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Top 10 Things You Missed in Mary Poppins Returns

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
She’s Mary Poppins, y’all. Join us as we count down the Top 10 Things You Missed in “Mary Poppins Returns.”For this list, we’re taking a look at Easter eggs, small details, and connections that might’ve eluded you in this long-awaited sequel. We’ll keep any spoilers to a minimum, but we will be delving into a few plot points!

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Top 10 Things You Missed in “Mary Poppins Returns

She’s Mary Poppins, y’all. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things You Missed in “Mary Poppins Returns.”

For this list, we’re taking a look at Easter eggs, small details, and connections that might’ve eluded you in this long-awaited sequel. We’ll keep any spoilers to a minimum, but we will be delving into a few plot points.

#10: Mary’s Cheeky Reflection

During the “A Spoonful of Sugar” musical number from the 1964 classic, Mary Poppins demonstrates that she’s far from an ordinary nanny, cleaning a room in a literal snap and sharing a duet with her own reflection. When Mary reunites with the Banks children in the sequel, she’s quick to check herself in the mirror. Although Mary is as proper as ever, her cheeky side once again shines through her reflection, which sends her identical counterpart a subtle glance. Just as Mary’s reflection winks to her in the original, this moment serves as a figurative wink to the fans and the makers of the first film, establishing that this sequel will be a loving homage.

#9: Nellie Rubina

With assistance from Jack and an animated ensemble, Mary puts on a production number for Michael’s children entitled “A Cover Is Not the Book.” The theme of the song is that both books and people aren’t always what they seem on the surface, encouraging us to look inside. Likewise, if you take a closer look at the stories on display, readers of P. L. Travers’ books will recognize the name Nellie Rubina. Although this character doesn’t appear in “Mary Poppins Returns,” she did play a role in the second book, “Mary Poppins Comes Back.” Nellie also pops up in the third book, “Mary Poppins Opens the Door,” a title that has great significance in this film.

#8: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Cockney Accent

Bert is off seeing the world in this sequel, but his spirit lives on through lamplighter Jack, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton.” Like Dick Van Dyke before him, Miranda brings the same energy, enthusiasm, and charisma to his role. That being said, even Miranda admitted that his Cockney accent isn’t exactly the most authentic. Considering that Van Dyke’s accent in the original film is widely considered one of the most infamous in cinema, though, you could argue that’s the point. As was the case with Van Dyke, the passion Miranda throws into his performance overshadows his obviously fake accent. In that sense, Miranda does justice to his predecessor in more ways than one.

#7: Ellen’s Recasting

Most of the returning characters in this sequel are played by new actors, some more ironic than others. In “Mary Poppins,” actress Hermione Baddeley starred as the loyal Banks family maid. Ellen is still employed at the Banks residence in the sequel, although now she’s played by Julie Walters. What makes this casting choice especially amusing is that Walters once mentioned that she’s often mistaken for other actresses, including Julie Andrews. We can’t blame them; both are known for playing nurturing figures with magical abilities. This is also a reunion for Walters and co-star Ben Whishaw, who played Mrs. Bird and Paddington Bear in the highly acclaimed films. In case you needed a nudge to remember the connection, keep your ears open for marmalade references!

#6: The Timeframe

It’s no secret that Disney took a few liberties with the source material while adapting “Mary Poppins” to the big screen. The first “Mary Poppins” book was published in 1934, the same decade the story takes place. The 1964 film, meanwhile, sets itself in 1910, just a few years before World War I. Weirdly enough, when you subtract 1910 from 1964, you get 54, which is exactly how many years it took “Mary Poppins Returns” to take flight. Instead of setting itself over five decades later, however, this sequel occurs about twenty years after the first film during the Great Depression. This places the film’s events in the 1930s, finally catching up with Travers’ books.

#5: The Penguins Return

Although P. L. Travers was reportedly upset about the first film’s animated portion, it’s hard to imagine “Mary Poppins” without that enchanting trip into Bert’s drawings. One of the highlights from this segment found Bert dancing alongside four penguin waiters. In “Mary Poppins Returns,” we’re treated to another glorious sequence that merges live-action with hand-drawn animation. When Mary and Jack perform “A Cover Is Not the Book,” some penguins sporting tuxedos are ready to accompany them. While their designs have been altered slightly, the penguins are every bit as scene-stealing as you remember them, making an already spellbinding scene even more supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

#4: Mary’s Wardrobe

For “Mary Poppins Returns,” costume designer Sandy Powell reportedly made “448 original costumes from scratch.” According to Powell, “The only time I really alluded to the original was for Mary Poppins' arrival outfit.” While the ensemble Mary first dons in the sequel possesses a more contemporary look, it certainly has echoes of her first appearance in the 1964 film. The most notable accessory is the bird on Mary’s hat, which resembles the robin she shared a song with in the original. Speaking of birds, the parrot head on Mary’s umbrella also makes a comeback and he still can’t keep his beak shut. (xref) If anything, he’s even chattier this time around.

#3: The Kite

Rummaging through the attic, Michael and Jane stumble across a few nostalgic Easter eggs. (xref) For starters, the snow globe Michael finds is exactly like the one Mary held during the “Feed the Birds” song. Keen eyes might also see the letter blocks from their nursery. Even more significant is their childhood kite, which Mr. Banks patched up at the end of the first film. Even after all these years, the kite is still held together with old papers while Mrs. Banks’ “votes for women” sash substitutes the tail. The kite ends up being much more than a throwback, however, as it serves as a symbol of childhood. Once the kite takes flight again, Mary Poppins returns and brings the magic back into the Banks’ lives.

#2: “Can You Imagine That?”

While the original film had no shortage of timeless tunes, several songs were cut from the final product, including one number entitled “The Beautiful Briny.” Nevertheless, the Sherman Brothers would eventually work the song into “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” which was something of a spiritual successor to “Mary Poppins” - even starring Mr. Banks himself. Mixing live-action with animation, the song takes our protagonists under the sea where they encounter several colorful characters. “Mary Poppins Returns” cleverly brings things full circle during the “Can You Imagine That?” number, in which Mary turns bath time into an underwater adventure. Although it’s not a recreation of “The Beautiful Briny,” you can definitely see its influence here as Mary once again makes the impossible possible.

#1: Cameos

Julie Andrews decided against appearing in “Mary Poppins Returns” as to not distract from Emily Blunt’s performance, but the film is loaded with cameos nonetheless. In addition to playing Bert, Dick Van Dyke also appeared as Mr. Dawes Sr. in the 1964 film. Although Mr. Dawes laughed himself to death, Van Dyke returns here as his son - and his jumbled after-film credit is another nod to that appearance. The Balloon Lady is played by Angela Lansbury, who’s solidified her status as a Disney Legend between her performances in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and “Beauty and the Beast.” (xref) Karen Dotrice, who played Jane in the original film, can also be spotted as a woman who asks for an address.


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