Paddington 3 recasting backlash shows fans haven't learned their lesson

emily mortimer, paddington in peru trailer
Paddington 3 backlash highlights familiar problemStudioCanal

Paddington 3 sees Emily Mortimer take over from Sally Hawkins as Mrs Brown and some Paddington fans aren't best pleased with the change.

Even though it was announced back in June 2023, the recasting still surprised people when the first trailer for Paddington in Peru was released, showing the first look at Mortimer as Mrs Brown.

On the whole, fans were just delighted that Paddington was back after seven years away. However, there was also a lot of dismay about Hawkins not being in it and how the franchise can never be the same, with some even suggesting that Mortimer should have played Mrs Brown's sister and not Mrs Brown.

Pre-judgment is nothing new on the internet, but it should feel familiar for Paddington fans, and it demonstrates that some haven't learned their lesson.

Enter #CreepyPaddington.

emily mortimer, paddington in peru trailer

Both Paddington and Paddington 2 received near-universal acclaim and became instant classics, likely to be ever-present in Christmas TV schedules for decades to come. They leave you feeling warm, happy and wanting to be a better person.

However, it's actually easy to forget that this was hardly the reaction that greeted the buildup to the first movie. In fact, the internet's response to the first movie ahead of its release would have made Aunt Lucy very cross indeed.

We had a glimpse of what Paddington would look like in a teaser for the movie released in March 2014. But it wasn't until June 2014 that we got our first full look at the marmalade-loving bear in an innocent shot of him hanging out in front of Buckingham Palace.

The response was not one of adoration, but of mockery. It was thought Paddington looked a bit like a duffel coat-wearing serial killer and the Creepy Paddington meme was born, where people added the innocent bear into classic horror movies.

creepy paddington, meme, horror film

Fortunately, the response to Paddington 3's trailer hasn't led to a vitriolic response to Emily Mortimer, because Paddington fans are better than that.

There is, however, still a general sense that it won't be quite as good because Hawkins isn't involved. And, sure, that might end up being the case, especially as the first two movies set such a high bar. But we should be giving the filmmakers more credit than that at this stage.

It's clear that the producers care about the character and living up to those first two movies. They haven't rushed into making a third movie, which would have been tempting after the ecstatic response to Paddington 2.

The development of Paddington 3 has also seen the producers seek a new director to replace Paul King. Hopefully, the first trailer – with Olivia Colman as a singing nun and an excellent, very silly passport photo gag – gives fans enough hope that Dougal Wilson was the correct choice.

olivia colman, paddington in peru trailer

It's safe to assume that producers took as much care in deciding how to recast Mrs Brown, and Emily Mortimer is a talented actor in her own right. She might not have approached the character the same way, but the heart will likely still be there.

We're not saying that you can't be sad that we won't see Sally Hawkins back – we are, too. But if any franchise has shown it deserves our trust rather than an instant reaction, it's Paddington.

Keep Aunt Lucy's words in mind: If we're kind and polite, the world will be right.

Paddington in Peru will be released in UK cinemas on November 8, 2024 and in US cinemas on January 17, 2025.

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