As far as major Hollywood studios go, it seems that Disney has been scoring hit after hit as of late. Secure in their world of Star Wars and animated fare – including the upcoming Moana, which is primed to draw in this holiday season’s crowds – Disney’s ability to turn its continuous output of films and franchises into hits is a promising sign that its spot in the upper echelons of Hollywood royalty is still secure for some time to come.
One of the methods by which Disney has continued to draw in audiences is by rejuvenating some of its older, more beloved titles that once proved themselves to be major hits. Titles like Beauty and the Beast as well as The Little Mermaid are currently on their way as live-action adaptations - and a new Mary Poppins film called Mary Poppins Returns, set 25 years after the events of the original film, is due to arrive in December of 2018.
So far the cast of the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns is looking impressive, with the likes of Emily Blunt as the titular magical nanny, as well as new characters Topsy and Jack played by Meryl Streep and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The latest casting update comes to us courtesy of Variety, revealing that Emily Mortimer (Hugo, Cars 2) will play the grown-up role of Jane Banks – the child who, along with her brother Michael (played by Ben Whishaw (Spectre) this time around), were under the charge of Mary Poppins in the original 1964 film.
Emily Mortimer’s career has been an extensive one to date, with roles in a wide variety of films both European and American, as well as having worked with a host of legendary directors such as Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Wes Craven. Her role as Jane Banks will likely be quite central to the heart of Mary Poppins Returns and as such will provide ample opportunity to highlight Mortimer’s strengths alongside what is already a very strong cast. Little is known thus far about this new incarnation of Mary Poppins, save for the fact that like its predecessor, it will be a musical and as previously mentioned, will take place 25 years on when both Jane and Michael are fully grown, with Michael having three children of his own.
As there is no mention of Mortimer’s character having children, it’s difficult to guess exactly what sort of role hers will be. Given that it’s Ben Whishaw’s character that does have children, the likelihood of Blunt’s Mary Poppins engaging with their adventure seems high. Still, this doesn’t mean that Mortimer will be relegated to a minor role – Jane’s past experiences with the wonderful world that Mary Poppins is capable of conjuring up should still be of value to the plot. At this point, 2018 feels quite a long way off, but so far this reincarnation of such a classic Disney title looks like it has a lot going for it.
Exactly how much singing is involved in Mary Poppins Returns remains to be seen, but Disney has proven that audiences still love musicals – as evidenced by animated fare such as Frozen. While live-action singing is perhaps a different challenge altogether, if the story is strong and the characters engaging, music and singing will only serve to further buoy that one of a kind Disney charm.
Mary Poppins Returns will be released in U.S. theaters on December 25, 2018.