Doing Julie Andrews proud, Emily Blunt is dancing through London in a new photo from Mary Poppins Returns. And even though this long-awaited sequel has a significantly more tragic setup than the original, the magical nanny is still introducing whimsy, wonder and, of course, song and dance into the Banks family once again.
Years after the events of the original Mary Poppins, based on the series of books from author P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins Returns revisits the Banks children, who are now adults, in 1930s London. Sister and brother Jane and Michael Banks (Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw, respectively) have reunited under unfortunate circumstances following the death of Michael's wife. Unfortunately, the grown-up Banks children, as well as Michael's three young children, struggle with coming to peace with the tragedy - which ultimately prompts Mary Poppins (Blunt) to return, this time accompanied by a street lamplighter named Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and her cousin Poppy (Meryl Streep). The sequel also stars Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, and David Warner, is written by David Magee, and is directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago). Now, with only a few months left until Mary Poppins makes her official big screen return, a brand new photo has been released featuring her dancing through London among familiar company: a crew of chimney sweepers.
EW released an exclusive still from Mary Poppins Returns, showcasing one of many song-and-dance numbers to be featured in the movie - this one titled "Trip a Little Light Fantastic." The photo reveals Mary Poppins being hoisted in the air by a crew of singing chimney sweepers at night, donning her classic, but eclectic wardrobe and royal blue fascinator. The foggy, lamplit street feels aesthetically similar to several moments in the original movie, notably the "Step in Time" musical sequence.
In fact, despite any potential similarities between Mary Poppins Returns and the original movie, director Rob Marshall insists this sequel is by no means a reboot. He explained that he never had any intention or interest in trying to "re-do the original," and was adamant that the sequel only be made if they could find "a very important reason for Mary to come back." Given the death of Michael's wife, made worse by the financial strain during the era, Marshall explained it would be a perfect opportunity for Mary Poppins to help Michael recapture his "sense of wonder and joy and optimism."
Sequels released years after their predecessors are nothing new in Hollywood. In fact, they've recently become the new norm, with movies like Blade Runner 2049, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Creed. So now, even though 54 years have passed since the original movie was released, Mary Poppins Returns may well have come at just the right time, when audiences are more than happy - and accustomed - to revisiting franchises that haven't seen the light of day in decades.
- Mary Poppins Returns (2018) release date: Dec 19, 2018