Not only has Disney officially confirmed a MARY POPPINS sequel today, they’ve also confirmed that Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda will be playing the lead roles. According to Oh My Disney, the sequel, entitled MARY POPPINS RETURNS, will take place in Depression-era London and focus on a now-adult Jane and Michael Banks, as well as Michael’s three children. Blunt, most recently known for her starring role in Disney’s theatrical version of INTO THE WOODS, will be stepping into the shoes of Julie Andrews’ iconic role as Mary Poppins herself. Miranda, best known for his musicals IN THE HEIGHTS and HAMILTON, will be starring alongside Blunt as Jack, a street lamplighter and new character to the franchise. There’s a million things Miranda hasn’t done, but he can now cross “Star in Disney movie” off the list. MARY POPPINS RETURNS will be written by David Magee (LIFE OF PI) and directed by Rob Marshall (INTO THE WOODS).
This announcement comes at an interesting time, when reboots, prequels/sequels, and requels – films that can’t decide whether they want to be reboot or prequel and decide to be the Venn diagram overlap between the two instead – are at an all-time high in Hollywood and the backlash against them is tremendous. From accusations of Hollywood having no new ideas to “ruining my childhood,” requels have hit a good amount of resistance from moviegoers. A distilled yet overly toxic example is the backlash against the trailers for the new Ghostbusters movie, though there’s a good deal of sexism in there that may not be present in reactions to other films. Oddly enough, ever since the rumors for Blunt’s and Miranda’s casting started circulating a few months ago, most fans have been fairly accepting or even enthusiastic at the prospect of a Mary Poppins sequel. While it’s entirely possible Mary Poppins fans are more accepting than Ghostbusters fans overall, I can’t help but wonder how much casting announcements have to do with general reception, and whether Miranda’s current media and fan darling status have anything to do with the overall reception to this announcement.
Food for thought.
Personally, I am intrigued by bordering on excited for MARY POPPINS RETURNS, and I will fully admit that it’s because I want to see Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda play off each other in a live-action Disney musical. Given that MARY POPPINS RETURNS is set to release on December 25, 2018, it definitely feels like a Christmas gift.
What do you think? Are you excited for a MARY POPPINS sequel? How much do casting announcements play into overall opinion of a film, especially a sequel/prequel/reboot/requel? Let us know!