saving her village. She storms off into the woods; snapping at Belle that the best way to help is to stay out of her way. Later, when Belle is accosted in a village by her former travelling companions, Mulan attacks and drives them away, but receives a wound to her leg. When Belle inquires as to why Mulan saved her, she asks for assistance in following the beast, and then allowing herself to kill it. As they go after the Yaoguai, Mulan discovers her leg injury is worse than she thought, and encourages Belle to defeat the Yaoguai. At first, Belle is unsure and hesitant, but gains more confidence when Mulan hands over her sword. Belle defeats the Yaoguai by restoring him to his human self, Prince Phillip. She introduces him to Mulan, and the two eventually become travelling companions. ("The Outsider")

During First Curse

Mulan joins Prince Phillip on his journey to awaken his true love, Aurora, from a Sleeping Curse. They begin actively travelling when the curse is cast by the Evil Queen. However, a small area is spared from the curse due to Cora's shield spell, merely freezing the remaining inhabitants for twenty-eight years. ("Queen of Hearts")

When Emma decides to stay in Storybrooke, time resumes in all the lands with magic, and Mulan and Prince Phillip continue their search for Aurora.

After First Curse

As they reach a crumbling palace, they see Aurora who remains under the influence of the sleeping curse. Prince Phillip awakens her with true love's kiss. However, the happy reunion is cut short when a Wraith enters into the Enchanted Forest and attacks them. Prince Phillip is unwittingly marked by the Wraith's amulet, but keeps this information to himself. Once they start setting up camp for the night, he disappears and never returns. Mulan realizes what happened earlier and sets out to go after him. Before she can, Aurora accuses her of being in love with Prince Phillip. Mulan staunchly denies it; claiming that though they fought many battles together, she has no romantic feelings for him. They reach Prince Phillip just in time to witness his demise as the Wraith sucks out his soul and leaves the medallion behind. In mourning, the two women lay Prince Phillip's body on the palace bier. Mulan hands Aurora the bagged medallion for safe-keeping. As they prepare to leave, a sound startles them. Under a pile of rubble, they find two women, Emma and Mary Margaret, unconscious underneath it. Mulan blames the strangers as the culprits in Prince Phillip's death. ("Broken")

Mulan and Aurora ride away from the palace while forcing the women to follow along with their hands tied. They reach a Safe Haven where many survivors inhabit the area. Mary Margaret attempts to escape by kicking Aurora, giving Emma a head start, but Mulan throws a weapon to bring her down. Then, Emma and an unconscious Mary Margaret are thrown into a holding pit. ("We Are Both")

The leader of the Safe Haven, Lancelot, wishes to speak with Emma and Mary Margaret. He recognizes Mary Margaret as Snow White and they have a warm reunion. Since Lancelot trusts them, Mulan lets down her guard, though Aurora still holds animosity towards the two women for Prince Phillip's death. She warns the princess not to confuse vengeance with justice. By Lancelot's request, Mulan accompanies Emma and Mary Margaret for their journey to an abandoned castle, which may have a portal for them to return home. After giving them weapons, they travel through the woods until nightfall approaches. While Mary Margaret is gathering materials for building a fire, Aurora—who has been secretly following the trio—attacks her out of revenge. Mulan intervenes; telling Mary Margaret to stay out of the conflict and let her speak to Aurora. Emma reacts by firing her gun in the air, which startles both Mulan and Aurora. The noise attracts ogres, so they split up until Mary Margaret takes the creature down with an arrow to the eye. When they arrive at the castle, Mulan and Aurora keep watch at the gate while Emma and Mary Margaret go inside. By chance, Cora, disguised as Lancelot, ambushes the pair inside the castle. As a battle ensues, Mulan and Aurora hear the commotion and rush to help. During the commotion, the magic wardrobe Emma and Mary Margaret planned to use for returning home is burned to ash. Stunned at Cora's trickery, Mulan is shocked that she fell for the disguise of a shape shifter all this time and is unsure what to tell the survivors at the Safe Haven. Mary Margaret suggests she should tell them the truth; that Lancelot died a heroic death. With Lancelot dead, Mulan elects Mary Margaret as the new leader to guide the survivors. Though appreciative of the title, Mary Margaret wishes to return to her own home in Storybrooke with Emma. Mulan and Aurora agree to aide them in their quest. ("Lady of the Lake")

