Disney has revealed the main plot details for the upcoming Mary Poppins sequel Mary Poppins Returns. Released in 1964, Mary Poppins is without question one of Walt Disney Studio’s most-valued live-action feature films. Nominated for 13 Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Director for Robert Stevenson) and winning five, Mary Poppins launched the big-screen career for Julie Andrews, who won a Best Actress Oscar for playing the titular role.
Therefore, it came as a pleasant surprise to Disney fans in 2015 when the studio announced it was developing the sequel, with Chicago and Into the Woods director Rob Marshall at the helm. Set for a December 25, 2018, release, Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt as the magical nanny, started filming in February, and this week Disney started teasing the production with the release of official Mary Poppins Returns images/concept art.
According to EW, Mary Poppins Returns picks up the story 25 years after the events of the original film, where the home on Cherry Tree Lane that was once belonged to the “mean banker” Mr. Banks is now occupied by his grown-up son, the “sensitive banker” Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw). Michael’s sister, Jane (Emily Mortimer), meanwhile, has grown up to become a union organizer for a the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Underpaid Citizens of England, also known as SPRUCE.
Times get tough for Michael, however, when his wife passes away. Whishaw tells EW:
“He’s struggling to cope with looking after three children on his own, so he’s trying to be very upright and English and not betray any stress or insecurity, but actually, everything is going completely wrong for him.”
Wrong, that is, until Mary Poppins returns to elevate the family’s spirits.
It’s hard to say how much pressure Disney is feeling to deliver on the expectations of Mary Poppins Returns, given the fact that it’s not a remake of a classic property like the animated-turned-live-action blockbuster Beauty and the Beast, but a straight-up sequel to a beloved story. Still, Mary Poppins is a classic, so fans have to believe the studio is proceeding with great caution and care to avoid disappointing fans of the enchanting original.
All of the right elements are certainly in place, starting with Marshall, an enormously talented director who already has an established working relationship with his Into the Woods star Blunt. On top of that, he’s got the hottest import from Broadway with Lin-Manuel Miranda as a street lamplighter named Jack; as well as a pair of Oscar-winners with Meryl Streep (as Mary’s cousin, Topsy) and Colin Firth (as William Weatherall Wilkins, who runs Mr. Banks’ bank).
And while the inclusion of Dick Van Dyke (this time as Mr. Dawes Junior) in Mary Poppins Returns is a nice touch (as well as Disney legend Angela Lansbury), the film would truly be made complete by a meaningful surprise cameo by Andrews. If Marshall can somehow swing it, a reunion of the two stars of Mary Poppins 54 years after the original would truly be magical.