Aquaman, the latest installment in the DC Extended Universe, just got a a royal profile boost. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, the movie has cast none other than Dame Julie Andrews for a secret role in Aquaman. The British icon (and former on-screen Queen of Genovia) will be voicing Karathen, an "undersea creature that holds the key to Arthur Curry’s quest to unite the Atlantean and surface worlds."
Unless you've seen the steamy 1979 R-rated romantic comedy 10, Andrews might not be your first guess for a beach or ocean-related anything. That said, producer Peter Safran told EW the decision was easy:
"We wanted the Karathen to have the voice of a classic British actress, albeit somewhat digitally altered, and when we found out Julie was interested and available and excited to do it, casting her was a no-brainer."
As for the character, Karathen doesn't seem to appear in DC comics. Savvy fans on Twitter think she may be the creature at the end of the latest trailer. If they're right, Karathen is maybe not the type of being you'd trust to take care of your kids, to put it lightly. Is this supposed to be like a Kraken? Scary!
Another related theory is that Karathen is the DCEU's version of Topo, a character that's kind of an octopus/squid/sea monster and looks pretty frightening (in some illustrations, at least), but is actually a friend and sometimes even a pet to Aquaman. In one version, actually, the character has an ear for music, so maybe that's why the producers went for Andrews.
Also, just to address the elephant in the room, this is not some kind of Mary Poppins Returns revenge move. Though both Aquaman and the Mary Poppins sequel — which stars Emily Blunt in Andrews' former role — come out in the same week, Andrews actually declined to appear in Mary Poppins Returns out of respect for Blunt. Still, it is a little ironic that Poppins wound up with this particular part. Both Aquaman and the DCEU are distributed by Warner Brothers, and one of the reasons that Andrews ended up with the role of Mary Poppins in the original film is because Warner Bros. co-founder Jack Warner did not cast her as Eliza Doolittle in the film adaptation of My Fair Lady. We know this because infamously, when she accepted the Golden Globe for Mary Poppins, Andrews cheekily thanked Warner for "making it all possible."
So it's all kind of come full circle. And not only that, but Andrews is definitely capable of breaking from the prim, proper, and sweet characters she tends to play on film to become the potentially villainous Karathen. Clearly, she has a knack for sass.
Keep that in mind when you go see Aquaman in December. Whether Karathen is a friend of foe, it will definitely be fun to hear Andrews take on this "key" role in the comic book flick. Maybe we'll get to hear a different side to her!