'Mary Poppins Returns' cast explain why its taken 54 years for a sequel to be made (exclusive)

·Senior Editor

Mary Poppins Returns arrives in cinemas on 21 December, 54 years after the original film, making it the longest time elapsed for a sequel to a live action film. But why the long wait?

It all boils down to PL Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books and the subject of Disney’s Saving Mr Banks, explains Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall.

“The PL Travers estate had been very famously protective of the material,” Marshall tells Yahoo Movies UK in our interview above.

“Even though there had been 8 [Mary Poppins] books that were written, and there was all this wonderful material, there wasn’t really a chance to do it.”

Travers, famously, disliked the 1964 adaptation disagreeing with Walt Disney over the use of animation and music in the film, and ruled out any further adaptations of her books. Travers died in 1996, aged 96, and it’s only been in recent years that her estate has loosened its grip on the property paving the way for a movie sequel.

This image released by Disney shows Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins in “Mary Poppins Returns.” (Disney via AP)
This image released by Disney shows Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins in “Mary Poppins Returns.” (Disney via AP)

“PL Travers blocked the idea of a sequel,” adds Ben Whishaw, who plays an older Michael Banks in the film.

“She didn’t like the first one in the first place… and then they had to wait for her to die, and she did die, and then her estate were suddenly much more up for it.”

The sequel is set 30 years after the events of the first film, with Britain in the midst of the Great Depression. The recently bereaved Michael Banks has fallen on hard times and is at risk of losing the family home on Cherry Tree Lane to the ruthless money men at the Fiduciary Bank.

These themes of a Britain in turmoil and the escapist fantasy of Mary Poppins floating in to save the day, couldn’t be more timely says Emily Blunt, who plays the title role.

“I feel how Rob Marshall has set it during the Great Depression, a time of great fragility, a time that feels disconcerting, I feel very much has some relevance today,” Blunt explains.

“A lot of people feel the need for [Mary] to come back, they wish she could come and bring order to chaos, and fix it all.”

Quite what Mary Poppins would make of the chaos in Whitehall right now, remains to be seen. Maybe we’ll find out in the inevitable sequel?

Mary Poppins Returns is in cinemas from 21 December.

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