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One of the more unexpected decisions of the ongoing Disney reboot parade was the choice to make a sequel to the Academy Award-winning Mary Poppins. The film is trying to do right by the original, however, as they're bringing back Dick Van Dyke, and his role is absolutely the greatest thing ever. Van Dyke will be playing the son of a character he played in the original film. Before you freak out, relax, he's not playing the son of Bert.
If you haven't seen Mary Poppins in a long time, fix that. However, if you haven't seen Mary Poppins in a long time, you may have forgotten, or not even realized, that Dick Van Dyke actually plays two roles in the film. He plays the jack-of-all-trades, Bert, of course. However, he also plays a small role as Mr. Dawes Sr. the chairman of the bank where Jane and Michael's father works. It's a small role that only has a couple of scenes and Van Dyke is covered in false hair and makeup to make him appear incredibly old. According to Disney's announcement this morning, Van Dyke will be playing Mr. Dawes Jr., the chairman of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. He'll be playing his own son.
Mary Poppins Returns is set some 20 years after the original. One assumes that Mr. Dawes Sr. had to finally step down as chairman, and his son has now taken over. Taking into account the fact that Mr. Dawes Sr. appears to be about 120 years old, and that additional time that has passed, we can only assume that Mr. Dawes Jr. won't be significantly younger when we meet him. On the plus side, as Dick Van Dyke himself is a bit older, he hopefully won't need to spend quite as much time in the makeup chair.
Seeing Dick Van Dyke reprise the Mr. Dawes role is perfect. It allows Van Dyke to appear in the new film without having to invent some other cameo role for him. It's a natural place for him to be that makes sense in the story. This means they won't be simply cramming him into some cameo simply for the sake of being able to say Dick Van Dyke was in the movie. We also know that Colin Firth's character, William Weatherall Wilkins, is running the bank in question, so the bank itself would appear to be an important part of the story, as it was in the original.
Now, the only question left is, will Dick Van Dyke have his own name listed in the credits? In the original, the role of Mr. Dawes was credited to Navckid Keyd, an anagram of Dick Van Dyke. If they want to throw in the sorts of easter eggs that remakes and reboots like to give to the big fans, we wouldn't be surprised to see them do exactly that.