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Warner Bros. recently made a strategic decision to push Joe Wright’s Peter Pan origin story, Pan, out of this year’s summer season and back to October 9, where it would have room to breathe, and properly prepare audiences for the journey. Based on the new trailer, though, the move also suggests that Wright needed time to polish his visuals, because this trailer looks more stunning than the previous pass.
When you are creating Neverland from scratch, though, you are going to need every minute in post-production that the studio will allow, so I’m really hoping the Pan move leads to an improved movie-going experience. As we have mentioned in previous articles, Pan will be a new take on the early days of Peter (played by newcomer Levi Miller), starting in a London orphanage and following him on his journey to Neverland, where he’s hoping to reunite with his mother (Amanda Seyfried)… and fulfill a prophecy of a young savior with the ability to fly.
But before he can become Pan, Peter looks like he’s going to have to go through Blackbeard, portrayed here by a scenery-chomping Hugh Jackman. Because Joe Wright is using the original text of author J.M. Barrie as a guide – and NOT the Disney animated feature we all grew up on – we see completely different versions of the classic characters we know and love. While many may come to Pan expecting to see Captain Hook (Garrett Hedlund), the chief nemesis in Wright’s tale is Blackbeard, the pirate. And Hook’s around… but he’s a human adventurer who starts off as an ally of Peter’s. Will he stay that way for long?
This new trailer for Pan also turns up the action that Joe Wright promised us when we visited the film’s London set last year. The production has been keeping a lid on the impact that Rooney Mara’s Tiger Lily will have on this story. From a lot of what we have been told about Pan, Mara will be the breakout action star of the family-friendly fantasy, and this great shot of her battling Blackbeard on the masts of captured pirate ships hints at the large-scale set pieces Wright has cooked up for this feature.
The big question might be how open audiences are going to be to the tweaks and alterations Joe Wright brings to the traditional Peter Pan story. I have been told that there will be loose connections to Wendy, Nana and the Pan characters we’ve grown to love. But Pan looks like it wants to take everything that you know about the Peter Pan fairy tale, and filter it through Joe Wright’s imagination. And that’s more than enough to get me in a theater in October. How about you?