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Captain Hook

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Captain Hook, ill. by Greg Hildebrandt
Captain Hook, ill. by Greg Hildebrandt

Captain James Hook is the antagonist of J. M. Barrie's play Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up and its various adaptations. He is the villainous captain of the galleon Jolly Roger, where he commands a crew of pirates through guile and others' fear of him. He wears a big iron hook in place of one hand, which was cut off by Peter Pan and eaten by a crocodile. The crocodile liked the taste so much that he follows Hook around constantly, hoping for more. Luckily for Hook, the crocodile also swallowed a clock, so Hook can tell from the ticking sound when it is near. Hook has sworn revenge on Peter for this.

Barrie states in the novel that "Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze." Despite some speculation as to whom Barrie was referring, it seems likely that he was simply teasing, and had no historical figure in mind. Hinting at a resumé for the character, Barrie explains that "he was Blackbeard's boatswain, and that he was the only man Long John Silver ever feared". In the play, Hook's final words are "Floreat Etona", the motto of Eton College, and Barrie confirmed in a speech delivered in 1927 at Eton that Hook had been a student there.

In Barrie's story, Hook captures Wendy Darling, the girl who loves Peter and whom Peter views as his surrogate mother, and challenges the boy to a final duel. When Hook is beaten, Peter Pan kicks him overboard to the open jaws of the waiting crocodile below. Just before his defeat, however, he takes a final jab at Peter by taunting him about his "bad form". Peter, with the callousness of youth, quickly forgets Hook and is said to go on to find a new nemesis, but Hook's popularity has made him a staple of sequels, the title character of a big-budget Hollywood feature film, and a household name.

Contents

Creation of the character

Although pirates had previously featured in Barrie's play adventures with the Llewelyn Davies boys as he was developing ideas for the play, Hook did not appear in early drafts of the play; the capricious and coercive Peter Pan was the "villain" of the story. The pirate captain was created for a "front cloth" scene to be staged in front of the curtain while the set was changed from Neverland back to the Darling nursery, depicting the children's journey home. Barrie expanded the scene, knowing how much children were fascinated by pirates, and expanded the role of the captain as the play developed. The character was probably named (at least in part) as a play on the name Captain James Cook, the legendary 18th century navigator.

The character was originally cast to be played by a woman: Dorothea Baird, the actress also playing Mary Darling. Gerald du Maurier, who was already playing George Darling (and the brother of Barrie's dear friend Sylvia Llewelyn Davies), persuaded Barrie to let him take the additional role instead, a casting decision that has since been replicated in many stage and film productions of the Peter Pan story.

Appearance

His most striking feature is his hook. The script of the play and the text of the novel state clearly that the hook replaces his right hand. However, in many presentations, the hook replaces his left hand, usually for the convenience of the (right-handed) actor playing the part, who may be unskilled at handling a sword and performing other routine stage business with his left hand. This was even true in Disney's animated version, in which Hook's actions were modeled for the animators by voice actor Hans Conried, who was right-handed. In both Hook and the 2003 Peter Pan film, the hook was shown to be removable, with various interchangeable prosthetic attachments.

In the novel Peter and Wendy, Hook is described as "cadaverous" and "blackavized" (dark-faced), with blue eyes and long dark curls which look like "black candles" at a distance. In most pantomime performances of Peter Pan, and in the film Hook, Hook's hair is simply a wig. He is also described as having a "handsome countenance" and an "elegance of [...] diction" – "even when he [is] swearing". The novel further states that "In dress he somewhat aped the attire associated with the name of Charles II", and accordingly he is usually presented wearing a large feathered hat, a greatcoat (often red), and knee breeches. Barrie also said of him in "Captain Hook at Eton" as, "In a word, the handsomest man I have ever seen, though, at the same time, perhaps slightly disgusting". While Hook is an evil and bloodthirsty man, Barrie makes it clear that these qualities make him a magnificent pirate and "not wholly unheroic".

See also: depictions of Captain Hook

Disney

Hook in the Walt Disney version of Peter Pan
Hook in the Walt Disney version of Peter Pan

The version of Captain Hook who appears in the Disney animated film adaptation of Peter Pan is somewhat of a fool, prone to crying out for help as well as being called a codfish and having his clothes repeatedly ruined. Though Hook is somewhat more comically inept than other Disney Villains such as Maleficent or Jafar, he still has his evil moments and despises being made a fool.

Development

In early development, the story department wrote their analysis of Hook's character: "He is a fop...Yet very mean, to the point of being murderous. This combination of traits should cause plenty of amusement whenever he talks or acts."

