10 Wild Mary Poppins Fan Theories

Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

It took more than 50 years, but this week, Mary Poppins will finally get a sequel. Mary Poppins Returns promises to re-immerse families in the colorful, musical world of the world’s best nanny. There will be more dancing, more singing, and more animated penguins. But will it answer the longstanding questions about what Mary is and why she can fly?

Fans have been speculating about the source of Mary’s abilities, her relationship with Bert, and the identity of Andrew the dog for decades—and they’ve produced some truly inspired conspiracy theories along the way. Here are 10 theories that are either just wild enough to work, or just plain wild.

1. MARY POPPINS STUDIED AT HOGWARTS.

What explains Mary’s bottomless carpet bag? Or her ability to fly with an umbrella? It can only be magic, and where do people learn how to cast spells? At the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, of course. Multiple Reddit threads contend that Mary Poppins was a student there—either a Hufflepuff or a Ravenclaw—around the same time as Albus Dumbledore. From there, she studied Muggles in the field, posing as a nanny to learn more and identify gifted children. As for evidence supporting this claim, many of Mary’s enchanted accessories appear in the Harry Potter universe, from her bag (similar to Hermione’s in Deathly Hallows) to her magical mirror (Mirror of Erised, anyone?).

2. SHE’S A TIME LORD.

Another popular fan theory maintains that Mary Poppins is a Time Lord from Doctor Who, and Bert is her former companion. There’s her carpet bag, which is bigger on the inside. Then there’s her umbrella, which Redditors argue is an “amalgamation of her TARDIS and sonic screwdriver.” Mary feels compelled to help people but disappears when the job is done, barely saying goodbye.

3. SHE WAS BERT’S NANNY.

In “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” Bert sings that he was “afraid to speak” as a child, until he heard the nonsensical word that changed everything. But where did he learn “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”? Some fans suggest that Mary taught it to him when he was young—because she was his nanny. Bert is weirdly comfortable with her magic, and finds joy in the dullest jobs, just as Mary teaches the children to find the fun in chores. On top of all that, the dancing penguins seem incredibly familiar with Bert, perhaps because he has been visiting their universe for decades. The jury may be out on this one, but Emily Blunt buys it.

4. BERT AND MARY WERE MARRIED.

Alright, maybe she wasn’t Bert’s nanny. But could Mary Poppins have been Bert's wife? The theory goes that Bert and Mary were happily married, and desperately wanted children. Only Mary had trouble conceiving. Then she got sick. Bert picked up more and more odd jobs to pay her medical bills, but Mary passed away. She later returned as some kind of otherworldly being, working as a nanny to experience the motherhood she missed out on in life. But she eventually realized she’s not Jane or Michael’s mother and decided to move on, giving Bert some closure before she left for good.

5. EVERYONE IS ON DRUGS.

Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins (1964)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Mary Poppins might seem bright and cheery, but one theory insists it’s actually a metaphor for drug addiction. Cracked has a whole five-point case, starting with Mary’s frequent pleas for time off and checkered work history. (Bert has an even harder time keeping a job.) She’s also prone to mood swings and spends a whole day in a two-dimensional world full of cartoons. Oh, and what’s the deal with Uncle Albert?

6. BERT IS RELATED TO MR. BANKS’S BOSS.

Dick Van Dyke is the only actor in Mary Poppins with dual onscreen roles. In addition to Bert, he plays the wizened Mr. Dawes, Sr., who runs the bank where Mr. Banks works. Fans on Reddit claim this is no coincidence. The elder Mr. Dawes is supposed to look like Bert, because he’s his father. (Or maybe his grandfather?) Among other things, it would explain why Bert’s Cockney accent is so bad. That’s not how he talks—that’s just a rich kid putting on an act.

7. MARY IS A GREEK GODDESS.

Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins (1964)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Did Mary descend from Mount Olympus? Multiple theories suggest she’s Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth, on a mission to bring peace back to the Banks's home. It would explain her magical powers, as well as her vanity in the presence of mere mortals.

8. MARY IS ACTUALLY JUST GOD.

This theory rests entirely on the comic book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which features a mysterious cloaked figure in its third volume. She emerges from the sky, carries a bag and umbrella, and speaks of her “concern for children.” But most importantly: she’s the only being powerful enough to take down an Antichrist. Here, Mary Poppins is a manifestation of God, a fact she underlines by mentioning her appearance on “every page” of the Bible.

9. Mary is an evil witch intent on killing the kids.

Not all witches are nice. Some Redditors believe that Mary is the mean kind of witch, one that torments kids for kicks—or sedates them with a “spoonful of sugar” so she can chop them up for potion ingredients.

10. ANDREW THE DOG IS MAUI from moana.

Before Mary Poppins even arrives, at least a dozen nannies respond to Mr. Banks’s advertisement. But a mysterious gust of wind blows them all away—and one Disney theorist claims a Moana character is responsible. That’s right: Maui, demigod of the wind and sea, orchestrated the whole thing so Mary would get the job. But where was he in the scene? Since Maui is a shapeshifter, the theory goes, he took the form of the Banks's family dog Andrew, who remains firmly on the ground as the wind picks up.