On the way back to camp, Mulan is perplexed on how to detail to the Safe Haven residents the manner of Lancelot's death. Upon arrival, Mulan is horrified to see all the people have had their hearts ripped out. Aurora discovers a lone survivor beneath some bodies and they speak to him in order to learn how he managed to live. He talks about hiding under some of the corpses to avoid Cora, who tore out everyone's hearts, but Mulan is not buying his story. With Emma's help, Mulan ties the man to a tree to allow the approaching ogres to eat him. Finally, the man confesses to his true identity, Captain Hook. He admits to being on the same side as Cora, but asks to team up with them instead. After Emma cuts him free, Mulan holds a sword to his back as Hook leads them to the location of a beanstalk. He states the item they need to return home; a enchanted compass is at the top, but they need to get past a giant. ("The Doctor")

At the base of the beanstalk, Mulan insists she should be the one to climb the beanstalk as most experienced warrior of out of all of them. Emma overrules her, and speaks to Mulan privately before making the journey up the beanstalk. She asks about the strength of her sword, and Mulan states it is the strongest sword in the land. Emma requests to be given a time limit of ten hours to get back down from the beanstalk, and if she has not returned, Mulan must cut down the beanstalk and ensure Mary Margaret goes home safely. Mulan agrees, and provides Emma with poppy dust to knock the giant out. After Emma and Hook set off, Mulan draws a line in the ground and punches a stick in the sand as a way to keep track of time. When it reaches ten hours and there is no sign of Emma, Mulan deals out a heavy blow to the stalk with her sword while Mary Margaret attempts to stop her. Mulan strongly insists it is Emma's wish she cut down the beanstalk. As the two women fight, Emma jumps down from the beanstalk in time with the compass in hand. ("Tallahassee")

Aurora, suffering through a side effect of the Sleeping Curse, experiences a dream in which she meets Emma's son Henry in the Netherworld. In an ambush, Cora uses the hearts of the Safe Haven victims and commands them to rise and attack. As the undead approach, Mulan and Aurora flee in one direction while Mary Margaret and Emma are left behind to face the creatures. Mulan becomes distracted after she is tackled to the ground by one undead while two others grab Aurora and kidnap her. Mulan takes off the head of the undead and regroups with Emma and Mary Margaret only to realize Cora now has Aurora. Without her, they have no way of accessing the Netherworld, so Mary Margaret asks to be put into a deep sleep to reach Henry. As they head to a nearby poppy field, a raven with a message from Cora arrives. Cora demands the compass by sundown, or risk Aurora's life. Mulan tries to take the compass by force, but Emma and Mary Margaret convince her to allow them until sundown to contact Henry and come up with a plan. She reluctantly agrees. In the field, Mulan cuts a poppy flower and crushes it into dust. Once the powder is blown in Mary Margaret, she falls asleep and travels to the Netherworld. While she is out, Mulan is not able to wait any longer and pilfers the compass to deliver it to Cora. On the way there, the two women catch up to her. Mary Margaret tackles Mulan to the ground and savagely threatens to finish her with an arrow. Mulan stubbornly refuses to hand over the compass, so Mary Margaret moves in for the kill when Aurora arrives to break up the altercation. From Mary Margaret's previous communication with David in the Netherworld, they learn the key to defeating Cora is some squid ink located in Rumplestiltskin's old cell, and continue on their expedition. ("Into the Deep")

As they arrive and venture into the underground jail beneath the ruins of the palace, Mulan uses her torch to search the cell for any sign of the squid ink. After Aurora finds a note written by Rumplestiltskin with Emma's name scribbled on it, Mulan discovers an empty small glass vial with no ink inside. Suddenly, Aurora entraps them in the cell, to which Cora parades in with Hook to reveal she is in possession of the girl's heart. After the two leave to make their way to Storybrooke, Mulan apologizes to Aurora for allowing Cora to get her heart. While stuck with no way out, Mary Margaret recalls seeing Cora use magic in a certain manner and realizes the squid ink is on the parchment with Emma's name. She demonstrates its power by blowing the ink dust onto the cell handle bars, which melt away. Aurora insists Cora still has too much power over her and asks to be left behind. Reluctantly, Mulan ties her to the remnants of the jail cell and hurries off with Emma and Mary Margaret to Lake Nostos. Just as Cora and Hook prepare to jump into the portal, Mulan, Emma and Mary Margaret do their best to fight their way through. With her sword blade, Mulan deflects Cora's incoming magic. Though she moves to attack, Cora vanishes into a puff of smoke. Aurora's heart nearly falls into the portal, but Hook makes a grab and tosses it back to Mulan. While Emma prepares to battle Hook, Mary Margaret directs Mulan to go and give Aurora her heart. Before she leaves, Mulan hands her sword to Mary Margaret for magic deflection. After returning to the cell, she inserts the heart into Aurora's chest. Aurora shares information on the whereabouts of Prince Phillip's soul, which she was told by Cora, and that he can possibly be revived. They set off to find a way to bring him back. ("Queen of Hearts")

