Why Isn't Julie Andrews In 'Mary Poppins Returns'?

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ stars Emily Blunt in the role made immortal by Julie Andrews in the 1964 Disney classic.  While Andrews’ costar Dick Van Dyke returns in a new role in ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, Andrews did not.  Recently, it was revealed that Andrews does have a role of sorts in Warner Brothers’ ‘Aquaman’ which opens on the same day, December 21.  Does that imply any bad blood between Andrews and Disney?  Not at all, according to ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ director Rob Marshall.

At the film’s premiere, he disclosed:

“She immediately said no.  She said, ‘This is Emily’s show and I want her to run with this. She should run with this. This is hers. I don’t want to be on top of that.’”

In an interview for Variety, Blunt delivered a similar response:

“She was very hands-off with the whole thing.  There was discussion about, you know, that maybe she would come and do a bit in the movie and she was so generous actually.  She said to Rob, ‘Do you know what this is? This is Emily’s version of her and I don’t want it to be that she’s playing Mary Poppins the whole way through but then I come in and there’s like oh, but there’s the real Mary Poppins, you know?’”

Last year, Andrews herself stated, “Emily Blunt is going to play Mary Poppins and I am a great fan.  I think she is terrific and a perfect pick.”

Though not officially confirmed, it is rumored that the role of the Balloon Lady, portrayed by Angela Lansbury in the film, was the part intended for Andrews.  As for Van Dyke, he played two roles in the original.  Of course, he was Burt, Mary’s chimney sweeping sidekick, but was almost unrecognizable as the elderly banker Mr. Dawes.  In the new flick, he plays Mr. Dawes Jr., the son of the original, who is now pretty ancient himself.

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ officially opens on December 21, but unofficially opens for previews on the 19th.