Matt LeBlanc Says "Weird Things" Happened at the Peak of Friends's Popularity

Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Getty Images

Even though it went off the air in 2004, Friends continues find new generations of fans—so much so that there's even an unscripted reunion special in the works. With all the love surrounding the show, one can only imagine that the actors who played the six main characters have experienced the effects of its popularity—both good and bad.

As reported by Digital Spy, Matt LeBlanc, who played Joey Tribbiani, spoke during a pre-recorded interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show about "weird things" that happened while he was filming Friends. When pressed to give an example, LeBlanc recalled a time he saw his house, along with the homes of the five other cast members, on the news—while he was home.

"I remember one time, it was during the week, I had been flipping channels and watching the news and for some reason, they had a split-screen on the TV, six quadrants," he told Clarkson. "Each was a live shot of each one of our houses, like a helicopter shot. I was watching it and there was no information or news, it was just showing [our] houses."

Even though the actor found the situation bizarre, there was a very practical silver lining. “I remember looking closely at my house and thinking, 'F**k I need a new roof.' So the helicopter flies away and I get the ladder and I go up there,” LeBlanc added.

[h/t Digital Spy]

7 Timeless Facts About Paul Rudd

Rich Fury, Getty Images
Rich Fury, Getty Images

Younger fans may know Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, one of the newest members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the actor has been a Hollywood mainstay for half his life.

Rudd's breakout role came in 1995’s Clueless, where he played Josh, Alicia Silverstone's charming love interest in Amy Heckerling's beloved spin on Jane Austen's Emma. In the 2000s, Rudd became better known for his comedic work when he starred in movies like Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Anchorman (2004), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Knocked Up (2007), and I Love You, Man (2009).

It wasn’t until 2015 that Rudd stepped into the ever-growing world of superhero movies when he was cast as Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, and became part of the MCU.

Rudd has proven he can take on any part, serious or goofy. More amazingly, he never seems to age. But in honor of (what is allegedly) his 51st birthday on April 6, here are some things you might not have known about the star.

1. Paul Rudd is technically Paul Rudnitzky.

Though Paul Rudd was born in Passaic, New Jersey, both of his parents hail from London—his father was from Edgware and his mother from Surbiton. Both of his parents were descendants of Jewish immigrants who moved to England from from Russia and Poland. Rudd’s last name was actually Rudnitzky, but it was changed by his grandfather.

2. Paul Rudd's parents are second cousins.

In a 2017 episode of Finding Your Roots, Rudd learned that his parents were actually second cousins. Rudd responded to the discovery in typical comedic fashion: "Which explains why I have six nipples." He also wondered what that meant for his own family. "Does this make my son also my uncle?," he asked.

3. Paul Rudd loved comic books as a kid.

While Rudd did read Marvel Comics as a kid, he preferred Archie Comics and other funny stories. His English cousins would send him British comics, too, like Beano and Dandy, which he loved.

4. Paul Rudd wanted to play Christian in Clueless. And Murray.

Clueless would have been a completely different movie if Rudd had been cast as the suave Christian instead of the cute older step-brother-turned-love-interest Josh. But before he was cast as Cher’s beau, he initially wanted the role of the “ringa ding kid” Christian.

"I thought Justin Walker’s character, Christian, was a really good part," Rudd told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. "It was a cool idea, something I’d never seen in a movie before—the cool gay kid. And then I asked to read for Donald Faison's part, because I thought he was kind of a funny hip-hop wannabe. I didn’t realize that the character was African-American.”

5. Paul Rudd idolizes Paul Newman.

In a 2008 interview for Role Models, which he both co-wrote and starred in, Rudd was asked about his real-life role model. He answered Paul Newman, saying he admired the legendary actor because he gave a lot to the world before leaving it.

6. Before Paul Rudd was Ant-Man, he wanted to be Adam Ant.

In a 2011 interview with Grantland, Rudd talked about his teenage obsession with '80s English rocker Adam Ant. "Puberty hit me like a Mack truck, and my hair went from straight to curly overnight," Rudd explained. "But it was an easier pill to swallow because Adam Ant had curly hair. I used to ask my mom to try and shave my head on the sides to give me a receding hairline because Adam Ant had one. I didn’t know what a receding hairline was. I just thought he looked cool. She said, 'Absolutely not,' but I was used to that."

Ant wasn't the only musician Rudd tried to emulate. "[My mom] also shot me down when I asked if I could bleach just the top of my head like Howard Jones. Any other kid would’ve been like, 'F*** you, mom! I’m bleaching my hair.' I was too nice," he said.

7. Romeo + Juliet wasn’t Paul Rudd's first go as a Shakespearean actor.

Yet another one of Rudd's iconic '90s roles was in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, but it was far from the actor's first brush with Shakespeare. Rudd spent three years studying Jacobean theater in Oxford, England, and starred in a production of Twelfth Night. He was described by his director, Sir Nicholas Hytner, as having “emotional and intellectual volatility.” Hytner’s praise was a big deal, considering he was the director of London's National Theatre from 2003 until 2015.

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