As a young and skilled warrior in swordsmanship, Mulan somehow finds herself in DunBroch under the services of King Fergus. While donning a soldier's armor and helmet, she is challenged into a duel by Fergus' feisty daughter Merida, who she quickly disarms and knocks flat on her back. Mulan offers to teach swordplay to Merida, and from then on, they have regular lessons together. On another day, going by Fergus' orders to keep his daughter away from the upcoming southern invasion, she deliberately brings Merida to a different location to practice dueling, when suddenly a horn blares, signaling the start of the battle with the southerners. Merida rushes to the skirmish in time to see a mystery knight approaching to attack her father, and she attempts to stop the soldier with an arrow, but the shaft pierces the knight's cloak instead. After Merida witnesses the knight cut down her father, Mulan leads her away from the battlefield. ("The Bear King")

Using unknown means, Mulan and Aurora manage to retrieve and restore Phillip's soul. By the beach's shoreline, the trio come across an unconscious man. They take him back to the palace and tend to his injuries as Mulan keeps a close watch on the stranger. Upon awakening, she asks who he is, to which the man responds with his name, Neal. Her companions, Aurora and Prince Phillip, rush over to inspect the stranger. Neal is stunned to learn that he is in the Enchanted Forest. This causes Aurora to think he's a native of this land, but Mulan points out his clothes are foreign and similar to Emma and Mary Margaret's. At the mention of Emma's name, Neal tries to explain that he needs to save her from harm. When he brings up Henry, Aurora recognizes him as the boy's father and promises to help find his son in the Netherworld. While she does that, Mulan and Neal engage in light conversation. She learns he thought of the Enchanted Forest while falling into the portal, which brought him home. Aurora's attempt fails, so Neal decides to go to his father's old castle to look for something that might help reach his loved ones. Mulan accompanies him for the journey. Curiously, she asks why Emma never mentioned him before. Neal confesses he broke Emma's heart by letting her go to fulfill the breaking of the Dark Curse, and after it was finished with, fear of rejection kept himself from coming back to her. Mulan remarks that his belief in love wasn't strong enough to overcome rejection, which Neal says is the greatest regret of his life. Inside the castle, they meet a man named Robin Hood who has claimed the building as his own. Robin Hood allows them access upon learning that Neal is Rumplestiltskin's son Baelfire as he has an owed debt to the Dark One. From a brief search, Neal opens a hidden door with his father's old cane and tries to activate a crystal ball, which doesn't work. Mulan suggests to think about how he feels about Emma, and that will guide him to see her. Neal follows her instructions, and the crystal ball shows him an image of Emma in Neverland. ("And Straight On 'Til Morning," "The Heart of the Truest Believer")

Panicking over finding another pathway to Neverland, Neal searches all over the castle for something that could be of use, but to no avail. Just then, three of Robin Hood's allies from their group the Merry Men enter into the castle. From beneath the leading man, Little John, a four-year old boy, Roland, crawls out and runs into Robin's arms. Neal finds out the child is Robin Hood's son, to which he suddenly comes up with the idea of how to traverse worlds. He suggests using Robin's son, Roland, to use a summoning incantation to call the Shadow from Neverland, so Mulan helps to prepare the room for the operation. At nightfall, as everyone assumes their positions, Roland summons the Shadow, who attempts to kidnap the boy, but Mulan severs one of the Shadow's arms. This moment gives Neal time to grab onto the Shadow as it flies back to Neverland. Later, Robin offers Mulan a chance to join the Merry Men. She declines, stating that she has to talk to someone first before it's too late. Robin suspects it's someone she loves, though she mysteriously smiles, saying that only time will tell. Returning to the palace, Mulan prepares to confess her feelings for Aurora, but before she can, Aurora shares news of her pregnancy. Momentarily shocked at the news, Mulan recovers from her stupor to congratulate her, before announcing her plans to join the Merry Men. She turns away, walking off in sadness, as an equally disheartened Aurora watches her go. By nightfall, Mulan meets up with Robin at his camp, where she accepts a place with the Merry Men. ("Quite a Common Fairy")

