"If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow uppp, not me." Those timeless lyrics come from the Peter Pan stage show and it appears that the reigning king of Neverland is experiencing some sort of pop culture resurgence. NBC has an upcoming Peter Pan Live special that will be airing on the network in December. We've received our first trailer for Pan , the 2015 movie devoted to diving into the background of the immortal character. Even Once Upon a Time had a Neverland arc of their own in early Season 3 of the show. Believe me, I'm not complaining. Peter Pan has been my Disney boyfriend since I first saw the 1953 film and not much has changed on that front, even though I know all about his problematic aspects by now.
However, maybe you're not as much of a diehard Pan fan as I am. You don't want this much Peter Pan media out there. You just want to pick one and check that out, because one is more than enough for you. Should you watch Peter Pan Live because it's coming out first or should you wait for Pan because it's more interesting? This is the kind of tough decision you shouldn't make alone. Both Peter Pan Live and Pan have their good qualities that make them worth watching, so there's a lot to consider when making the choice of which one to be more excited about.
Peter Pan Live has music.
The biggest draw that Peter Pan Live can brag is that it's a musical. Not only that, but it's a musical that is going to have a bunch of new Peter Pan songs added to its soundtrack. I don't know about you, but "I Won't Grow Up" is still the anthem of my life and I'm 24 years old. Sure, some Pan fans might scream, "RUINED FOREVER," but not I. Is it December 4 yet?
Pan has Blackbeard.
Although the pirate never had a place in the original J. M. Barrie tale, Pan will uniquely have Blackbeard, played by Hugh Jackman, act as a precursor to Captain Hook in the story of the making of the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Pan's Blackbeard and Peter Pan Live's Hook look a lot alike, but Blackbeard is clearly the one that Hook grew to emulate. It will be awesome to see how that happened since, from the trailer, they appear to be on different sides at first.
Peter Pan Live has more Wendy Darling.
Is there anything more touching about Peter Pan than the relationship between Peter and Wendy Darling? He might have brought her to Neverland to be a mother to the Lost Boys — and to himself, despite what 'shipping might lead you to believe — but the love he felt for Wendy was true and humanizing. Depending on which adaptation you're reading. Seeing their relationship play out anew in the NBC special, especially with two ladies in the scene, excites me in too many ways to count.
Pan has more Tiger Lily.
However, if I have to be completely honest with you, my favorite character from Peter Pan after Tinker Bell was Tiger Lily. There are just none fiercer than the strong, silent warrior that was Tiger Lily of the Piccaninny tribe. Sadly, both Peter Pan Live and Pan have Caucasian actresses playing the Native American character, so one is not better than the other on that count. However, I at least appreciate Pan for allowing Tiger Lily the chance to show off the badassery she didn't get to display before.
Peter Pan Live is a new adaptation of an old story.
Every single interpretation of Peter Pan brings something new to the table and the same thing holds true when it comes to Peter Pan Live. How long has it been since we were watching a Peter Pan musical, let alone one that actually had a woman as Peter Pan? Too long, is the answer to that question.
Pan is a new prequel to an old story.
How did Peter Pan get to Neverland? Where did he collect these Lost Boys from? Why does everyone in Neverland love him and listen to him? Given how little we know about Peter's history, it's a wonder there aren't more films or television shows devoted to tracing his journey to becoming Pan. (You know, like Gotham, except for Peter Pan.)
Peter Pan Live has a female Peter Pan.
Yes, Allison Williams is playing a male character, but I still count Peter Pan Live as a female-led work. NBC could just as easily have cast a male actor in the male role rather than adhering to the tradition of having a woman do it, so they deserve kudos for that.
Pan has a baby Peter Pan.
LOOK AT HIS FAAAAAAAAAAAAACE! Cute. So cute. Oh my god, the cute. Shut up and take my money.
Peter Pan Live has an awesome Captain Hook.
Any pirate captain who makes an entrance being carried on a throne by his crew is officially the most awesome pirate captain in all the land. Walking is for poor people who don't spend most of their time trying to kill a prepubescent boy (who happens to be played in this instance by a 26 year old actress).
Pan has a sexy Captain Hook.
Since Pan is a prequel for Peter Pan, it also happens to be a prequel for Captain Hook. Which means he's younger and hotter than he's ever been before, being played by the lovely Garrett Hedlund. Considering this single trailer already has me wanting Hook and Tiger Lily to get together (did you see how he caught her in his arms? how did their relationship go so wrong?), I think Pan's Hook is awesome in a different way.
If you're a fan of Peter Pan, then it's impossible to choose between the two adaptations that are coming. If you're not an obsessive Pan fan, your choice is more simple. If you like musicals, you'll be more excited about Peter Pan Live. If you like fresh backstory, you'll be more excited about Pan. I still think the clear conclusion here, however, is to watch both, multiple times. The more Peter Pan, the better.
Image: YouTube (12)