The Fa Family Ancestors are characters in Disney's 1998 animated feature film, Mulan. They are deceased members of the Fa family, and thus are the ancestors of the current members. Most go unnamed, but they have distinctive appearances.
- Main article: First Ancestor Fa
Fa Deng (voiced by Patrick Pinney) is the only ancestor to be given a full name. It appears that he was once a soldier during his lifetime. Unfortunately, as a result of Mushu's bad guidance, Fa Deng met some untold disaster during which he lost his head and Mushu was demoted to gong ringer. This situation is later referenced as a reason why Mushu can not be a guardian to Mulan. At the end of the first movie, he uses his unattached head as a party balloon, when the ancestors are celebrating Mulan's success.
There appear to be many other ancestors of Mulan, some of which have distinctive appearances and voices.
- Two ancestors, apparently a married couple, bear similarity to the couple from Grant Wood's painting American Gothic. The husband worries that if Mulan is discovered, Fa Zhou and Fa Li would lose the family farm.
- One neurotic man is shown with an abacus, calculating on the losses the family would receive if Mulan were to be discovered. He also insisted that the swiftest guardian (a rabbit) should retrieve Mulan.
- One woman, who in the second film is referred to as "Prunehilda" by Mushu, is shown deriding Mulan as a troublemaker, claiming that her children were all acupuncturists.
- The male ancestor next to her, possibly her husband for his constant remarks about her side of the family, claims that not everyone can be an acupuncturist. During the celebration, he claims that Mulan’s heroism is derived from his family’s side.
- An older ancestor rebukes him for having a great-granddaughter that’s a cross dresser. She later explains to Mushu that his blunder is why he was demoted.
- Another ancestor tried keeping the peace by pointing out that Mulan was just doing it to ultimately help her father.
- A male ancestor suggests that they should make a guardian retrieve Mulan, to which another female ancestor suggests that they send the wisest guardian (a monkey).
Though uncredited, it’s believed that Mary Kay Bergman voiced the female ancestors. In the sequel, there are only two female ancestors who appear (either due to budget or Bergman’s death) in which they are voiced by Tress MacNeille and April Winchell respectively.Some male ancestors were voiced by Corey Burton while the husband ancestor was voiced by Jeff Bennett in the original and Rob Paulsen in the sequel.
In the films, the ancestors serve as guardians of the Fa family. They are awakened from their slumber when Mulan runs away to join the army. Most are against at her actions and gripe and grouse about what she has done, except for one who understands her motives and defends her, knowing that she is only trying to help her father and keep him safe from war. They initially disagree on what to do, but eventually decide to send a guardian to retrieve her. At the end of the first film, they throw an impromptu party to celebrate Mulan's success as a war heroine.
By the second film, the ancestors have become fed up with Mushu's constant demands that they wait on him hand and foot. Thus, when Mulan becomes engaged to Shang, they all grow excited. If Mulan marries Shang, then she would become a member of his family, so his ancestor's guardians would take over, resulting in Mushu's demotion from family guardian. Throughout the film, they eagerly plan what menial tasks they intend to have Mushu do as payback. However, Mushu's demotion is prevented when Shang combines the family temples, forcing the ancestors to continue letting Mushu be a guardian.
- During the sequence in which Mulan makes her decision to run away from home, she is always being looked upon by a dragon emblem. These emblems represent the ancestors, who are watching over Mulan and observing her actions. Once she leaves home with Khan, the Great Ancestor spiritually contacts Grandmother Fa to alert her of the crises.
- As the oldest living member of the Fa family (and by extension, the closest to death), Grandmother Fa has a special connection with the ancestors.
- The calligraphy seen in the ancestors' tombstones are actually the names of artists that worked on Mulan.
- An earlier treatment written by Barry Cook for Mulan II would have involved the presence of the Fa Family Ancestors in the film's finale, aiding Mulan and her allies in fighting against the Shan Yu and his Hun Army, now ghosts after their deaths in the first film.