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Here's why Julie Andrews isn't in Mary Poppins Returns

Julie Andrews doesn't want to steal Emily Blunt's thunder in Mary Poppins Returns. Director Rob Marshall revealed in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly why the original Mary Poppins won't appear in the upcoming sequel, and talked about what she thinks about Blunt taking over her signature part.

Mary Poppins Returns is set in 1930s Depression-era London, where Michael and Jane, the children from the original movie, are all grown up. After Michael (Ben Whishaw) unexpectedly loses his wife, he falls into a deep depression, eventually putting his once-happy home on the brink of foreclosure. He has to once again call on Mary Poppins for help. Alongside the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Mary Poppins must use her magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Their adventures lead them to the top of Big Ben, the bottom of the ocean, and, of course, to encounters with animated dancing penguins.

The sequel is set to premiere on Christmas Day of 2018, more than 50 years after the first film, which earned Andrews an Oscar, hit theaters. According to Marshall, he told Andrews, who he has been friends with since choreographing her Broadway show Victor/Victoria in 1995, about the film at a Christmas party. The actress was apparently relieved that Marshall and his producing partner John DeLuca were the ones at the helm, and she got even more enthusiastic when she found out that they were thinking of Blunt for the title role. "She just threw her hands up in the air and said yes," he said. "I think a lot of people feel that way about Emily's work."

"Julie will always be, for me and for everybody, the most astonishing performance as Mary Poppins, winning the Oscar and bursting onto the scene so brilliantly," he added, also noting that Andrews is "one thousand percent" behind the film. "But Emily is the perfect person to carry the torch, and I know Julie feels the exact same way. She loves her." This fits with Andrews' previous praising of Blunt, in which she called her "a perfect pick." 

Andrews apparently has so much respect for Blunt that she decided not to make a cameo so that Blunt would get the chance to be at the center throughout the movie. "Julie was incredibly gracious, and we talked about it in a very general way but she made it clear right up front," Marshall said. "She said, 'This is Emily's show, and I really want it to be Emily's show. I don't want it to be, 'Oh, here comes that Mary Poppins.' I don't want that. I really want her to take this and run with it, because she will be brilliant.'"

While we wait for the Andrews-less Mary Poppins Returns to premiere, read up on some other upcoming sequels you didn't know were being made.