“Mary Poppins” was the first film the director Rob Marshall saw as a boy, so when Disney approached him about directing a sequel, the prospect was exciting — and intimidating.
“It was daunting because the film means so much to me,” Marshall said in a recent interview. “But I felt, if anyone’s going to do a sequel, I would like it to be me, so I could protect the spirit of the first film. I asked myself what would I want to see in a sequel. I knew I‘d want an animation/live-action sequence: It’s in the DNA of ‘Mary Poppins.’ And I felt it was vital to hold on to the classic hand-drawn animation from the first film.”
Although Marshall has won many awards for direction and choreography for feature films and television specials, he had never worked in animation. He built a team under the leadership of the veteran Disney/Pixar writer Jim Capobianco.
Working with a small group of artists in the Bay Area, Capobianco prepared preliminary storyboards for the sequence.