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Kahn & Mushu
I have an idea for Shang, but it sort of strays from the Disney-portrayal "a little" (I mean I LOVE the Disney version, don't get me wrong, but if we're twisting characters here, I'd love to twist a little more...), and it strays from your age preset, so I would like to tell you about it and give you a chance to tell me if you hate it beforehand.
I'd like to play a Shang who is very, very young still. Not in his mid 30s, but in his early to mid 20s, which would make him the baby of the group. I would also like to make him a little bit less "buff", more of a bookish character actually. Soft-hearted and "weak", at least on a first glance, but he'll have some courage of his own, even though he's rather soft-spoken and loves poetry far more than swordplay ("You must be swift as the coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a rising fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon" - that could be a poem written by this guy in order to work through the intense pressure he has had to endure from his dad throughout his life. So it's not inspirational, it's actually sarcastic because NO ONE can live up to that hype. Especially not him, because he struggles to keep up with classical expectations towards his manhood etc.
Why did this wimp get a command? Well, it's like you wrote: A trial by fire. Either he crashes and burns, or he finally proves himself a man and "brings honour to us all". There are some obvious parallels to Mulan's story here that I don't think I need to explain.
As I said, I realize that he is not at all like the Mulan-Disney-version of this character but I'd love to play him and let him grow as a leader of a group of rough tough soldiers, trying to find his way in the world. If you don't like this portrayal, though, that's fine. Really. I'd rather everyone is happy and knows what they're getting into beforehand, and I love this board already. If I'm not staying for Shang, I'll find another character to play. So no pressure towards you at all, just tell me what you think. I hope you like the idea though because I think we could have tons of fun with Mulan and Shang as clashing opposites who grow into besties!
Have a great day, Draken