Robert D. San Souci
Eddie Murphy (Mulan)
Mark Moseley (Mulan II, Kingdom Hearts series, House of Mouse)
Mushu is a dragon and one of the main protagonists from Disney's 1998 hit Mulan and its sequel. He is the titular character's closest companion throughout the Mulan series, acting as Mulan's guardian and protector. He is voiced by Eddie Murphy in his first appearance and Mark Moseley afterwards.
At first, Mulan's companions were to be 2 reptilian creatures; the idea of the creatures being dragons had not been established. However, feeling that two sidekicks would overcrowd the story, the animators then decided on a two-headed dragon, though they were green and grotesque. After the animators decided on a single-headed dragon, they established Mushu's physical concept. For better use, the animators shrunk Mushu to a smaller size.
Around the time when the music of the film was to be created, the songwriters had written a piece for Mushu for him to sing to assure Mulan that he'll be there to help her. However, after Eddie Murphy came to voice the character, the character and his dynamic changed, and the animators canceled the piece, although it was a favorite among the filmmakers.
Mushu was once a guardian spirit of Mulan's family, but he has been demoted to the humiliating position of an incense burner and gong-ringer for the deceased Fa ancestors ever since he failed to protect a family member, a soldier named Fa Deng, resulting in the soldier's demise by decapitation (he's seen carrying his own head as a spirit).
In contrast to Mulan, Mushu is in most situations more comical, overconfident, and impulsive. He strives to be one of the family guardians again, and selfishly decides to convince Mulan to join the army to turn her into a war hero, believing this will get him back on the 'top shelf'. However, he comes to realise how selfish he has been, admitting to Mulan that he risked her life to further his own goals. He then intends to take her home to face the consequences of his actions, but when she insists on stopping the Huns, loyally follows her, showing that underneath, he has a good heart.
Mushu is rather sensitive about his size.
Mushu does not resemble a Western dragon much. Eastern dragons could control many elements and did not require wings to fly. His appearance is far more akin to that of a traditional Eastern dragon. Mushu's element (presumably to reassure the viewers that he is a dragon) is fire. However even the Great Ancestor himself does not consider Mushu to be a 'real' dragon - he is very small, about the size of a lizard, and his fire-breathing ability is less than impressive, and he's more useful as an emergency firelighter than as a weapon. As a mythical creature, Mushu is very durable, to the point of being seemingly immortal. He endures being stomped on, explosions, and an avalanche in the first movie. He can also understand other animals, as seen when he converses with Cri-kee (Mulan's lucky cricket) and horse Khan. At one point when he wants to disguise as a soldier riding a horse, he finds and persuades a panda bear.
At the start of the film, Mushu does not make his official appearance until after Mulan runs away from home to serve in her elderly father Fa Zhou's place in a war against the deadly Hun army. Knowing that Mulan's exposure will lead to the disgrace of the Fa family, the spirits of the ancestors choose to send the Great Stone Dragon to retrieve her. For the task of awakening him, they send Mushu, who would rather go himself. After several unsuccessful attempts, he eventually ends up accidentally destroying the dragon statue. In order to escape punishment from the ancestors, he secretly sets out to make Mulan a war hero.
In the sequel, when Mulan prepares to marry Li Shang, Mushu is at first overjoyed to the point of tears, going as far as planning the wedding himself. However, things change once the ancestors tell him that if Mulan marries Shang, his family's guardians will take over for Mulan, thus making Mushu a homeless dragon. Desperate to keep his job, he continuously tries to break the two apart to keep his position.
House of Mouse
Mushu appears as a recurring guest in the animated series and is usually seen with Cri-Kee. Mushu is usually seen having a comical comment about a performance.
Kingdom Hearts series
Mushu is a recurring character in the Kingdom Hearts series, and a summon in Kingdom Hearts.
In the first Kingdom Hearts, he became a summon gem after his home world was destroyed by the Heartless. His primary attack - Fire Breath - aided Sora and his friends in their battles. He returns to his world after the door to Kingdom Hearts is sealed.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Mushu appears as a figment of Sora's memories in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a Summon Card. You can obtain his Summon Card in the Key to Rewards room in the Hollow Bastion floor.
Kingdom Hears II
In Kingdom Hearts II, he is helping Ping (Mulan) get in to the Imperial Army. When Sora, Donald and Goofy show up, they quickly reminisce about their past adventures, and after telling them he was a family guardian, Sora and the others agreed to help out Ping as payback for borrowing Mushu in the first game. In a later scene, he accidentally reveals that Ping is a woman and she is discharged from the army. In the end, peace was restored to their world and he went back to being a guardian, but not after receiving a quick scolding from Sora. When Sora and Mulan use their Limit, Mushu helps by spurting fireballs.