If a British newspaper report is correct (and, oh, how we hope it is), Mary Poppins and Lord Voldemort will clash in a tense battle scene during Friday's Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics.
The Sunday Times reports (subscription only) that a sequence featuring some of the best-loved literary characters in British history will climax when a 40-foot Voldemort, the notorious villain from the Harry Potter books, rises out of a bed in the center of Olympic Stadium and scares away representations of Alice from "Alice in Wonderland," Captain Hook and Cruella De Vil. (Oliver Twist will presumably be waiting in a line at a concession stand.)
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Instead of being done in by Harry Potter, Voldemort will meet his match in a British nanny with an umbrella and a penchant for melody. According to the paper:
About 30 actors each depicting Mary Poppins, the magical English nanny played by Julie Andrews in the 1964 Disney film, will descend from the roof of the stadium on wires and "float" to the ground with their opened umbrellas. The nightmare will be banished and happiness restored. "It's a jaw-dropping sequence," said one source.
That source is spot on, because my jaw is dropped. The idea is so preposterous -- both because of its inherent cheesiness and in thorny rights issues about using characters from various media conglomerates -- that it almost has to be true. No one could make up anything this insane.
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You can close your eyes and picture how this will play out. Voldemort flashes the dark mark -- a hybrid Pepsi and Burger King logo -- over Olympic Stadium while Mary Poppins floats to the ground with a commemorative Olympic umbrella and reaches into her infinite-bottomed bag to pull out a man who cannot be killed by anyone except the dark lord. And after Keith Richards saves the day, director Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony moves on to the part where kids dressed as "Downton Abbey" characters extol the virtues of British inventions like the adhesive postage stamp and mass-produced screws.
Or if that's too much to picture, just imagine a massive train wreck. Same deal.
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