5 differences between Peter Pan & Wendy 2023 and Peter Pan 1953

captain hook in peter pan and wendyDisney+

70 years after the original, Peter Pan is back at Disney in live-action form. But how do the films differ?

Peter Pan & Wendy is the newest live-action film set to drop on the streaming service Disney+, though it’s a slight deviation, rather than a shot-for-shot adaptation of the original animated Peter Pan film.

The official plot of Peter Pan & Wendy is as follows: “Wendy Darling, a young girl looking to avoid boarding school, meets Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up. Wendy, her brothers, and Tinker Bell travel with Peter to the magical world of Neverland, where she encounters an evil pirate captain.”

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As we’ve explained in a previous article, Peter Pan & Wendy is based both on the original book at the animated 1953 Disney classic. But as stated above, this film deviates a bit from its source material. So what are some of the notable differences between the animated and the live-action movie, despite visual? Well, read on, and we’ll explain. But first: spoiler warning for both Peter Pan films!

1. No one is crushing on Peter

peter pan and wendy flyingDisney+

While Peter was the object of affections from Wendy, Tiger Lily, and Tinkerbell in the animated film, here it is not the case. While all of the girls clearly care a lot about Peter, their feelings seem much more platonic and familial. Tiger Lily literally refers to him as her “Brother,” and she’s clearly older than him, making any romantic feelings very unlikely.

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Tinkerbell is quite possessive and jealous over him in the animated film, but not so much in the live-action. Again, she cares about Peter, but is fine with him forming a bond with Wendy, even thanking Wendy for helping at the end of the movie.

Wendy gives Peter a “kiss” but by this we mean she gives him a thimble and states that that’s what a kiss is. Peter then gives her a thimble in turn, so if anything were to be close to a romantic relationship, it would be this pair, however they seem much more platonic than they do in the animated film.

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2. The girls get more action – and more respect

tiger lily in peter pan and wendyDisney+

One aspect of the film that has drawn a frankly ridiculous amount of pushback is the way that the tale is updated for modern audiences. Back in the 1950s, gender roles were much more conformed to in general society, and in movies. Meaning that the female characters were depicted as either overly maternal and romantic in Wendy’s case, or overly jealous in Tinkerbell’s case.

Thankfully, these aspects of the characters are significantly lessened in Peter Pan & Wendy, and Wendy is much more active as a character. Not only that, but there are also multiple action-ready female Lost Boys.

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On top of this, the characters were also updated with people of color in mind. Tinkerbell is played by Yara Shahidi, a Black actor, and Tiger Lily is played by Alyssa Wapanatâhk, a Cree First Nations actor, who stated in a recent interview: “When I first read that script, I could see the change [in Native depiction]. Once I was actually working with production, I noticed it even more, and it got better and better.”

3. Peter Pan is almost framed as the bad guy

peter pan and wendyDisney+

One great update about this new movie is that it morally takes Peter Pan to task. It never goes into the full “Peter was the villain all along” route as some theories like to suggest, but it shows how his determination to keep everyone young forever has actually hurt the people around him.

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Wendy and the Lost Boys are clearly missing their homes and mothers, and Peter is stubborn in his rejection of this, refusing to let anyone leave and grow up. He’s also framed as arrogant, ignoring anyone’s help in his need to appear as the hero.

But thankfully by the movie’s end, despite not being ready to grow up, he learns his lesson, admits to being too stubborn and arrogant, and relents his influence over the group. Not only that, he also tries his best to make up with Captain Hook, which we’ll explain more about down below.

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4. Captain Hook gets a backstory, and a happy ending

captain hook in peter pan and wendyDisney+

Hook gets far more backstory that is given in the animated movie, making him more of a tragic fgure rather than a comedic one.

During the film, it is revealed that he and Peter actually used to be best friends, and were the first kids on Neverland. Hook’s real name is James, and he was later banished by Peter after admitting that he missed his mother. Hook attempted to sail away from Neverland but got lost at sea, and was taken in by Smee and the other pirates, which caused him to “grow up wrong.”

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As the film builds into an action filled climax, Peter attempts to end their fighting, showing remorse over what transpired in the past. And while Hook loses the battle – which we explain more about here – he isn’t chased off by a ticking crocodile, like in the 1953 film. Instead, while Hook is stranded at sea, Peter returns to save him, and it seems like the two may begin to rekindle their friendship, giving the villain a surprisingly happy ending.

5. The Lost Boys grow up

Still from Peter Pan & WendyDisney+

As previously stated, Peter’s outlook on life and growing up is challenged throughout the film, including by the Lost Boys. While they are loyal to him, they admit to Wendy that they miss having a mother, and they wonder what it’s like to grow up.

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The movie mainly focuses on Wendy’s internal journey from being afraid of becoming an adult to actually looking forward to her grown up life. But the Lost Boys are a by-product of this arc, as when Peter drops the Darling children off back home, he also drops off all the Lost Boys.

The film ends with a befuddled Mr and Mrs Darling wondering what to do with all these new children, and they all wave Peter off as he flies back to Neverland, now the only child who may never grow up.

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Peter Pan & Wendy is now available to stream on Disney+. Read more about the film below:

Is Peter Pan & Wendy based on a book? | When and where can I watch Peter Pan & Wendy? | Peter Pan & Wendy: Live action cast & characters | Does Peter Pan & Wendy have a post-credits scene? | Does Peter grow up in Peter Pan & Wendy? Disney live-action ending, explained

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