As part of part of our series on mind-blowing movie fan theories, we’re changing the way you watch some of Hollywood’s most famous films.
This week: ‘Mary Poppins’ and the movies of James Bond.
In a world of ever expanding ‘shared universes’, there’s been a confluence of major franchises that have merged without you ever even knowing it. We’re talking of course about the ‘Doctor Who’ franchise and the James Bond franchise. Also ‘Mary Poppins’. Wait, what?
Yes, there are some who believe that James Bond, 007, Britain’s finest spy, is actually a Time Lord – a regenerating Gallifreyan capable of transcending time and space, like The Doctor himself. Not only that, but Mary Poppins, the flight-ready British nanny who’s practically perfect in every way, is also a Time Lord. Can’t wait for the epic crossover movie in 2019 – clear your schedule, Dame Julie Andrews! Let’s swallow a spoonful of sugar and gobble up the evidence.
Let’s start with Bond. Maybe you noticed since 1962, but 007 has had six different faces since he took down Dr. No. Actors come and actors go, but across the tenure of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, each Bond has had his own unique personality style, despite the same profession and codename – the same lack of consistency that defines The Doctor. Bad guys don’t retire, so neither do Time Lords.
We get it. Actors grow old. Studios get impatient. Reboots are big business. Fair enough. But explain this: there are plot points that span across different iterations of Bond. The death of Bond’s wife Tracy – experienced only by Lazenby in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ – is referenced in almost every other version of Bond.
Bond changes, but his friends stay the same – Desmond Llewelyn played Q opposite five 007s, while Judi Dench played M for Bonds Brosnan and Craig. And then, with ‘Skyfall’, the kicker: Craig’s Bond was in possession of the Aston Martin DB5 of ‘Goldfinger’ fame, complete with Connery’s ejector seat function. How? Or should we say… Who?
Onto Poppins. We know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but look at her – she’s practically auditioning for the role of The Doctor. British? Check. Kooky style? Check. Fancy scarf? Check. Jaunty bow tie? Oh yeah. TARDIS? Not quite, but check out her holdall – it’s way bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. She’s practically a mash-up of every Doctor we’ve ever known – a smidge of Matt Smith, a dollop of Sylvester McCoy, a dash of Tom Baker. Frankly we wouldn’t be surprised if that umbrella turned out to have some pretty funky sonic capabilities.
Poppins is a flighty sort. She appears when her services are needed, never stays too long, and then leaves when her work is done. Sound familiar? Other Whovian abilities include: the ability to talk to creatures other than humans (i.e. cartoon penguins and whatever Dick Van Dyke is); a love of adventure (mostly bonkers in nature); and the ability to bend time and space (solely used to enter the realm of chalk drawings). Then there’s the deleted scene on the ‘Mary Poppins’ DVD where she fights the Daleks. Maybe we’ve misremembered that.
It’s a fun theory but not one that holds up under scrutiny, unfortunately. With Bond, it’s only natural that 007 was recast over time – ‘Skyfall’ probably wouldn’t have been the massive success it was if an 82-year-old Sean Connery was hobbling his way through the action scenes.
Part of the appeal of the Bond franchise is the constant referencing of Bond lore – hence familiar faces, familiar cars, that same disgusting damn drink. The faces may change but the essence of 007 – his inherent Bondness – never does. Fans wouldn’t have it any other way – it just wouldn’t be Bond without the guns, girls and gadgets we love.
And Mary Poppins? Well, she’s got the look, there’s no doubt about that, but until we see a few ‘Mary Poppins’ reboots with younger, fresher faces playing the irepressible nanny (Emma Stone? No, stop – this is a terrible idea, please disregard everything), we’re going to put the time lord theory on the back burner.
There is a recent tendency to connect movie-related things which do not really fit – see the recent ‘unified Pixar universe’ theory for proof of people banging square pegs in round holes.
It should be enough that these characters have a few similarities, but they alone don’t indicate a gigantic conspiracy to unite The Doctor, James Bond and Mary Poppins in one universe-spanning mega-blockbuster.
Although, to be honest, we totally would watch that movie.
Image credits: Disney/EON/BBC/Giphy