SO Much Has Changed Between The First 'Mamma Mia!' & The Sequel

On July 20, the sequel to end all sequels comes out, which of course is Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Just that title alone is probably enough to get you to book your movie tickets in advance, but first, you might want to catch up on Mamma Mia!, which came out in 2008. Even though 10 years passed between the two movies' releases, how much time between the two Mamma Mia movies is there?

Mamma Mia! 2 actually is both a prequel and a sequel, so the sequel part takes place five years later than the point when the 2008 Mamma Mia! left off. In the sequel, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) lives on the Greek island where the first movie took place, working on re-opening the hotel that her mother, Donna (Meryl Streep) ran. Yet while much of the film's focus is on this, Mamma Mia! 2 also uses flashbacks of Donna's life to show the parallels between the mother and daughter when they were the same age.

The flashbacks go back to Donna (Lily James) after she graduated from school and fled to the Greek island in her early 20s. As you know from the first Mamma Mia!, Donna's past included many trysts with men, which was why Sophie had to invite three men to her wedding to find out who her father was. In Mamma Mia 2, you get to see all of those exciting — and sometimes heartbreaking — love affairs play out as young Donna meets Sam, Harry, and Bill.

At the end of Mamma Mia!, Sophie decided that she wants to just accept all three men as her dads, and Donna got back together with Sam (Pierce Brosnan). While Donna is absent from most of Mamma Mia! 2, audiences do see Sam, Harry (Colin Firth), and Bill (Stellan Skarsgård), as well as Donna's two best friends, played by Christine Baranski and Julie Walters. As familiar as each of those faces are for the sequel, one of the most important additions to the Mamma Mia universe is, of course, Cher, who plays Donna's mother, aka Sophie's grandmother.

In the trailer for the new movie, you see Cher's character appear by helicopter for a surprise visit to the Greek island. Based on Cher's tweets from fall of 2017, it seems like the iconic pop star was excited to join the cast in their sing-alongs to ABBA's greatest hits. In October, Cher tweeted "FERNANDO," which now appears to reference the ABBA song which Cher sings on the Mamma Mia 2 soundtrack. Just take a moment to let the fact that Cher sings ABBA songs in a movie in 2018 sink in, because it's a special, special occasion especially seeing as Cher hasn't even been in a movie since she last appeared on the big screen in 2010's Burlesque.

In an interview with the Australian talkshow This Morning, Brosnan promised fans of the first film that the sequel will be just as good — maybe even better. "There's much more meat on the bone of this one," Brosnan said, and it definitely helps if you imagine him saying that in his austere accent.

The fact that Mamma Mia! 2 is all about the story of a young woman who goes off on her own, living her life by her own rules, her is proof enough that the movie is pretty exciting enough. But having people like Cher now in the mix makes Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again an even more exciting movie — even if Streep isn't in the picture nearly as much as the actor's fans undoubtedly want.