New images from Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns reveals new looks at the colorful live-action musical, including the return of the hand-drawn cartoon penguins made famous by Walt Disney’s 1964 classic (via EW).
More than 50 years after Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke dazzled as magical nanny Mary Poppins and singing chimney sweep Bert, the elusive nanny is back — this time played by Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place, Disney’s Jungle Cruise), who is followed by a cavalcade of new characters such as optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy (Meryl Streep).
25 years after Mary first enchanted the lives of the Banks children, Mary once again flies into the household of the now-grown Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) and sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), after the death of Michael’s wife leaves him and his three children in despair.
“We felt it was important to not only reflect the depression era [of the books], but that there had to be a very important reason for Mary to come back,” director Rob Marshall told EW of crafting a sequel that draws on both one of Disney’s most beloved creations and the follow-up adventures told in author P.L. Travers’ eight-book series.
“It had to be something true and real, and so in our film, Michael’s a young father who has three kids and has not only lost his wife, but because of the time period, has also lost his whole sense of wonder and joy and optimism.”
Marshall, who previously helmed such big-budget Disney productions as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Into the Woods, stresses the sequel isn’t a remake of the Walt Disney-produced original that starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.
“There’s never been a moment when I’ve felt like I want to in any way re-do the original,” Marshall said. “The thing that’s so mortifying is when people say it’s a remake. Never. No one could touch that. But can we continue the tradition of that storytelling with our own cast, with our own world, with our own sensibility? There’s so much more story to tell, and it’s because the character’s so great.”
Mary, Jack and Michael’s three children, Georgie (Joel Dawson), Annabel (Pixie Davis), and John (Nathanael Saleh) journey into the animated world of a Royal Doulton bowl.
Marshall tapped veteran Disney artists to animate the ‘toon animals who help liven the festivities, including the above musical number co-starring penguins Fred, Gene, Oliver, and Charlie.
Michael and Jane visit bank manager William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) as they attempt to protect Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane from foreclosure.
The new generation of Banks children during their first encounter with the magical nanny who is practically perfect in every way.
Dick Van Dyke returns in a cameo appearance as bank head Mr. Dawes Jr., the son of Mr. Dawes Sr. — who Van Dyke also played in Mary Poppins, pulling double duty in addition to his role of Bert.
Mary Poppins and the Banks children visit cousin Topsy, a “gravity-challenged master mender” who is enlisted for help in repairing a broken family heirloom.
Marshall reunites with Blunt, who he steered in musical Into the Woods. Marshall says Blunt was his first and only choice to take over from Andrews as the new Mary Poppins.