Frank Thomas was the directing animator of Hook. According to Disney's Platinum release bonus features, Hook was modeled after a Spanish King. One director insisted that Hook should be a darker villain with no comedic traits. Yet this would not work during the crocodile scenes. The animators realized he could not be truly evil, because of the children in the film that he would be threatening. The result is a "bad guy", but only to the point of matching Peter Pan.

Actor Hans Conried set the tone for Disney's interpretation of Hook, as he was the original voice for the Captain, as well as Mr. Darling in the same film. In addition Conried's acting skills were used, as he performed live-action reference for the two characters. In modern animation, Hook is voiced by Corey Burton.

Appearances

Captain Hook is introduced in the animated film as a sinister, frustrated man, plotting to trap Peter in his lair, but also a bit of a buffoon, hiding from the crocodile nicknamed 'Tick Tock' who took off his hand. He seeks revenge on Peter Pan for having fed the crocodile his hand amidst battle, and will keep his ship and its crew anchored in Never Land's waters until he finds the boy. Hook is a dangerous villain, without conscience, yet is dependent on his sidekick, Mr Smee. He is fairly cunning and has a bit of a taste for loopholes in contracts or deals — after he promises Tinker Bell that he will not lay a finger (or a hook) on Peter, he then lays a bomb in Peter's hideout, since he didn't say he wouldn't do that. When Peter defeats Hook, he begs for mercy and promises to leave Neverland forever. However, Hook tries to attack Peter again, only to be foiled. At the conclusion of the film, Hook is being chased by the crocodile off into the distance. Walt Disney insisted on keeping Hook alive, as he said: "The audience will get to liking Hook, and they won't want to see him killed."

In the sequel Return to Neverland, Hook's comical side is expanded to the point where the character becomes, almost, a complete fool, little more than a joke. He mistakes Wendy's daughter Jane for her thinking she is the young Wendy, and using her as bait to lure Peter Pan to his death. After this fails, he promises to take Jane home if she'll help him find the island's treasure (which leads to his taste for loopholes being made a comical trait as well). Unlike the rest of his crew, Hook is still competent enough to do something right, and takes Jane captive in the final battle. However, he is quickly subdued and thrown into the water by Peter. His ship is sunk by the huge, almost blind octopus who believes him to be a fish, and he and the pirates flee with the octopus behind them. It is unknown if they are ever eaten or not.

In the upcoming preschoolers show Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee will continually match wits with the pint-sized pirate crew on the search for treasure.

Hook also appeared frequently on Disney's House of Mouse, and was one of the main villains of Mickey's House of Villains who take over the House of Mouse. He also appeared in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse.

Occasionally, Hook appears in the Scrooge McDuck universe of comic books as the nemesis of Moby Duck, a whaler cousin of Donald Duck.

Disney's Villains' Revenge

He stars in the Disney Interactive computer game, Disney's Villains' Revenge. He stole the happy ending of Peter Pan and altered the story. Peter was reduced to an elderly man and lost his fighting touch. The player went against Hook in a duel and won, defeating Hook. Captain Hook fought the player again in the final battle, but saw his ship destroyed. He retreats to Skull Rock where he fires cannonballs. Unfortunately, one is deflected and sends him flying into the sky. As he flies past the moon, he says to himself "I hate happy endings!"

Kingdom Hearts

Captain Hook (フック船長|Fukku Senchō) appears in the Action/RPG game Kingdom Hearts, in cooperation with Maleficent and other villains. He uses his pirate ship to get himself between worlds. He takes Riku along with him, where Kairi is being held. Hook does not like Riku's bossiness and regrets taking him along; nonetheless, he follows his orders, as Riku now has control over the Heartless and would most likely unleash them on him should he disobey. When Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy arrive in Neverland, Riku throws them in the hold where they meet and escape with Peter Pan, who is searching for his friend Wendy. Captain Hook believed that Wendy was a "Princess of Heart" and that is why he captured her. However, Riku reports to him from Maleficent that Wendy is not a Princess of heart at all, irritating Hook. After defeating the Heartless below deck, Sora fights a copy of himself summoned by Riku in Hook's office. After confronting Hook on the deck, Sora and company realize that Riku escaped toHollow Bastion with Kairi. Hook then flees to his office. Using a voice imitation of Smee, Hook's right hand man, Peter Pan tricks Hook into thinking everything is all clear. Hook returns to the deck and is thrown into a fight with Sora and the others. He proves a powerful swordsman and bomb expert, but no match for the Keyblade. Hook is thrown overboard and is chased into the horizon by his arch nemesis, the Crocodile, as usual. He later reappears in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a figment of Sora's memories. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he and Mr. Smee have found a large amount of treasure maps all leading to boxes that are actually set to release Heartless once Hook opens the chest (Unknown to Hook and Smee, however, is that these chests were set up to help build Pete's Heartless army). He is absent in Kingdom Hearts II, but appears in the prequel, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. His Japanese voice actor was Chikao Ōtsuka.

