The long rumored sequel to Disney’s 1964 film, “Mary Poppins”, is happening. Not only has Disney confirmed a December 25, 2018 release date but also a director and main cast. Rob Marshall will direct with his Mary Poppins being Emily Blunt and a new friend, Jack the Lamplighter played by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Over twenty years have passed in the new film since Jane and Michael Banks were first visited by Mary Poppins. They are adults and because of women like Jane’s mother, Jane can now vote. “Well done, Sister Suffragette!”However, the Banks’ have experienced a great loss, most likely Michael’s young wife. How will he cope with being a single parent to three children and learning how to laugh again?
So “Mary Poppins Returns”! Blunt proved she could do a musical with “Into the Woods” and be prim, proper yet sarcastic on multiple occasions but to follow in the footsteps of Julie Andrews would be very demanding of any actor. Many stories about the new film have described Miranda’s character as a love interest. Wasn’t Dick Van Dyke’s Bert a love interest?
Well…no, Poppins’ original creator, P.L. Travers, is said to have forbidden Disney from making Bert into a love interest. In the book series, Poppins was never given a boyfriend and in real life, Travers was bisexual. Even when the Sherman Brothers attempted a romantic ballad anyway, Andrews rejected it because she “wanted something with a little more snap.”
Miranda’s character is just a friend but considering his presence and charisma as the title character in the musical “Hamilton”, which he also wrote and composed, he could easily outshine Blunt. Despite writing the music for Maz Kanata’s castle in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and composing for the upcoming “Moana”, Miranda isn’t expected to have any involvement in “Mary Poppins Returns” music or songs which is disappointing and surprising. Instead, the music and songs will be done by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. They’re best known for adapting “Hairspray” for Broadway and “Bombshell” which was the Marilyn Monroe musical within the short-lived NBC series, Smash.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be asked by Disney to bring P.L. Travers’ further adventures to the screen. The iconic original film means so much to me personally, and I look forward to creating an original movie musical that can bring Mary Poppins, and her message that childlike wonder can be found in even the most challenging of times, to a whole new generation,” said Rob Marshall in a statement. Marshall has become one of the Disney company’s favorite directors. His last two films were “Into the Woods” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”. The screenplay for “Mary Poppins Returns” is written by David Magee; known for his whimsy “Life of Pi”, historical sense “Mis Pettigrew Lives For a Day” and ability to connect both “Finding Neverland”. Travers wrote a script for a sequel in the 1980s with Michael Jackson rumored to be the costar. There’s been no word on whether it influenced the current film. The book series never followed up on Jane and Michael as adults so only some situations here and there would remain the same. Yes, if you’re keeping score…the director, producers, composer, lyricist and screenwriter are all Caucasian men, just like the original but 52 years later.
There’s no word on whether Julie Andrews or Dick Van Dyke will have cameos in the new film. Also, the December 2018 release date confirms that the Han Solo film coming out May 2018 will be the only “Star Wars” film that year, giving up their new traditional December release spot.