In winter 2018, we're taking a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious trip back to Cherry Tree Lane, as Disney releases a new live action Mary Poppins film. Here's everything you need to know about Mary Poppins Returns, including when it's in cinemas, and which famous faces bagged a role (conversely, here's what you shouldn't expect from the film). This article contains minor spoilers.
Cast: who's in the new Mary Poppins film?
Good news, Dick Van Dyke's back for Mary Poppins Returns — but don't expect him to be cavorting on London's chimneys this time round (the man's 92, for goodness sake). He's billed as playing "Mr Dawes Jr", who we can only guess is the son of Mr Dawes Sr, the director of the bank where Jane and Michael's father works in the original 1964 film (a role which Van Dyke also played, under the anagram pseudonym Nackvid Keyd).
Van Dyke's the only original cast member to appear in this new film.
Emily Blunt, known for The Girl On The Train and The Devil Wears Prada, takes up Julie Andrews' mantel and plays the eponymous, umbrella-wielding, sugar-shovelling matriarch.
Emily Mortimer plays a grown-up Jane Banks, with Ben Wishaw — known for voicing Paddington — playing her brother, Michael Banks.
Other notable cast members in the new Mary Poppins film include Angela Lansbury (as the Balloon Lady), Meryl Streep (playing Mary's cousin, Topsy), Julie Walters as Michael Banks's housekeeper Ellen, and Colin Firth as William Weatherall Wilkins, the current president of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank.
So, just a few famous faces then.
When is Mary Poppins Returns released in the UK?
Mary Poppins Returns has a UK release date of 21 December 2018 — just in time for the Christmas holidays. Americans get it a couple of days before that, with a projected release date of 19 December 2018.
Was Mary Poppins 2 filmed in London? Where are the filming locations?
While much of the film has been shot in studios (Shepperton and Pinewood), some scenes were filmed on the streets of London. The area around Bank and Threadneedle Street appears in the film, as does Constitution Hill near Buckingham Palace.
In fact, when we visited the London Bus Museum in summer 2017, one of its vintage vehicles had just returned from use on the set of Mary Poppins Returns, and was still covered in fake 1930s posters — and fake mud, used to emulate a wet day in 1930s London.
Whether these are just cursory crowd-pleasing shots, or lengthy, developed scenes filmed on London's streets remains to be seen.
What's the 2018 Mary Poppins film about?
Disney has been tight-lipped about the plot so far, releasing only the briefest of teaser trailers. With four months until release date, there's not even a whiff of a longer, theatrical trailer. What we do know is that it's set 25 years after the first film, in 1930s London with Mary's young charges Jane and Michael Banks now grown ups themselves.
Michael is a father to three children, and still lives in the house on Cherry Tree Lane with his offspring, and a housekeeper. At the time of the film, a personal tragedy has befallen him — *SPOILER ALERT* it's believed that this tragedy is the death of his wife.
It seems Burt the chimney sweep has been ousted as Mary's sidekick in favour of Jack, a street lamplighter, played by Lin Manuel-Miranda, creator of Hamilton the Musical.
What happened to the cast of the original Mary Poppins film?
Julie Andrews, now aged 82, has had a long career since Mary Poppins, not least through her role in The Sound of Music two years later.
Dick Van Dyke too appeared in many other films and TV shows, including Poppins spin-off Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, winning five Emmys, a TONY and a Grammy to date, not to mention a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Karen Dotrice, who played Jane Banks at the age of 9, retired from showbiz in the 1980s, with Mary Poppins still the biggest role to her name. Sadly, Michael Garber, who played her on screen brother Michael Banks, died at the age of 21 of pancreatitis.
How to get ready for Mary Poppins 2 in London
Watch the 1964 film, obviously. We also recommend watching Saving Mr Banks, a film in which Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers, the author responsible for Mary Poppins, and her negotiations with Disney over film rights.
Here in London, there are two Mary Poppins themed afternoon teas going on at the moment. Kona serves us its delights — including Mary's hat, and a cake shaped like an umbrella, on a working carousel.
There's also a second Mary Poppins afternoon tea at Aqua Shard.
You could also take a wander past the eccentric north London house which inspired P L Travers, and which features in the 1964 Mary Poppins film, as well as the trailer for Mary Poppins Returns. Or, look out for the recently-added blue plaque which marks the house P. L. Travers lived in while writing Mary Poppins.
For further updates on Mary Poppins Returns, follow the official Mary Poppins Twitter account.