Epic Mickey

In the video game Epic Mickey, the Captain Hook of the game's Wasteland setting, has been captured and converted into a robotic Beetleworx by the forces of the Mad Doctor, and is now converting members of his crew into robots, save for a group of escapees lead by Mr. Smee to the town of Ventureland. Mickey and Gus must travel to the conversion machine at Skull Rock and either disable or reverse its effects, then go into the pirate town of Tortooga to find the Jolly Roger and battle Hook on their own or with the aid of Peg Leg Pete taking on the guise of Peter Pan.

Live events

Captain Hook also appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character, as well as part of the dark ride Peter Pan's Flight.

In Fantasmic! at Disneyland, there is a scene in which we see Captain Hook and Peter Pan duelling aboard the Jolly Roger (portrayed by the Sailing Ship Columbia). This is replaced by a short re-enactment of Disney's Pocahontas at Disney MGM studios.

At Disney World's Dream-Along with Mickey show, Hook, along with Smee, is one of the villains that crashes Mickey's party. This happens when Peter and Wendy appear to make Goofy's dream for some adventure come true and play a game of "Pretend to Be Pirates" with Donald Duck, who pretends to be the captain until the real Hook appears and challenges Peter to a duel. At first, Hook's appearance seems to take place for no reason other than to add some action to the show, but is revealed to actually be working for Maleficent, who is insulted after not being invited to the party. He is defeated by Mickey Mouse, who leads the audience in a chant of "Dreams come true!", and scares off the villains.

At the Disney Villains Mix and Mingle Halloween Dance Party at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Hook is summoned up by Maleficent along with the other villains (Cruella De Vil, Judge Claude Frollo, Jafar, The Queen of Hearts, The Evil Queen) and co-hosts along with her, revealed by him being the only one of the villains beside her to sing and also being the villain that dances with her.

Peter Pan (1954 musical)

Cyril Ritchard played Captain Hook in the 1954 musical adaptation which starred Mary Martin as Peter Pan.

Peter Pan - The Animated Series (no boken)

Captain Hook and crew
Captain Hook and crew

In 1989, the Japanese Nippon Animation produced 41 episodes of Peter Pan - the Animated Series; this was aired on World Masterpiece Theater and in several other countries.

Hook's personality was far closer to the original character from Barrie's novel. Rather than the more clownish Hook portrayed in the Disney version, Hook was an aggressive strategist, feared by his crew and everyone else, except Peter. Besides his first objective, which is to destroy Peter Pan, he also is eager to become Neverland's first king. Hook also had a second hook-hand that both looked and functioned in a similar fashion as a crab claw.

He was voiced in the Japanese version by Chikao Ōtsuka, who also portrayed the Disney incarnation of the character in Japanese media, particularly in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories.

Peter Pan and the Pirates

cover to episode on VHS
cover to episode on VHS

In 1990, Fox Broadcasting Company produced the television series Peter Pan and the Pirates. Appearance wise, Hook was more early 18th century rather than the classic Charles II English Restoration period. He also had white hair, rather than black. Hook's personality is far closer to Barrie's original character; He terrifies his crew, brutalizes his enemies, has no fear (except where the crocodile is concerned), shows great intelligence and is passionate about plays by William Shakespeare. He was voiced by Tim Curry, who won an Emmy for this part. While the original version of Hook was said to have learned the pirating trade as the cabin boy of Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, this version learned it as the Midshipman of his elder brother, a notorious pirate who commanded a frigate called the Rake. Originally engaged to a young woman, one Christmas Day raid sees the Hook brothers (Hook's name in this account is given as "James Hook") capture a ship transporting Hook's fiancee, Cecilia. Also on a Christmas Day, the two brothers have a disagreement over the sharing of the loot, fighting a duel in which Hook leaves the ship after gouging out his brother's eye, thus earning him the moniker of "Captain Patch". While Hook eventually finds his way to Neverland, and thus a form of immortality, Patch perishes somewhere, his treasure eventually ending up in Neverland. One episode involves Hook finding the treasure, and unwittingly awakening the malevolent ghost of his elder brother. This incarnation have no realy fear before the crocodile, he hates him more like Peter Pan.

