Finally, the boy who wouldn’t grow up gets an origin story in the new movie Pan. But don’t expect the Disney version. This film is an inventive take on an old story and we found it totally unexpected, if not sometimes a little bizarre, but we’re always happy to be surprised at the cinema.
1. Blackbeard the pirate
We thought for sure Hugh Jackman was playing the dastardly Captain Hook, but nope, he’s the pirate we know as Blackbeard. The idea to add him to the story came when the screenwriter, Jason Fuchs, reread the original story by J.M. Barrie and noticed a line that said Captain Hook trained under Blackbeard.
2. The story is set in World War 2
The stage play, Peter Pan, first premiered in 1904 and was set in the same year. Pan is set in England during World War 2, as the city of London is under attack by German air raids. Though there are no Nazi characters in the film, the bombing does create more of a reason to want to retreat to a fantasy world.
3. Neverland is a giant mine
Forget the magical place we’ve come to know as Neverland, or even Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. This version is one giant mine where indentured servants all mine for a substance called pixum, which is hardened, petrified pixie dust that gives Blackbeard a very unique magical power.
4. Hook and Peter are friends
Because this movie takes place before the story we all know, we meet a young Hook, pre-accident with a crocodile, so both his hands are intact. The other surprising thing is that he’s American. Actor Garrett Hedlund channeled his inner Indiana Jones.
5. Songs from Nirvana and the Ramones
As Peter arrives in Neverland, he meets Blackbeard and all the other miners. They sing a dark version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
They also sing “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones. Clearly, this song was added to entertain the parents.
These crazy winged creatures have nothing on mockingjays! They are 12-foot-tall predators that resemble a rainbow-feathered pterodactyl and were inspired by the original novel.
7. Tiger Lily is not Native American
In the original story by Barrie and in the Disney version, Tiger Lily is part of a Native American tribe. In Pan, she’s played by Rooney Mara and has almost an East Asian style to her, but is a native of Neverland. Though the filmmakers initially took some heat for casting a caucasian Tiger Lily, after watching the film, it’s clear they were trying to totally reinvent the character.
8. Tiger Lily and Hook have sexual tension
Hook is immediately attracted to the beautiful and fierce Tiger Lily. Though they are adversaries in this film, there could be a potential romance between them if there’s a sequel.
The inhabitants of Neverland have long told a legend about a boy who will usurp the cruel leader Blackbeard. Tiger Lily and others believe Peter Pan is the boy to fulfill the prophecy.
10. 3 Identical mermaids
Cara Delevingne plays all three mermaids encountered by Peter. Director Joe Wright had worked with Delevingne on the film Anna Karenina and said, “I called her up and asked her if she’d like to come be a mermaid. But rather than casting three different actresses, I thought Cara could just be all three.”