‘Peter Pan And Wendy’ (2023) Ending, Explained: Do Peter Pan And Wendy Defeat Captain Hook?

Disney continues its streak of live-action adaptations of its most popular animated characters with Peter Pan and Wendy. We have already got Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Lion King, Maleficent and many more. Some of them were hits, and some of them weren’t. With more on their release slate and even more in development, it seems that it will do Disney good if they slow down. Pinocchio was a failure. Aladdin and Mulan were also harsh setbacks. Considering that these are all beloved characters that we would love to see on the big screen, Disney needs to be more careful before doing so and not spoil it for us. Peter Pan and Wendy is another not-so-convincing live-action take on the popular children’s character. Other than Jude Law’s rendition of Captain Hook, which is brilliant, the other characters fail to make an impression, especially Alexander Molony’s Peter Pan. However, the film does have inner meanings, much to the intended effect of the whole point of the story or any other children’s story in general. Let’s dive into it.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Peter Pan And Wendy’?

After Peter Pan hears Wendy Darling’s desire to not grow up, he brings her and her younger brothers, John and Michael, to Neverland, where no one grows up. Soon, they encounter the nefarious Captain Hook, who has been in a potentially eternal fight with Pan. But there’s more to Hook’s hatred for Pan than meets the eye. After Hook manages to seriously wound Pan and take all the Lost Boys, Wendy, and her brothers hostage, he tells Wendy how her lullaby reminded him of his mother. Does this information help Wendy free herself and the others? Does Pan survive? Peter Pan and Wendy has the answers.


The Real In The Unreal

You fill your head with happy thoughts, and you fly. This is what Peter Pan tells Wendy before they begin their journey to Neverland. Fill your head with happy thoughts, and you shall fly. How amusingly true Pan’s words are. We know that they basically mean that it is our happy thoughts that give us the feeling of elation. The feeling of joy that our memories bring us raises us above the pain and struggles that we are undergoing, even if for a handful of seconds. The journey from Earth to Neverland seems scary, but Wendy and her brothers love it. When we are young, we want to explore the unknown, but as we get older, we start fearing it. The look on their faces as they travel through a dark void is that of mirth.

Compare this with Cooper inside the black hole in “Interstellar.” It wouldn’t be wrong to think that he wondered if he was going to die, especially given the way he was reacting. But here, we have three children in a potential black hole that leads to another dimension, and all of them are at their happiest. It is the burden of knowledge that we have acquired that makes us fear not knowing. Imagine there being another world on the other side of the black hole. Would it make the black hole as scary as it seems? Not really. Rather, we would be bent upon traveling to the other side of it. Well, we can only hope that a day will come when we will find out what lies on the other side of a black hole. That would be a real tribute to J. M. Barrie, wouldn’t it?


Peter and Captain Hook are foes. But there’s more to why they are so. When Wendy asks Peter about this, he tells her that it has always been this way. This is, in fact, true. The battle between innocence and maturity is eternal, and nothing can change that. Peter is a carefree kid who is oblivious to the truths of life, whereas Captain Hook is a grown-up who has been through the journey of life. We can assume Pan to be the personification of innocence and Hook to be the personification of experience. It is only natural for the two to never really come together. So, the question of whether Wendy and Peter defeat Captain Hook doesn’t really stand here. It is about innocence and maturity, accepting each other, and realizing that neither can exist without the other. This is what happens at the end of the film.

‘Peter Pan And Wendy’ Ending Explained – Does Peter Leave Neverland And Come Back To Earth?

Captain Hook, AKA James, was Pan’s best friend once and was banished from Neverland by Pan because he missed his mother. Perhaps the reason for this was that Peter himself left Earth because he was scolded by his mother and didn’t want to go back to her [Peter tells Wendy]. James would only make him weak, so he had to let him go and not really banish him. But then the question is, “How did James return to Neverland then? The only way to arrive at Neverland is if someone wants to not grow up, right? So, the only explanation is that he was brought back much later in life by someone other than Pan, presumably Mr. Smee, after he complained about life and didn’t want to grow or be subjected to life itself [maybe after he lost his mother]. The same thing happened with James’ assistants too.


Peter ultimately apologizes to James for what he did to him, but James tells him that he doesn’t get to apologize. They are supposed to keep crossing their swords forever. This is true, as we have already stated earlier, about innocence and maturity and their eternal battle. James eventually falls into the sea, and Pan and the other children come back to Earth. However, Pan decides to return. This is when Wendy tries to convince him to stay, telling him that growing up is the biggest adventure of them all. She asks him to think about what the world is missing out if he isn’t in it.

As much as we would like to believe it, we know that we will end up saying that the world doesn’t care. It was there before you and will be there after you are long gone. Such things are only told to children to help them grow. Perhaps James realized it. He found pleasure in not having to experience the hardships of Earth in Neverland but was maybe angry at Peter for banishing him and thus forcing him to experience Earth’s hardships. Thus, James might have returned for revenge. Also, Peter may learn new things by staying back, but learning the ways of the world isn’t something he is equipped to do, right? In other words, Wendy is much more experienced than Pan. It has been a long time since he left Earth, and his return will most probably turn him into another Captain Hook because he is more vulnerable to Earth. Nevertheless, Pan returns to Neverland and saves James. Peter Pan and Wendy ends with Pan and James smiling at each other, proving that innocence and experience can coexist and not necessarily need to click swords.

Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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