Director Niki Caro has explained why there will be no musical numbers in the upcoming live-action Mulan remake.

The movie, which stars newcomer Liu Yifei alongside Jason Scott Lee and Jet Li, follows the story of a young Chinese woman who disguises herself as a male warrior and joins the army in order to save her ailing father.

While the Oscar-nominated soundtrack to the 1998 animated Disney classic featured such songs as Reflection, I'll Make a Man Out of You, and A Girl Worth Fighting For, Caro has now explained why her version doesn't include any musical numbers.

"I mean, back to the realism question - we don't tend to break into song when we go to war. Not that I'm saying anything against the animation," the director said at a press presentation, according to Digital Spy. "The songs are brilliant, and if I could squeeze them in there, I would have. But we do honour the music from the animation in a very significant way."

Caro also upset fans when she revealed that Mushu, who served as Mulan's dragon guardian and was voiced by Eddie Murphy in the original, would not be making an appearance in the new film.

"I think we can all appreciate that Mushu is irreplaceable," she stated, before adding that there will be a creature that serves as the spiritual representation of Mulan's ancestors, but it will not be an animated dragon.

Mulan, also featuring Donnie Yen, Yoson An, and Gong Li, hits cinemas from 25 March.