Emma Thompson’s new movie The Lost Girls paints Peter Pan as the villain he’s always been
Too long we’ve lived under Disney’s spell of believing that Peter Pan is the brave, heroic, kind leader of Neverland. Country singer Kelsea Ballerini knew that Pan was just a fuccboi, and it seems like Hollywood agrees. A new movie starring icons Emma Thompson and Ellen Burstyn will follow generations of the Darling family as the women try to escape the clutches of the pirate-fighting man-child.
According to Deadline, The Lost Girls movie is based on a 2003 book by Laurie Fox, and it, of course, hearkens back to J.M. Barrie’s fantasy tales in Neverland. Instead of Pan as the hero, it centers on the women of Wendy Darling’s lineage.
“The Lost Girls will chronicle four generations of Darling women as they struggle in the aftermath of their adventures with Peter Pan in Neverland,” reports Deadline.
And…well, it gets creepier.
"The film will follow how Wendy struggles to retain her creative spirit after her fantastical journeys with Pan," Deadline continues. "Like her grandmother and her mother Jane, Wendy must escape Pan’s hold on her and the promises he desperately wants her to keep. As her daughter Berry comes into Peter’s orbit, Wendy must fight to save her relationship with her daughter while reconciling her legacy."
Livia De Paolis will adapt, direct, and star in the movie as Wendy Darling. Ellen Burstyn will play Wendy’s grandmother; Emma Thompson her mother, Jane; and Thompson’s own daughter Gaia Wise as Wendy’s daughter, Berry.
We knew there was something sinister about Peter Pan. And there’s context in the original Barrie stories for this villainous turn, too.
In the story, Peter comes back to find Wendy many years later and is angry that she has “betrayed” him by growing up. The only way he’s appeased is when Wendy’s daughter Jane (not to be confused with the character names in The Lost Girls movie) agrees to go to Neverland to act as his maternal figure. At the very end of a new scene Barrie wrote after he published his original work, called “When Wendy Grew Up. An Afterthought,” Peter Pan returns again to get Jane’s daughter, Margaret. And Barrie writes that the Darling family cycle will keep going as long as children are “gay and innocent and heartless.” Yikes.
Plus, it wasn’t just the Darling family he targeted. If any of the Lost Boys dared to grow up or confronted Peter in any way, the book says he’d “thin the herd.” (Um?)
Since then, author Fox has outed Peter Pan’s totally creepy behavior in her book that the new movie is based on. Once Upon a Time famously had an arc that had Pan as the ultimate villain, and the Disney hero has been a figurehead for men’s arrested development.
We’re so excited for a female-powered imagining of the classic tale. There’s no word yet on when The Lost Girls will start filming, but we’ll anxiously awaiting any news. Justice for the ladies, Wendy, Tiger Lily, and Tinker Bell!