Everyone always wants to talk about Hook or Pan. Everyone always wants to debate which one is good and which is evil - who we’re supposed to follow and who we aren’t. The Peter Pan mythos has pretty much shrunk down to nothing but Hook and Pan (Hook, SyFy’s Neverland, Pan, OUAT, etc). Occasionally Tinkerbell factors in (Hook, Disney’s Tinkerbell, OUAT, etc). There’s one character, however, that always gets sidelined - which is puzzling since they are the main character of both the play and the book. That character is, of course, Wendy Darling.
Peter Pan is Wendy’s coming of age story. Wendy who decides to run away from home. Wendy who realizes that she must grow up - and that there’s no shame in that. Wendy who sees Peter as deficient and sees Hook as empty and decides that, no, she doesn’t want to be a part of that. Wendy gets the adventure she’s always wanted and she turns away because she realizes that it’s lacking. She’s the only one who truly sees the hollowness of being young forever. Barrie even says “You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than other girls.”
People always debate on who the hero is. When they learn that Peter could be horrid they assume it has to be Hook. Of course, the answer is that neither of them are the hero. Wendy is the hero of the story. You’re not supposed to be like Peter, who kept every good and bad aspects of being a child and can’t tell right from wrong. You’re not supposed to be Hook, either. He let go of everything childish and loving about him and became bitter and evil. They’re both the extreme ends of the scale. You’re supposed to fall in the middle, to hold onto the things about childhood that make it beautiful - the wonder, the imagination, the innocence - while still growing up and learning morality and responsibility. You’re not supposed to be Hook. You’re not supposed to be Peter Pan.
forever pissed off over how even in the land of eternal childhood, wendy darling(a thirteen year old girl!) was expected to grow up and be a mother to a bunch of boys while her brothers got to remain children
“I started out doing the voice and then the animators wanted me to do the live action as well because that was the reference work for the artists to be able to see the way the human figure was moving. So we would record first and then go to the soundstage and it would be filmed but basically just for the animators. Their seeing my movement and the way that I interpreted the character, they would look at that and then that gave them the help that they needed to draw the character.”
– Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Wendy in Disney’s Peter Pan