Steven Spielberg’s Hook inspired Peter, the first book in my Legend of the Pan series, by inciting a powerful question that led to 13 years of constant drafting and writing of my largest, most ambitious serious to date retelling Peter Pan for adults.
Sparking a Question
In 2008, I was watching Rufio’s key scene involving Pan’s sword and his growing jealousy of Peter’s growing support among the other lost boys, when something that had bothered me for years finally coalesced into a clear thought. While Peter gained the lost boys’ praise, Rufio raised the golden sword in a fit of jealosy and declared, “I’ve got Pan’s sword. I’m the Pan now!”
Though not the first time I had heard the line nor the first time it tickled my curiosity, the idea struck me that day: What if the Pan wasn’t merely a person, but a position? Positions come with power — such as that which allowed Peter to fly, avoid aging, crow like a rooster and more — but it would also entail responsibilities. If the Pan were a singular figure, would his power draw ire, jealousy and treachery? If the Pan meant more than a mere captain of lost boys, how far could it go?
Though crude at the beginning, this idea planted deeply. I had seen this movie countless times, and am sure the scene tickled my curiosity many times before, but the soil of my creativity was finally ripe for the idea to take root, an event that culminated in the greatest creative project of my life.
The First Result
Fast forward nearly 13 years and thousands, if not tens of thousands of hours later, and the Legend of the Pan series is finally releasing to the public first with Book 2, the beginning of Peter’s arc of the three-arc saga.
Rufio’s simple words unleashed a firestorm of ideas, counter ideas, questions and inspiration. Basco’s performance brought to life this young teen’s desire to stand out, have a place, maintain his position of value and finally express the vulnerability of all children in need of fathers — all themes which ultimately wove their way into the LOTP saga.
This story is still in progress and will remain so for another 20 years, easily, as I finish the primary series and general anthology stories telling side tales about the mermaids, Krys Kringul, dwarves on the warpath and so much more.
Why Peter Pan
My own journey is often absent fatherhood, and is probably a driving force behind how I connect with Peter, who throughout this series is looking either for or to live up to his father. Barrie’s original Pan stories often centered around fathers, with the actor playing Wendy’s father, George, often doubling as Captain Hook.
I also love the idea of flying like a bird. It was always my favorite superpower. The ability to lift into the air and soar anywhere I wanted was always attractive to me, whether because I faced difficulties in my youth or simply wanted the freedom, I don’t know if I’ll ever find out in this life.
Hook Inspired Peter and Me
All it takes to inspire a great story is a simple question and, in its search, the others that follow. Following that one idea has brought incalculable joy to my life through the pursuit and production of purpose. I still love watching the original Hook
If you haven’t seen it in awhile, I recommend getting a copy of Disney’s Hook and giving it a watch. It makes me miss the mastery of Robin Williams and the whimsy of Spielberg’s 90s, but ultimately I find it a fun story with fantastic actors submitting to a fantasy I’d wager most of us have pondered at least once or twice.
I do marvel, though, that such a fun family tale and such a simple scene could inspire this seven book epic. Hook inspired Peter and all the other books that sprung from it. I watch Hook probably once a year, at least, and each time remember the day it inspired so much more!