Hook (1991 Film)

Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook
Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook

In the film Hook, Captain James Hook is played by Dustin Hoffman. Hook kidnaps the children of a now adult Peter to lure his arch-enemy back. He then negotiates with Tinker Bell to let the out-of-shape Peter have three days to rekindle his spirit. He is somewhat depressed since Peter Pan, now named Peter Banning (played by Robin Williams), has left Neverland, and worries he has nothing left to accomplish, having killed the crocodile and made it into a foundation for a clock tower. He wants to have a grand war with Peter to end all wars on Neverland, but is upset to learn Peter has grown up and has forgotten everything. He also has grown tired of killing Lost Boys. In one scene, he attempts to shoot himself, after which he comments, "Death is the only great adventure I have left." He keeps a clock museum full of broken clocks, since he becomes gripped with fear when he hears one ticking, possibly because of the crocodile or the reminder of his old age. Ultimately, this phobia is one of the factors that leads to his defeat.

At the same time, Hook tries to attempt to brainwash the children by saying the father never loved them, and he is successful with Peter's son, Jack. Peter does return and gets his children back, and to give Hook the final battle he desires. In the end he duels Peter in a circle of Lost Boys holding him at bay with clocks, and is apparently "eaten" by the crocodile who seems to temporarily come back to life and falls on top of him. His final words are: "I want my mummy!"

In the film, Hook's hook is on his left hand due to Hoffman being right-handed, and has other attachments besides the hook, including a goblet and a pointer. He dresses very elegantly with a gold-trimmer red coat, matching hat, and a wig that hides his balding head. He keeps a ceremonial captain's sword at his side, but switches it for a proper dueling sword when fighting Rufio and Peter.

Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth

According to the (non-canon) novel Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth, Captain Hook was born the illegitimate son of a nobleman, "Lord B", and an unnamed woman Hook has never met (however, throughout the story, there are multiple clues in the way characters act and react that the unnamed woman may in fact be the Queen). Denounced by Lord B, James Matthew is brought up by a Shakespearean actress he calls Aunt Emily. When he is fifteen he unwillingly attends Eton College as an Oppidan scholar.

James strives to reach the top of his class at Eton. He is an avid reader of the Shakespeare and Shelley, and his motto is "Knowledge is Power". He describes many things as first rate - "Topping Swank", and he punctuates his sentences with "The End." He is very interested in the French Revolution.

In the novel James has only a few friends - Roger Peter Davies, whom he nicknames "Jolly Roger" and later names his ship after; and his pet Electra, a fatally poisonous spider. However, James Matthew has many enemies, particularly Arthur Darling, a seventeen-year-old Colleger, whom he rivals in studies, fencing, sports, and the attentions of the visiting Ottoman Sultana Ananova Ariadne. Although James successfully woos Ananova, their mutual affection sets off a chain of political outrage that affects the noble position of Lord B. Lord B selfishly arranges for James to leave Eton on his trading ship, the Sea Witch. But the deeply hurt James doesn't leave without defeating Arthur in a final fencing duel, terrifying him with a home-made guillotine. He also burns his own school records so there would be no traces of his well-liked "notorious" behaviour.

James leaves Eton with Jolly Roger. Once on the trading ship, he meets the boatswain Bartholomew Quigley Smeethington, generally called Smee. Smee and all the other sailors live in terror of their ruthless captain, who, in a cruel twist, also happens to be a Christian priest. James, as always, is able to empathize with the underdogs. When James discovers in horror that his father is a slave trader, he frees the slaves on the ship and overthrows the ship's captain (who then is killed by Electra), and then murders the quartermaster with a metal hook.

Throughout Capt. Hook, author J.V. Hart relates events in James Matthew B's life to events in James Matthew Barrie's life and the lives of the Davies children; including naming James' arch-enemy after the Davies' father. But the author mainly expands upon details in Barrie's original play and novel, while changing a few key points - he ascribes James' strange colouring and yellow blood to a blood disorder; James' long dark hair is natural, rather than the usually suggested wig; James is christened "Hook" after murdering the quartermaster of the Sea Witch, rather than in reference to his prosthetic hand (in the original novel, Hook was known as "Hook" before he lost his hand, so this is consistent).

Peter Pan (2003 film)

Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook in 2003 film Peter Pan
Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook in 2003 film Peter Pan

In this 2003 film version of Peter Pan, Captain James Hook is portrayed by British actor Jason Isaacs.

Jason Isaacs plays also the role of George Darling, Wendy's father, following a tradition that comes from the original play. In this version Jason Isaacs has the hook on his right hand. Even though Isaacs is right-handed this allowed him to have more mobility with the hook which the film-makers believed was more important. In this version, his hook also requires a shoulder harness to be worn while it is fastened on, presumably to help regulate the weight Hook feels while using it.

