- “How lucky can they be? They're dead.”
- ―Grandmother Fa
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.
- Two ancestors, apparently a married couple, bear similarity to the couple from Grant Wood's painting American Gothic. They worry 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.
- 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. In Mulan II, she wants a foot massage.
- The male ancestor next to her, claims that not everyone can be an acupuncturist. If dialogue is to be believed, this man may be a great grandfather of Mulan, as another ancestor points out that his great-granddaughter became a cross-dresser.
- That ancestor had another dialogue as she points out Mushu's blunder that caused him to be demoted.
- Another ancestor tried keeping the peace by pointing out that Mulan was just doing it to ultimately help her father.
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 aghast 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 Shan Yu and his Hun Army, now ghosts after their deaths in the first film.