First Ancestor Fa (also known as Great Ancestor) is a character in Disney's 1998 animated feature film, Mulan. He is the founder of the Fa family. After passing away, he became a spirit, which serves as the leader of the ancestors.
As the oldest member of the Fa family, both deceased and living, First Ancestor Fa is wise and powerful. He appears to have some mystical power, as he carries a staff, which he conjures, and is able to awaken Mushu from his status as an incense burner. His spirit resides in the Fa family temple. His grave is often visited by the living members of the family for good fortune. He can spiritually contact the oldest living member of the Fa family (currently Grandmother Fa) when necessary. He appears to love his family unconditionallly; he is the only ancestor that showed no animosity towards Mulan's decision to leave or what it could do to the family's honor. He was also seen gazing happily as he watched his living relatives, and Shang, gather together at the end.
It is implied that he was the one who demoted Mushu from his position as a family guardian following Mushu's failure to protect Fa Deng—who lost his life due to Mushu's incompetence. Mushu's disastrous blunder, coupled with the dragon's arrogant and obnoxious behavior, is a constant point of stress for the First Ancestor. As a result, he has an antagonistic relationship with the dragon.
First Ancestor Fa has long since passed prior to the events of the film. He is visited by Fa Zhou early on, who preyed for a successful visit with the Matchmaker for Mulan. Later on, Fa Zhou is called to war to protect China from the invading forces of the Huns. His disability makes this a death sentence, however, prompting Mulan to steal his armor and run away to the training camp in his place—under the guise of a man. The ancestors observe Mulan as she prepares her disguise and leave the farm with her horse. Once she does, First Ancestor contacts Grandma Fa, who informs Fa Zhou and Fa Li of Mulan's disappearance. As Mulan's parents mourn the apparent loss of their daughter, Grandma preys to the ancestors. First Ancestor Fa awakens from his slumber, and summons Mushu to awaken the rest of the ancestors. He declares that they must send the Great Stone Dragon to retrieve Mulan, but Mushu accidentally destroys its statute. He tricks the First Ancestor into believing the Great Stone Dragon has awakened and goes to Mulan in its place. At the end of the film, he grudgingly reinstates Mushu as a guardian for helping Mulan to bring honor to the family.
By the time of the second film, Mushu is shown to treat the ancestors like servants, including the First Ancestor. When Mulan and Shang become engaged to be married, First Ancestor is actively looking forward to Mushu's impending demotion. When Shang combines the family temples, however, Mushu is able to retain his position—much to the First Ancestor's disappointment.
- Though he does not appear in the game itself, Mushu mentions the head ancestor when Mulan is exposed as a woman in Kingdom Hearts II.
- An earlier version of the story for Mulan II implies he was going have much more significant role along with the rest of the ancestors where they were supposed to help battle the ghosts of Shan Yu and his Hun army who were haunting Northern China after their deaths in the first movie.