Look, I've been there. You've rewatched your favorite kids movie, and now you're wondering why Julie Andrews won't be in Mary Poppins Returns. I mean, what sort of world are we living in where this is happening? She was a goddess in the original 1964 movie. She is basically inextricable from the role itself. But I suggest you take a few deep breaths and simmer down a little, because there's actually a really good reason for her absence.
Happily for fans, according to Entertainment Weekly, director Rob Marshall has stayed friends with the star ever since they worked together on Broadway's 1995 Victor/Victoria. So, apparently he mentioned the possibility of a sequel to Andrews at a Christmas party a few years ago. According to Marshall's EW interview,
"She had known it was in the works, then we said, ‘We’re doing it,’ and she said, ‘Oh, thank God,' ... Then we said, ‘And we’re thinking of Emily Blunt,’ and she just threw her hands up in the air and said yes. I think a lot of people feel that way about Emily’s work."
Heave a sigh of relief. It sounds like Blunt, who is assuming the role Andrews once took, has the endorsement of the original Mary Poppins herself.
But wait, that doesn't actually explain why Andrews wouldn't co-star, does it? After all, if she really thought Blunt was so talented, surely she'd be happy to star alongside her. However, Marshall continued, "Emily is the perfect person to carry the torch, and I know Julie feels the exact same way. She loves her." As Entertainment Weekly's story clarified, "Andrews decided not to appear in the sequel out of respect to Blunt." On one hand, this is a bitter pill to swallow, given that Dick Van Dyke (who played both the chimney sweep Bert and Mr. Dawes Senior in the film) will be appearing, though not as Bert.
But if you're a true fan, you'll respect the original Mary Poppins' endorsement. Andrews seems to bring a measured consideration to everything she does, and I'm sure she wouldn't have refused the chance to be in the film lightly. She was one of the greatest actors of the '60s, and if she thinks that Blunt will be incredible in the role and doesn't want to steal her thunder, we just have to accept that.
Sure, I watched and rewatched the original movie every sick day as a child, and I have an enormous amount of nostalgia regarding Andrews in the role. But the joy of the remake should be the new blood it brings to beloved roles. And if Mary Poppins herself thinks that The Girl On The Train actor is a godsend for the film, then the least you can do is give her a chance.