After news emerged in 2015 that Disney was working on a sequel to their 1964 classic movie musical Mary Poppins, fans became hungry for as many details as they could get. Information has slowly been revealed over the last two years, but it’s tough to keep track of what exactly we know about what audiences can expect when the movie hits theatres Christams Day 2018. To help out and get hyped, Playbill pulled together everything we know so far about the Mary Poppins sequel:
Filming and Production:
In order accommodate the December 25, 2018 release date, principal photography for the motion picture commenced February 2017.
Mary Poppins Returns takes place 25 years after the events of the original film. Michael and Jane Banks, the children from the first film, are now all grown up in Depression-era 1930s London. Michael, his three children, and their housekeeper, Ellen, are living in the Banks family residence on Cherry Tree Lane and suffer a personal loss. Mary Poppins herself returns along with her friend Jack, a streetlamp lighter, and uses her magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. She also introduces them to a new assortment of characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy.
Mary Poppins: Emily Blunt (Into the Woods) will play the legendary title character, though she reportedly plans on having a different take on the role than Julie Andrews, who won an Academy Award playing the flightful nanny in the 1964 film.
Jack: Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In the Heights) is taking on the role of Jack, an “optimistic streetlamp lighter.” It definitely appears that this role is meant to be the spiritual successor to Dick Van Dyke’s Bert in the original film, and Miranda has stated in interviews that his character is to have apprenticed with Bert while growing up.
“Balloon Lady:” In February 2017, it was announced that Broadway favorite Angela Lansbury (Mame, Sweeney Todd) will joined the cast as “Balloon Lady,” a character from the original P.L. Travers stories.
Mr. Dawes: The film will reportedly also feature a cameo from Dick Van Dyke, Bert in the original movie, recreating his secondary performance as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank CEO Mr. Dawes, Jr. He’s even said that he has a “song and dance” moment. Will we get to see the original screen Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews? It's been rumored, but nothing has been confirmed so far.
Topsy: Meryl Streep plays the eccentric woman who becomes Mary’s cousin by marriage when she weds Arthur Turvey (making her married name Topsy Turvey).
The Banks Family (all grown up): Ben Whishaw (The Crucible on Broadway, Skyfall) plays Michael Banks, with Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island, Hugo) as his sister Jane. Julie Walters, Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter films, is Ellen, Michael’s housekeeper. The new Banks children will be played by Pixie Davies (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children), Nathanael Saleh (Game of Thrones), and newcomer Joel Dawson.
The Creative Team:
Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods) is directing. He’s also co-producing along with John DeLuca (Chicago) and Marc Platt (La La Land, Broadway’s Wicked, War Paint). David Magee (Life of Pi) is writing the script from P.L. Travers’ original Mary Poppins books.
The only image that has been released from the film so far is a shot of Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. Based on this shot, it’s clear that the film will not recreate the costume design from the original film exactly, though Mary remains wearing a floral hat and gloves, and is still carrying her magic carpet bag.
The Musical Numbers:
Details have been scarce. We know the film will feature new songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the team behind Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, Smash/Bombshell, and the upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway. We know Shaiman is also writing the film’s score. Outside of that, we know the film will feature “a lot of dancing,” as Miranda revealed at BroadwayCon this past January.
Stay tuned to Playbill for all continuing Mary Poppins Returns news.