The Elite Hun soldiers are the only Huns other than Shan Yu remaining after the avalanche that Mulan causes, and the tertiary antagonists of Disney's 1998 animated feature film, Mulan. They are distinctly different from each other in clothing and appearance. They appear to serve as Shan Yu's lieutenants and generals.
Role in the film
The elite Huns are first seen in the film crossing over into China by using grappling hooks to climb onto the Great Wall. They attempt to stop an Imperial Chinese soldier from escaping, but said soldier manages to light a signal, thus allowing guards on the other watch posts to light signals of their own to alert the country of the Huns' presence and to allow its military forces to mobilize. Shan Yu is ultimately unconcerned, however, being assured of his army's superiority.
The elite Huns are later riding horseback across the countryside with the rest of the army, having destroyed a village in the course of their invasion. They are then all stopped by a signal from their leader Shan Yu who, having sensed something, directs his elite soldiers to investigate. They do so and find a pair of Imperial scouts. They laugh at the claim by one of the scouts that the Emperor would stop them. After Shan Yu tells the scouts to go back and convey his message to the Emperor, he turns to his archer soldier asking him how many men it takes to deliver a message. The archer readies his bow and arrow and darkly answers "one". This heavily implies that he murdered one of the scouts.
The elite Huns are later seen awaiting their leader, who has acquired a Doll from his falcon, Hayabusa. Investigating the doll, they discover various components such as black pine, white horsehair, and sulfur from cannons on the stuffed toy. They deduce that the doll came from a village in the Tung Shao Pass where the Imperial Army is awaiting their arrival. Though they tell Shan Yu that the army could easily avoid their enemies, he remains intent on heading straight through the pass in order to reach the Emperor as quickly as possible. Complying with his wishes, they attack and crush the Imperial forces with ease and slaughter the innocent villagers. Though this conflict is not seen, they apparently leave no survivors, nor did they suffer any heavy casualties.
Later, the elite Huns alongside Shan Yu and the rest of the army ambush and prepare to finish off Li Shang's remaining contingent of soldiers after Mushu accidentally fires a cannon, causing them to give away their position. However, they, along with the other Hun soldiers, are buried alive when Fa Mulan uses a cannon to trigger an avalanche. It is later revealed that the elite Huns have survived the avalanche as they emerge from the snow alongside Shan Yu. Seeing they are near the Imperial City, he leads them onward to accomplish their goal. Mulan witnesses this and flees to the city to warn the citizens.
The Huns infiltrate the city during a celebration honoring Li Shang's soldiers by hiding inside a Chinese dragon costume. Immediately after witnessing Hayabusa retrieve Shan Yu's sword and return it to its owner, who is atop the roof, they burst out of the costume and take the Emperor hostage, easily dispatching his guards. They deliver him to Shan Yu, who orders them to keep watch outside the door. Mulan, with help from Shang, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po, attempts a rescue mission by disguising herself and the trio as concubines as Shang awaits the opportunity to breach the door. One of the Huns is quick to fall for the ruse, even after Ling accidentally drops an apple he is using for a breast, though the others are both suspicious and repulsed by the trio's masculine appearance.
The group breaks cover and quickly subdues the Huns, allowing Shang to go and stop Shan Yu from striking down the Emperor. Each individual Hun is taken out by an individual of the group: the two shirtless ones are taken out by Chien Po who stuffs watermelons on their heads then slamming their heads together, the long-haired one is taken out by Ling who uses martial arts on him, the one wearing a helmet is taken out by Yao who grabs and slams him to the floor, and the archer is taken out by Mulan who kicks away his bow which Mulan then uses around his neck to restrain him. The Emperor is rescued by Chien Po and, a little later, Shan Yu is terminated by Mulan, Mushu, and Cri-Kee. The Huns' fate following Shan Yu's death is unspecified, but since none of their injuries appeared to be fatal, it can be presumed that they were arrested for their crimes and imprisoned, possibly being executed or deported at a later date.
Appearances outside of the film
The elite Huns are briefly shown with Shan Yu in the Manga adaptation of Kingdom Hearts II (they are absent in the game). After the avalanche the elites do not rise from the snow along with Shan Yu and accompany him meaning this time they were flat out killed by the avalanche and Shan Yu was the only survivor.
- The long haired Hun is the only one not to have a scene of him climbing out of the snow.
- The archer Hun's head shape implies he may have had a procedure called artificial cranial deformation more commonly known as head binding done to him. This involves distorting the growth of the skull at a younger age by some form of force applied to the skull. This was a common procedure the real Huns practiced.
- Next to Shan Yu, the archer Hun doesn't appear to underestimate women as he is the one out of the 5 to directly attack and try killing Mulan when she and her companions are dressed as concubines simply realising and recognizing her as a threat that is trying to stop Shan Yu and also does not belittle her for being a woman. It is unknown if the other 4 Huns do or do not underestimate women.
- An earlier version of the story for Mulan II was to have Shan Yu and the Hun army return as ghosts. It is likely the elite Huns were intended to return and play a role where they were probably supposed to regroup with Shan Yu either as ghosts or still alive thereby revealing their fate after the first movie's events. The elites are not seen or mentioned in Mulan II so their fate is still left ambiguous.