Mary Poppins Returns may technically be a sequel, but don't expect everything to be reminiscent of the original film. While the Julie Andrews performance in the original Mary Poppins will undoubtedly be felt in the new film, Emily Blunt says that when looking for her version of the character, she went back to the original books, where Mary Poppins is perhaps a bit rougher around the edges than Andrews' Oscar-winning performance. According to Blunt...
We were loyal to the books. I think she's a little more acerbic and vain and weird in the books and we went that direction a little more.
While I haven't read many of the Mary Poppins books written by P.L. Travers, I have read the first, and I can certainly concur that in that book Poppins is a bit more surly than Julie Andrews is in the film. While the actress' performance certainly portrays Mary Poppins as somebody who isn't going to explain herself to anybody, and who can be quite forceful when she wants to be, you always get the impression in the film that it's all done with love. While that may be the intention in the books as well, it doesn't come across quite as much. You never get to see Mary's face and know if she's smirking or not.
We got to see some of that in the first trailer for Mary Poppins Returns which sees Mary return to the home of the Banks children (and also their children) as if she was expected. She immediately admonishes Michael for referencing her age, and seems to absolutely deny the use of magic, even when she's witnessed performing it.
At the same time, the new movie is still a musical and that means bright, colorful and fun musical numbers, some of which we've gotten a glimpse of here and there. It's difficult for even Mary Poppins to not smile if she's singing and dancing around, so not everything about Emily Blunt's version of the character is acerbic.
Emily Blunt's version of Mary Poppins (via THR) isn't the only thing that reportedly came from the books. Lin-Manuel Miranda has said that the writers went back to the original source material to look for ideas as well. The original Mary Poppins took several different characters and adventures from many of the early books and it seems that the new movie will have done the same. While the overarching plot will follow Mary Poppins caring for the children of a widowed Michael Banks, there will certainly be several, not strictly related, adventures that our characters will go on.
The original Mary Poppins was a beloved film and the buzz surrounding the new one is equally good. The possibility for Blunt to follow Julie Andrews and get an Oscar nomination for playing the same role is certainly there.
Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters this Christmas.