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Disney is just bout to start filming on a sequel to their classic Mary Poppins. While the title role is set to be taken over by Emily Blunt, that doesn't mean that the original actors won't be anywhere to be seen. Following rumors that Disney was looking to bring both of the original films leads back, it has now been confirmed that Dick Van Dyke will be back for Mary Poppins Returns.
Several months ago it was rumored that Disney was talking to both Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews about returning to the world of Mary Poppins. However, a new profile of several actors over the age of 90 by The Hollywood Reporter opens with a reference that the 91-year-old Van Dyke is making preparations for the film. This would seem to confirm that he will, in fact, show up on screen at some point.
No reference is made to exactly what role Dick Van Dyke might play. While Mary Poppins Returns is said to take place many years after the first, it's not nearly as many years as it has been since the first film was made, which makes Van Dyke significantly older than his character Burt would be. For this reason, it seems fairly clear that Van Dyke will play somebody else, possibly something similar to the other role he played in the original Mary Poppins, bank manager Mr. Dawes Senior. The actor listed in the credits in the role was Navckid Keyd, an anagram of Dick Van Dyke.
The only real question is whether Dick Van Dyke will simply appear in a cameo or if he'll have a more significant supporting role. I actually really like the idea of him playing a role like Mr. Dawes Senior. Putting him in makeup so the actor himself is not recognizable would be fun, as many wouldn't even recognize him. If they actually listed him in the credits as Navckid Keyd I would turn around and go buy a second ticket right then and there just for the fun of it. It would also be nice to see the actor do more than just be a face in a park who says hello to Mary Poppins and then shuffles off screen. If you're going to bring in Dick Van Dyke, use him. He doesn't need a major role, but a character who's at least important in a scene or two, likes Dawes, wouldn't be too much to ask of him.
The male lead of Mary Poppins Returns will be handled by Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack. The role will more or less be the same sort of role as that of Burt in the original film. He'll be opposite Emily Blunt in the title role. Say what you will about the idea of making a sequel to Mary Poppins, but if you're going to do it, you might as well put together a great cast and Disney appears to have done that. Now we can only hope they've also found a place for Julie Andrews, we just haven't heard about it yet.