Who Is Colin Firth Playing In The 'Mary Poppins' Sequel? His Role Could Be Crucial
Mary Poppins just got way more magical (and good-looking). Variety announced Wednesday that Colin Firth has joined Mary Poppins Returns as William Weatherall Wilkins, president of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. This is definitely in the top 10 things to ever happen in pop culture, and no, I am not being hyperbolic. There is nothing better than imagining Firth in the world of Mary Poppins. Nothing.
Mary Poppins Returns is set 25 years after the original film, putting the adult Banks children right in the middle of London's depression era. Ben Whishaw is set to play Michael Banks, who now has three children of his own, while Emily Mortimer is taking on the role of Jane Banks. Meanwhile, Emily Blunt earned the titular role of Mary Poppins, and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Meryl Streep are both set to co-star in the film. As you can see, the cast list was already impressive — adding Firth, who is beloved for his roles in Pride & Prejudice and the Bridget Jones series, just elevated the amazing cast even more.
While the name of Firth's character has been revealed, there is no information on what role the alliteratively named Wilkins will play in the story. It should be noted Wilkins is a banker, and the Banks children are said to have lost their joyfulness since Mary Poppins' last visit. It stands to reason Wilkins could be partially responsible. Or, then again Wilkins could have another role entirely...
An Avid Balloon Lover
Wilkins is a character who made a small appearance in the book Mary Poppins Comes Back. He is described as an elderly gentleman who was denied balloons as a child, and as a result, became a lover of balloons as an adult. He also gives a storybook to a statue that comes to life. It is entirely possible Firth will play the same small role in Mary Poppins Returns as his book counterpart played in the literary sequel. But, given Firth's talents, it seems just as likely Wilkins' balloon love could be part of a larger picture.
The Evil Banker
Given the movie's Depression-era setting and the Banks kids' unhappiness, the family could be experiencing money issues. Michael and Jane's father was a banker in the original film and his job kept him away from his kids. This sets a precedent for bankers to be the bad guys in the Mary Poppins world — of course, Mary Poppins can fix anything, so perhaps she can turn Wilkins' attitude around with a balloon.
An Old Friend Of George's
George Banks was a banker once upon a time, and Firth is about the right age to play a friend of the Banks children's father. As the head of a bank himself, Wilkins could end up hiring Michael and setting him on the same path his father tread as an overworked, joyless employee of a London bank. Maybe it is Michael forgetting the lessons his magical nanny taught his father that brings Mary Poppins back into his life, and into the lives of his children.
Jane's Love Interest
Not much has been revealed about adult Jane just yet. She does not appear to have children of her own, and there is no word on her being married. If anything, it sounds like she may be helping Michael raise his children. With all this in mind, it is not much of a stretch to imagine her falling for a balloon-loving banker, even if he is older than her.
Villain, romantic hero, odd man who shares books with statues — whoever Wilkins is he is sure to be a fan favorite with Firth playing him.
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