Mary Poppins

For quite some time now, Walt Disney Pictures has been revisiting some of their most iconic films in a number of ways. Not only has the entire mythology been reimagined for ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’, but animated classics such as ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Alice In Wonderland’, ‘Cinderella’, and ‘The Jungle Book’ have been adapted into live-action movies (some with a new twist like ‘Maleficent’ or ‘The Descendants’). There are many more on the way like ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Mulan,’ ‘Sword in the Stone,’ and ‘Aladdin.’ But now it seems like the House of Mouse is looking into revitalizing more of their live-action hits as well. Though they may have started to do so already with ‘Tron: Legacy,’ their sights are now set on the magical British nanny who brings a jolly holiday wherever she goes.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Disney is developing an original musical featuring Mary Poppins. Set twenty years after the original 1964 movie in Depression-era London, the new project (which isn’t being considered a sequel) will pull elements from the other seven books about the practically perfect Poppins and the Banks family written by P.L. Travers. The film brings together ‘Into The Woods’ filmmaker Rob Marshall and producers John DeLuca and Marc Platt with ‘Hairspray’ and ‘Smash’ songwriting duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, as well as ‘Finding Neverland’ and ‘Life of Pi’ screenwriter David Magee.

BVHV8487.JPGDespite Travers’ reluctance to work with Walt Disney on another major motion picture after the creation of the first one starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke (which was nicely chronicled in 2013’s ‘Saving Mr. Banks’), Disney is collaborating on this not-sequel with the Travers estate and songwriting Disney Legend Richard Sherman, who famously wrote the soundtracks to childhoods all over the world with his late brother Robert including the Academy Award-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from ‘Mary Poppins.’

While making it clear that the new ‘Mary Poppins’ film wasn’t a sequel, the report was also careful not to use the term “reboot”, even though that’s essentially what’s happening. I mean, it’s unlikely that Andrews or Van Dyke will return to reprise their roles, but hopefully the studio looks to the various casts from the stage musical to fill the parts of Mary and Bert. Or if Ashley Brown isn’t available, maybe Kristen Bell could be the new Mary Poppins. She certainly did a good job for Funny Or Die:

It’s hard to imagine a new Mary Poppins movie, especially one without Julie Andrews, but Disney has assembled a very talented team to tackle to project. For their sake, let’s hope this turns out to be good and not like the atrocities that were the direct-to-video sequels like ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame II’ or ‘Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World’ (but not including ‘Return of Jafar’ or ‘Aladdin and the King of Thevies’).

What do you think about Disney developing a new musical featuring Mary Poppins? Do you think that it could match up to the original? Sound off in the comments below.