Hook, in this film is portrayed in the classic, for the most part. He is feared, is ruthless, of a gentleman-like nature. He entrances Wendy for a while, but she later proclaims to him that she'd rather die than be a pirate. In this film, Hook also learns to fly, thus almost defeating Peter. Ultimately the bad thoughts bring him down and he drops, resignedly, into the crocodile's mouth.

Peter and the Starcatchers

Black Stache
Black Stache

In the novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Captain Hook is at his nastiest - he is described as greasy, dirty and filthy, with terrible breath, beady black eyes, and a pock-marked face. He eats raw meat in his room, often leaving the food on his bed. This grotesque image of Hook contrasts strongly with J. M. Barrie's Etonian gentleman. In Peter and the Starcatchers, which takes place before the captain meets Peter Pan, Hook is called "Black Stache" because of his moustache, and his ship is called the Sea Devil - he obtains the Jolly Roger after using a corset-shaped sail to attack a British ship named the Wasp. In this prequel, although Peter cuts off Hook's hand, he does not throw Hook's hand to the crocodile; the animal simply gobbles it up in passing. Black Stache is renamed Captain Hook in the second installment, Peter and the Shadow Thieves. Which hand is severed differs. In Barrie's original novel, his right hand was purposely cut off by Peter. In Barry and Pearson's adaptation, his left hand was accidentally cut off by Peter.

Peter Pan in Scarlet

Geraldine McCaughrean's authorized sequel to Peter Pan gives Peter a new nemesis, while bringing back the old favourite.

Ravello, a circus man in a constantly ragged woollen coat. Ravello offers Peter a servant and to ensure his well being in the search for the treasure. Ravello provides - through a red coat and a bad influence - that Peter Pan is increasingly in the direction of Captain Hook turns. He sees himself not as a living person, because he only eats eggs and no longer sleep there. He is revealed of the middle of the book to be the old James Hook, who escaped the crocodile, when the muscle contractions meant to crush and digest him broke the vial of poison he kept with him at all times. The poison killed the crocodile, and Hook used his hook to claw out, but he was a changed, ugly man. The scarred visage that emerged from the crocodile's belly was not the noble pirate who went forthwith from the deck of the Jolly Roger, but Ravello, the travelling man. Ravello has many animals in front lions, bears and tigers.

Ravello gives another clue to his true identity when one of the Lost Boys asks Ravello his name: He thinks for a while, as if trying to remember, and finally says the name his mother gave him was Crichton, but that names given by mothers don't mean anything.

One of Ravello's trophies is an Eton trophy dated 1894. If Hook was 18 - the last year of an Etonian - in that year, then he was born in 1876, a full one-hundred and one years after his appearance at The Pirates' Conference [see below], and even further after the times of Blackbeard and Long John Silver. It must also be said that Hook in this book denies that he was ever with Blackbeard, claiming that he would never have served such an uneducated man and that all suggestions that he has are merely rumours started by his enemies. Only upon receiving Wendy's kiss, and five weeks' worth of sleep, does the real James Hook again reveal himself.

Cameos in other Media

Hook in the Shrek version
Hook in the Shrek version
  • Captain Hook appears briefly in the animated film Shrek 2, as the piano player in a tavern, and in the karaoke scene at the end, sings "Hooked on a Feeling". He is voiced by and partly modeled on Tom Waits, who wrote and performs his song "Little Drop Of Poison". He appears as a speaking character in Shrek the Third (voiced by Ian McShane) as a minor antagonist, and still plays the piano even while his men fight Shrek and co.
  • While not making an appearance, Captain James Hook is mentioned in the Pirates of the Caribbean novel, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom. Although he is only mentioned only "James", it was confirmed that James and Captain Hook are one and the same by the book's author, A.C. Crispin.
  • Captain Hook appears briefly in the comic book The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen at a "pirate conference" that featured other notable characters such as Long John Silver, Doctor Syn, and Captain Pugwash.
  • In the pirate themed real-time strategy video game Tropico 2, Captain Hook is listed as one of the historical figures the player can choose from. The game even refers to Hook's fear of crocodiles and questions whether Hook really lost his hand in combat or cut it off intentionally. However, he is listed as a Spanish character, not English.
  • Captain Hook features prominently in "The Wendy Trilogy", a song-cycle retelling of the Peter Pan story in which Wendy accepts Hook's offer to become a pirate instead of refusing as in the original story.
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