[This story contains spoilers from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.]
The songs of ABBA will once again fill movie theaters with the release of Universal’s sequel to its 2008 summer blockbuster, Mamma Mia!
Plans for the film were revealed in May 2017, with much of the original cast attached to the project. Over the last year, a group of newcomers, led by actress Lily James and Cher, signed on to portray characters of Kalokairi’s present and past.
The film picks up with Sophie Sheridan (Seyfried), last seen as a bride-to-be, pregnant and single just as her mother, Donna (Streep), was years earlier. To comfort Sophie, Donna’s friends and former bandmates, Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) share stories of Donna in her adventurous youth, which unfold onscreen with the new cast playing the younger versions of the musical’s established stars.
Judy Craymer and Gary Goetzman return as producers alongside director Ol Parker, who also penned the script. The first film’s helmer, Phyllida Lloyd, serves as executive producer with Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Richard Curtis and Nicky Kentish Barnes.
The majority of the film’s soundtrack comes from the original hits of ABBA, the Swedish pop group whose music served as the basis for the first film and original Broadway musical. It was confirmed that Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, the composers and founding members of ABBA, have penned original songs and lyrics for the sequel and act as executive producers.
There’s still time to watch (or rewatch) the original film on Netflix before Universal and Legendary release the sequel on July 20, but here’s everything you need to know before stepping into the theater.
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN CHEAT SHEET:
It’s clear from the trailers that most of the film’s original cast has returned to guide present-day Sophie, bringing together the group of acclaimed actors once again.
Christine Baranski plays Tanya Chesham-Leigh, one of Donna’s friends and former bandmates, now a rich three-time divorcee.
Julie Walters plays Rosie Mulligan, one of Donna’s friends and former bandmates, now an unmarried, fun-loving author.
Pierce Brosnan plays Sam Carmichael, now married to Donna and Sophie’s stepfather, possibly her father.
Colin Firth plays Harry Bright, also Sophie’s possible father and a British banker.
Stellan Skarsgard plays Bill Anderson, one of Sophie’s possible fathers, a Swedish sailor and travel writer.
Dominic Cooper plays Sky, Sophie’s fiancé in the first film, although their relationship status in the second film is unclear.
As the returning characters offer Sophie comfort and advice, the pic jumps back in time to show how Donna came to live on the Greek island and meet Sophie’s three possible fathers, played by the movie’s newcomers.
Lily James plays young Donna Sheridan. The actress joined the film in July 2017, as she was in theaters in Baby Driver. James previously starred in 2015’s Cinderella, in which she demonstrated her singing ability by crooning “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” Of the tracks released so far, James can be heard on “When I Kissed the Teacher” and “Waterloo,” but as the frontwoman of Donna and the Dynamos, audiences can expect to hear James leading plenty of ABBA’s most popular songs.