Before Third Curse
Following her bout of unrequited love, Mulan becomes callous and cold, caring only about working for her employer to collect money debts from customers, even if they have been cheated out of deals. Although unclear, it appears she is no longer with the Merry Men by this point, though it's not known if she actually quit the group. During one such debt collection, in which Mulan forces the patrons to pay up by threatening to maim them, Merida finds her in the aftermath, shocked to see her old friend has changed so much. Because Mulan's main motivation is money, Merida pays her in order to secure her help in finding a magic helm that belonged to King Fergus. At the old battlefield where the southern invasion took place, they find the same arrow Merida shot at the knight who killed Fergus, which has a piece of the knight's cloak on it. Before they can use the cloak piece to track down the knight, King Arthur and Zelena steal Merida's bow to locate the helm. Discouraged at Zelena's implication that her father resorted to a magic helm to win against the southerners, Merida gives up the mission and returns home, while Mulan continues on her own to the old witch's hut, hoping to pinpoint the knight's identity. She is attacked by a guarding wolf inside the hut, but soon, she realizes the animal is a human in disguise. Knocking over a nearby cauldron, the smoke from the brew pours out, reverting the wolf to a human named Ruby. As the pair travel together, Mulan learns Ruby knows of her from Emma and Mary Margaret, as she once lived in the other world. When Ruby mentions Aurora and Phillip starting new lives there with their baby, Mulan becomes tense at the mention of Aurora, but she covers up her hurt with concern, saying she knows what it's like to start over in a new place. With Ruby's help, they discover the knight is Arthur. While Merida stops Arthur from taking the real helm, as the one he stole from Fergus was non-magical, Mulan faces off with Zelena, with Ruby knocking out the witch with a sleeping potion. After Arthur and Zelena retreat, Mulan admits she is still not over her lost love, to which Ruby encourages her to join her in finding other werewolves and help her as a way to heal from her own past. ("The Bear King")

After Third Curse

Continuing the search for werewolves, Mulan and Ruby head to Oz. In the woods, Mulan asks about Oz, with Ruby admitting she only knows the movie version of Oz, which involved a lot of singing. Like many previous searches, Ruby tries to sniff out any wolves, but she finds no one. Upon hearing a growl from an unknown creature, the women prepare to a fight, only to see a dog, whom Ruby recognizes as Toto. She moves to pet him, but then, Dorothy stops her, questioning which of them is a witch, since Toto only barks at witches. Ruby admits she's part wolf, and she tries to pet Toto to prove she is harmless, but Toto runs off. After Ruby confirms Toto went northwest, the trio head there. On the way, they see a cylone that Dorothy realizes is the Wicked Witch's return.Wanting to get back to her daughter, Zelena demands the silver slippers from Dorothy, and for her refusal, she holds Toto hostage, giving Dorothy until sundown tomorrow to honor the deal. To regain Toto, Mulan makes a concoction to put Zelena to sleep, but she needs poppies to complete the brew. Ruby joins Dorothy for the journey to the poppy field, and when they return, Mulan notices Ruby is in wolf form. Dorothy mentions running into some trouble with Zelena's flying monkeys, but she escaped with Ruby's help. With the collected poppy flower, Mulan finishes the sleeping powder and gives it to Dorothy. Dorothy then retires for the night, saying she needs rest, while Ruby suspects Dorothy is uncomfortable after seeing her in wolf form. By the campfire, Ruby confides in Mulan about falling hard for Dorothy. She is afraid of rejection, but Mulan encourages her not to hold back, reminding her not to make the same mistake she once did. Ruby goes to Dorothy, but finds her missing. ("Ruby Slippers")

After Zelena leaves Oz, with the slippers' help, Ruby follows her with a tracking spell, in hopes of learning what happened to Dorothy. Eventually, Mulan and the munchkins find Dorothy under a sleeping curse, and they keep watch over her, as they wait for Ruby's return. When Ruby comes back with Snow, she gives true love's kiss to Dorothy, awakening her from the curse. Dorothy admits she loves her, and after Ruby promises to always come back for her, the couple kiss, as Mulan, Snow and the munchkins look on happily. ("Ruby Slippers")


Character Notes

  • Mulan is the first character on the show to be derived from a legend rather than a traditional fairy tale, modern fairy tale or myth.
  • During her interaction with Neal, Mulan is unaware of what a movie is. By the time Ruby speaks about a movie, she acts as if it is a familiar concept. ("The Heart of the Truest Believer," "Ruby Slippers")

