A New Bowl Game
Among the first mind-boggling journeys Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) takes in Mary Poppins Returns, the nanny leads Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and the three Banks children — Georgie (Joel Dawson), Annabel (Pixie Davies), and John (Nathanael Saleh) — inside the animated porcelain world of a Royal Doulton bowl. No cracks about the condition of the road infrastructure, please.
Director Rob Marshall enlisted veteran Disney artists to animate the hand-drawn cartoon characters who lend some backup to Mary Poppins (Blunt) and Jack (Miranda) in the mega-sized musical number set on the stage of an animated music hall. Spot anything familiar? The dancing penguins from the 1964 classic, lovingly nicknamed by the filmmakers after Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Oliver Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin, return.
Cherry Tree Liaisons
Bank manager William Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) greets a now-grown Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whishaw) Banks at…well, the bank, where they try to save Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane from foreclosure.
Michael Banks’ three young children — John (Saleh), Annabel (Davies), and Georgie (Dawson) — wield a kite without flight during their first meeting with Mary Poppins.
Mr. Dawes Returns
While chimney sweep Bert is off to parts unknown, Dick Van Dyke is right here making a cameo in Mary Poppins Returns as bank head Mr. Dawes Jr. (the son of Mr. Dawes Sr., the character Van Dyke devilishly played in addition to Bert in 1964’s Mary Poppins).
Meryl Streep sings and dances as gravity-challenged master mender Topsy, a reluctantly upside-down cousin of Mary Poppins (Blunt) whom the nanny visits in the hopes that she’ll fix a broken Banks family heirloom.
Marshall and Mary
Director Marshall, who worked with Blunt on 2014’s Into the Woods, called the actress his first and only choice to reinvent the role of Mary Poppins.