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The Banks siblings and a new Bert? Your introduction to the characters of Mary Poppins Returns

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We're here to put a stop to any rumours you may have heard about our favourite nanny, the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Mary Poppins. Yes she is back this year, but it's not a remake. Mary Poppins Returns is a brand new film, based on other stories from original author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers.

The film we all grew up loving was set in 1910 and told the story of the Banks family and their all-singing, all-dancing, magical and wonderful nanny. Mary Poppins Returns is set 25 years later, depicting a grown up Jane and Michael Banks who are in desperate need of their old nanny to come back and help them again. Here's your introduction to the characters, both old and new, of the sequel.


Mary Poppins

Originally played by Julie Andrews

Now played by Emily Blunt

Julie Andrews defined the role of Mary Poppins back in 1964, but given it's been over 50 years since the film was released, there had to be a recasting. We're positive that Emily Blunt (currently wowing everyone in A Quiet Place) will be just as practically perfect in every way possible, with her cute British charm, quick wit and ability to radiate warmth.

We know Blunt can sing from her role as The Baker's Wife in Disney's 2014 musical Into The Woods, so we're confident she's the absolute best replacement for Julie Andrews. Plus, her scene-stealing role in The Devil Wears Prada proves she can be brilliantly funny too, which is exactly what we need.


Jack

Played by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Jack is a brand new character, played by someone hailed as the 'modern day Shakespeare': Lin-Manuel Miranda. He's become a worldwide sensation off the back of his smash hit musical Hamilton (which recently swept the Olivier Awards), but he's also danced with Disney a few times before, having composed the music for 2016 animation Moana and some tracks for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It's since been confirmed London lamplighter Jack is an apprentice to the earlier film's Bert (Dick Van Dyke). Rumours are that Van Dyke will be appearing in the film too. Our eyes are peeled for his cameo.


Michael Banks

Originally played by Matthew Garber

Now played by Ben Whishaw

Look who is all grown up. Mary Poppins Returns centres on Michael, who is older and has his own family but is suffering from a recent tragedy. From the looks of the trailer, it's implied that Michael and his sister haven't seen Mary Poppins since they were younger, but now he needs her more than ever. We know that actor Ben Whishaw can bring the gentle whimsy required – after all, he wonderfully provides the voice of Paddington in the hit family movies.

Jane Banks

Originally played by Karen Dotrice

Now played by Emily Mortimer

Jane Banks is back to support her brother and reunite with Mary Poppins in the process. Having looked out for her brother a lot in the first film, it is important for Jane to ensure Michael and his children are healthy, happy and loved. British actress Emily Mortimer is more than capable of conveying the warmth and magic required, as her lovelorn performance in Martin Scorsese's delightful family fantasy Hugo demonstrated.

Ellen

Originally played by Hermione Baddeley

Now played by Julie Walters

Everyone remembers the often hot-headed, clumsy maid Ellen who was known for dropping plates. When Marry Poppins arrived in the original film, Ellen began serving tea in an upbeat mood and even singing around the house. Ellen this time is played by Julie Walters, who we know can be both witty like Mrs Bird the Housekeeper in Paddington, and warm and gentle like Mrs Weasley in Harry Potter.


William Weatherall Wilkins

Played by Colin Firth

In the first film, the moral of the story revolved around Mr. Banks coming out of his bank-sized 'cage' to lovingly embrace his family once again. And it seems there may be a reprise of said moral in Mary Poppins Returns: after all, William Wilkins is the president of the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, the exact same place that Michael and Jane's father worked in the first film.

Mary Poppins helped Mr Banks learn to laugh and love, and most importantly make the most of his time with his children, so maybe Colin Firth's William Wilkins needs to be taught this lesson too. We all know that Firth can milk the uptight, repressed thing for both huge laughs (Bridget Jones) and sadness (A Single Man), so this looks to be another fine piece of casting.

Topsy Turvy-Poppins

Played by Meryl Streep

This new film will bring to us a relative of Mary Poppins: her eccentric cousin Topsy-Turvy. In the books, Mary's cousin is Arthur Turvy who has a condition where he always does the opposite to what he actually wants to do. However, he falls in love with Topsy, who then becomes Mary's cousin-in-law.

We don't know too much about Topsy Turvy-Poppins yet, but we know that Oscar winning acting legend Meryl Streep can both sing and dance and unleash her inner Disney spirit. Don't forget that's exactly what she did as the Witch in Into the Woods, and then there's her lung-busting appearances in the ABBA-themed Mamma Mia! (the sequel to which, Here We Go Again, arrives in July).

Annabel, George and John Banks

Played by Pixie Davies, Joel Dawson and Nathanael Saleh

Michael's three children, Annabel, George and John, will have never met Mary Poppins, but will be just the children she needs to help. Having suffered heartbreak, these children are going to need a good dose of magical medicine, and maybe a song or two.

Mary Poppins Returns is released in Cineworld on 21st December. Tweet us your favourite characters @Cineworld.

Nadine Shambrook is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.