Meryl Streep will play a cousin of Mary Poppins in the upcoming Disney sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. Directed by Rob Marshall, Mary Poppins Returns stars Emily Blunt as the titular nanny, opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda as lamplighter Jack. But the A-list cast doesn’t stop there; Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Emily Mortimer, Ben Whishaw and Meryl Streep are also in the cast, with cameos from Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke.
Set in the 1930s, Mary Poppins Returns takes us back to Cherry Tree Lane, where an adult Michael Banks (Whishaw) is struggling to connect with his children following the death of his wife. Enter Mary Poppins, to help brighten up the kids lives and bring the family back together again. On one of their many adventures, similar to the trips Michael took with his nanny as a child, Mary Poppins takes Annabelle, John and Georgie to meet her cousin, Topsy.
The role of Topsy is played by Streep, and EW has now provided more details on the character in the film. In the original books by P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins’ cousin was actually a male character called Arthur Turvy, and Topsy was his wife. However, things have switched about somewhat, and Streep’s Topsy will welcome the young Banks children to her world during her own solo musical number. Everything in Topsy’s world is upside down and opposite, giving the kids a brand new perspective. Streep has worked with Marshall before, on Into the Woods, and her appearance in Mary Poppins Returns will no doubt be something to look forward to.
Elsewhere, Firth plays William Wetherall Wenkins. He too has been altered from the books; instead of being swept along in all the magic, he is now head of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, where Michael Banks works. After the death of his wife, Michael must rely on the kindness of his boss to help him when an oversight puts the house at Cherry Tree Lane on the brink of foreclosure. EW describes Firth’s character as “surprisingly genial — if still properly, enigmatically English.”
Though the release of Mary Poppins Returns is still well over a year away, we now have an awful lot of information and images to go on. Perhaps this is to put potential audience’s minds at rest, with some not liking the idea of a sequel – more than fifty years in the making – to one of Disney’s best-loved movies. However, everything we’ve seen thus far, points towards Mary Poppins Returns being a spectacularly fun Disney musical.