Production Notes

  • The casting call described her as, "Female, Asian. Early to mid 20s. A warrior first and foremost, she could hold her own against a swordsman or even a king. She is trained in weaponry, tracking and riding, but has a spirituality that enhances her tactical and strategic abilities. Like the flower she's named for, Magnolia is beautiful and may, to the uninformed, seem delicate; her roots, however, go deep—she has an intuitive connection to the land and to the creatures who inhabit it. She can "hear" the breathing of the earth or "see" a camouflaged animal. She is well-versed in the philosophies of her people and is able to see the larger picture. She has suffered past betrayals, so her trust is hard-won, but once she gives her oath of friendship her loyalty knows no boundaries. Similarly, when she falls in love, she falls hard—Magnolia's armor protects a fierce heart.[1]
  • The casting call name for her was "Magnolia".[2]


  • In the Ballad of Mulan, there is no mention of Mulan wielding any weapons. The concept of Mulan carrying a sword stems from the 1998 Disney film Mulan. ("Broken" et al.)
  • Mulan tells Emma and Mary Margaret, "Follow my lead, step where I step, do exactly as I say, and we might survive," a reference to the song "I'll Make a Man Out of You" from Disney's Mulan. It goes "Time is racing toward us, till the Huns arrive / Heed my every order, and you might survive". ("Lady of the Lake")
  • Mulan tells Belle about how she served in the emperor's army, a reference to Disney's Mulan (in the Ballad of Mulan, the titular character joins the Khan's army). ("The Outsider")
  • Mulan lives in a Chinese village, just like in the Disney film (in the Ballad of Mulan, the area where the titular character lives is merely referred to as her "home"). ("The Outsider")
  • Mulan tells Belle, "Once I found something worth fighting for, I fought for it with everything I had," a reference to the song "A Girl Worth Fighting For" from the Disney film. ("The Outsider")
  • Neal references Mulan to the Disney film of the same name, saying "They made a movie about you. It's actually pretty good." ("The Heart of the Truest Believer")

Fairytales and Folklore

  • When Aurora and Merida first meet her, Mulan wears armor, with her face and hair covered, and Aurora and Merida both mistake her for a man. This alludes to the Ballad of Mulan where the titular character pretends to be a man to take her father's place in the army. ("Broken," "The Bear King")
  • Mulan says that when she served in the emperor's army, she had to put up with people who believed that women should not be allowed to fight. She later states that there was a time where people thought she didn't have what it took, but she proved them wrong. This alludes to the Ballad of Mulan, where the titular character pretends to be a man to take her father's place in the Khan's army. ("The Outsider")

Costume Notes

  • Her armor outfit, designed by show costume designer Eduardo Castro, is made out of five-hundred metal belt conchos.[3]



Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

See also


  1. Episode 2.01: Full Casting Call. Once Upon a Fan (June 21, 2012). Archived from the original on March 20, 2015. “[MAGNOLIA] Female, Asian. Early to mid 20s. A warrior first and foremost, she could hold her own against a swordsman or even a king. She is trained in weaponry, tracking and riding, but has a spirituality that enhances her tactical and strategic abilities. Like the flower she’s named for, Magnolia is beautiful and may, to the uninformed, seem delicate; her roots, however, go deep—she has an intuitive connection to the land and to the creatures who inhabit it. She can "hear" the breathing of the earth or "see" a camouflaged animal. She is well-versed in the philosophies of her people and is able to see the larger picture. She has suffered past betrayals, so her trust is hard-won, but once she gives her oath of friendship her loyalty knows no boundaries. Similarly, when she falls in love, she falls hard—Magnolia's armor protects a fierce heart. Recurring Guest Star.”
  2. Once Upon a Time - Episode 2.01 - 2 New Recurring Roles *Updated*. Spoiler TV (June 16, 2012). “Episode 2.01 will see the introduction of 2 recurring characters. Anastasia and Magnolia. (...) Magnolia is a fierce Asian warrior who feels a connection to the earth and its creatures.”
  3. Gonzaels, Sabra (October 19, 2012). Creating the world of 'Once Upon a Time'. Entertainment Weekly. “Among the challenges Castro and his team — which numbers between 8 and 20 people, depending on the scale of the task — have faced: designing a wedding dress and fireproof cape, reimagining Rumplestiltskin, and building armor out of 500 metal belt conchas for new character Mulan (Jamie Chung).”