Why Julie Andrews Is Actually In Aquaman

Julie Andrews in her Netflix show

This Holiday Season will be fascinating in movie theaters, as the market is seemingly open for grabs. With Disney not releasing a new Star Wars movie for the first time in years, there's a chance for other properties to clean up at the box office. Of course, Disney is still making an attempt at a release with Mary Poppins Returns, following up on the 1964 original. While Emily Blunt will be taking on the role from Julie Andrews, the OG Mary does have her own movie coming out, as she has a small role in James Wan's Aquaman.

A surprise to many, it was announced a month ago that Julie Andrews would be voicing a role in Aquaman. She's playing the mythic Karathen, an undersea creature who will reportedly hold the key to Arthur Curry's ascension to the throne of Atlantis. It's a casting choice that fans didn't expect, especially since Andrews turned down a role in Mary Poppins Returns. But now we've got a better idea behind the living legend's inclusion, courtesy of Aquaman writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick:

You know what? This creature --- it's always a guy. It's always like the big, booming male voice. I want a female voice with gravitas. We don't ever see that coming from this creature. So, let's make this a powerful female. That was [Wan's] inspiration.

It looks like James Wan was looking for a powerful female voice. And what's more powerful than Julie Andrews? After all, she played a queen. More than once.

David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick's comments to LA Times help illuminate the thought behind bringing Julie Andrews into the DC Universe. While there are countless actors who have been rumored for DC characters, the Mary Poppins and Sound of Music legend wasn't one of them. But James Wan has always been a director with a specific vision, and that includes making Karathen a lady monster.

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Julie Andrews' role in Aquaman has given the upcoming DC blockbuster more, unexpected press. She already seems like an unlikely choice to pair with horror director James Wan, and it's even more interesting given the release of Mary Poppins Returns. Aquaman is Disney's big competition for box office supremacy this year, as action fans will likely go see the underwater adventure. So Andrews being on the other side of things makes the upcoming competition all the more interesting.

While news of Julie Andrews' role in Aquaman was announced a month ago, it's still unclear exactly how large the role is. Her character Karathen has largely been kept out of the trailers, with only a few brief glimpses of the creature shown thus far. While she's been teased to have a significant role in Arthur Curry's ascension as the King of The Sea, the size of the role if a mystery. Perhaps she has some connection to the Trident of Atlan, which is the weapon that seems to be a main macguffin of the upcoming movie.

Karathen in Aquaman

When Mary Poppins Returns was first announced, Disney fans immediately began wondering whether or not Julie Andrews would be part of the sequel. The 1964 original was a major success story for both Disney and Andrews herself. The movie ultimately won five Oscars for the musical classic, with Andrews snatching the coveted Best Actress trophy in the process. As such, fans assumed that she'd have a role in the Rob Marshall sequel.

But the story that's been circulating for the past year is that Julie Andrews respectfully declined returning to the property for Mary Poppins Returns. It's a classy move, with the 83 year old actress reporetedly wanting Emily Blunt to have the space to occupy the character, free of comparisons. Dick Van Dyke did end up returning for a role of his own, but the Mary Poppins sequel will be void of Andrews' presence.

Smart money says Rob Marshall wanted Julie Andrews for the role of the Balloon Lady, who pops up briefly and even has her own little song. Instead, another Disney legend was approached, with Beauty and The Beast' Angela Lansbury ultimately playing the role in the upcoming sequel. Luckily for those fans of Andrews who were having FOMO about Mary Poppins Returns, she's got her unexpected role in Aquaman.

Although surprising, Julie Andrews' casting in Aquaman actually makes a great deal of sense. While she's best known for her performances on Broadway and in movie musicals like The Sound of Music, she's also had a long career as a voice actress. Andrews played a royal in the Shrek franchise, voicing Queen Lillian for three movies. She also has a recurring role in the Despicable Me franchise, while also narrating Disney's Enchanted. Andrews knows her way around a studio, so she's a great choice to bring Karathen to life on the big screen.

While Mary Poppins Returns has the pressure of following up on a classic, James Wan's Aquaman has its own type of anticipation and extremely high stakes. DC's live-action universe has had a bumpy road to theaters, with a ton of peaks and valleys during its short life in theaters. Thus far, only Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman has been a critical success, so the pressure is on for Warner Bros. to deliver another hit.

Additionally, the use of Aquaman as a leading man is relatively new concept. The underwater hero has typically been the butt of jokes throughout the years, although Jason Momoa has the hulking physicality and hulking personality to make him a bonafide badass. He had a supporting role in Justice League, but is given the chance to steal the spotlight in James Wan's blockbuster.

Luckily for DC fans, early reception for Aquaman has been very positive. James Wan's vision and past with horror have brought Atlantis to life, while also breaking new ground in regards to filming underwater scenes. Sometimes painful wirework was needed to allow the actors to "swim" during scenes, while extensive CGI is needed to make the characters' hair and clothes appear weightless underwater.

Aquaman will arrive in theaters, complete with Julie Andrews, on December 21, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.