Release the dancing penguins: Production on Mary Poppins Returns has officially commenced in London. Starring Emily Blunt as the titular quirky nanny and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack the street-lamp lighter, the Disney film is the long-awaited sequel to 1964's Mary Poppins.
The Rob Marshall film also stars Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer as grown-up versions of Michael and Jane Banks. Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Julie Walters (a.k.a. Mrs. Weasley!), and Mary Poppins OG Dick Van Dyke (Cockney accent and all) are also set to star. In addition to the production announcement, Disney has released a full plot synopsis.
Set in the 1930s in Depression-era London — two decades after the first film and coincidentally the same time period of author P.L. Travers's original book series — Mary Poppins Returns finds Michael (Whishaw), his three children, and their housekeeper Ellen (Walters) living back on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael suffers a personal loss, Mary Poppins (Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with her optimistic friend Jack (Miranda), "uses her unique magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives." The film will also introduce a slew of whimsical new characters, including Mary's eccentric cousin, Topsy (Streep).
Hmm. That sounds...
Honestly, we could all use a little more whimsy right now. With production underway at Shepperton Studios in England, Mary Poppins Returns is set for release on Christmas Day in 2018. It's a jolly 'oliday with Mary, indeed. (Sorry.)