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A few years ago somebody over at Disney got the bright idea that they could double down on our love of their original animated features by making them all over again as live action films. Apparently they’ve run through all their animated movies, as they’ve now started to see what else they can do with their back catalog of live action movies. No, they’re not making animated films out of them, they’re making sequels. Enter Mary Poppins 2: Electric Boogaloo. It's not actually called that, we promise, but we do know what it's about.
Variety reports that Disney is talking to Into the Woods director Rob Marshall about helming a new Mary Poppins movie, which will be a sequel to the 1964 Disney original. The film will be based on the other books written by P.L. Travers. There were a total of eight Mary Poppins books published between 1934 and 1988. Apparently the sequel will be set 20 years after the events of the original.
This fact is a little interesting since it means that the children from the first film will be adults. In the original stories, Mary Poppins is always dealing with the same Banks children. It’s not clear why the time jump is necessary, unless they think modern audiences will relate better to 1930 than to 1910. The original 1964 film starred Julie Andrews as the titular magical nanny (for which she won an Academy Award) and Dick van Dyke as Burt the chimney sweep/sidewalk artist/kite merchant.
Tapping the director behind Chicago is probably the best move they could make, as if you want to make a follow-up to an Oscar-winning musical, you should get the guy who made the last one. However, that of course begs the question of whether or not this is a road that should be walked down at all. This movie is so well loved that they made a movie about making the movie. We’re only two films into Disney’s reboot-palooza, and it’s far from clear that audiences are going to get wholly on board this hype train. What’s more, this will likely follow all the other announced Disney reboots, which means Mary Poppins 2 is going to follow the live action Winnie the Pooh. If audiences aren’t jumping off theater balconies by then it will be because they already died in their seats.
And who in the blue hell are you going to get to take over for Dick van Dyke and Julie Andrews? You want to recast Julie Andrews? Go ask that live TV performance of The Sound of Music how that works out. The answer is not well.
Needless to say, this entire idea is mildly terrifying if you’re a fan of the original film. It’s not impossible that the film could be good, but it will be a hard sell to fans of the original. We’ll keep our eyes on this one to see if it goes anywhere. And we’re keeping a spoonful of sugar on hand just in case.