I’ve spent the last five weeks (and will spend one more) working for the School of Cinema and Performing Arts, first in Burlington, Vermont and now in Manhattan. While here, I haven’t had much time to myself, but in the little bit of time I have had, there had been further story/writing developments.
When I was around 15 or 16 I got this vague idea for sort of a sequel to Peter Pan, somewhat connected to the film Hook, but not quite; my idea was that Peter Pan did come to our world from Neverland and fell in love and grew up, just like he does in Hook, but instead of marrying Wendy’s great-granddaughter, he marries Jane, her daughter. Obviously, this would mean he has children of his own, grows old and eventually dies. The idea here, though, is that, as J.M. Barrie originally meant it, Peter is the embodiment of the spirit of youth; so when he grows up, the “youth” in him (like a gene), falls dormant and is passed down (still dormant) through his children. At some point in our modern time setting, his great-great-granddaughter (or some such female descendant) is called upon by Tinkerbell and the New Lost Boys (and Girls, thank you very much) to come back to Neverland and save them all as their new leader…from Hook or some other threat. I never really developed it much more beyond that.
Until recently, that is.
I started jotting stuff down and came up with more details: the girl goes by the name of Chelsea, even though that’s really just her middle name; her first is TBD, but I’m pondering, perhaps, the name Michelle, in reference to Wendy’s youngest brother, Michael. Or something. That part’s still in the works. (I’d thought about making her a descendant of Michael’s instead of Wendy’s, but then that would mean that she has no blood relation to Peter, so it’s out.)
Anywho, I kept remembering how in the 2003 Peter Pan, all of Neverland had frozen over in Peter’s absence, and once he returned everything started to melt and bloom again. I thought that idea was fabulous; that the island, the place, is connected quite directly to Peter. That may not have been the intent on the part of the filmmakers and I don’t think it came from Barrie directly, but I still loved it. So I thought, what if the island transitions into winter when Peter’s not there for an extended period of time? It will never die, just stay in a state of winter (akin to Narnia, just not controlled by a White-Witch figure, i.e. Hook has nothing to do with it), which gets colder and colder as time passes. It wouldn’t ever die because, as I mentioned, the “gene” of youth is still within his kids, just dormant. I would imagine that Hook, if he’s still around takes advantage of the lack of Peter and continues to try to take over the island. The Lost Boys, Girls and Tinkerbell all fight back, but they need a leader; they need Peter. So they go back to get him, only to find that he’s too old or possibly dying, or even dead already. Tinkerbell is devastated (as she was in love with Peter), but then realizes that his children might be able to help, so she convinces one of the children to come back and with her to Neverland and try to fight Hook. When they arrive, the ice melts and the flowers start to bloom again, because Peter’s blood is back in Neverland. But the attempt at fighting Hook doesn’t work and the descendant(s) return home, unsuccessful. This process would repeat itself over time; each time Tinkerbell taking longer and longer to find the right child, and each time the kid(s) leave, again, unsuccessful. Once gone, though, autumn, then winter, sets back in until a new person is brought. Time goes on until we reach the modern age and things continue to get worse with Hook. Tinkerbell wakes up one morning and the ice is thick and the island is freezing; she makes another attempt to find a descendant of Peter, but has the worst time finding them yet.
In the meantime, 16-year-old Chelsea has grown up without a father; he died, while serving in the Military, when she was seven. Ever since, she has forced herself to be an adult as a way of coping with her loss – and also following her mother’s influence, who put her grief aside and seemed happier that way (which isn’t true). Chelsea is also married to her schoolwork and bound for Stanford. When we meet her, she has just recieved her SAT scores, which are very good, but not within Stanford’s requirements. While dealing with this, she walks home from school and finds herself in some Park, very far away from her school and home, in a daze. Before she can figure out how she got there or why, she’s approached by a very petite woman (who turns out later to be Tinkerbell) who asks some very strange questions. Chelsea has some difficulty shaking her, but when she does, she hops on the subway and makes directly for home. That night, Tinkerbell shows up at Chelsea’s window and attempts to explain who she is, what’s going on and that Neverland is in need of Peter Pan’s descendants. Chelsea fights Tinkerbell in every sense of the word; she refuses to accept what she hears and tries to get away from her before trying to fight her off and shoo her back out the window. Tinkerbell loses her patience and eventually just casts some sort of spell and drags her off to Neverland, in much the same way that she does in Hook.
Once there, Chelsea gets thrown into it and tries to tell them they’ve got the wrong person; but even she can’t help but notice that the ice melts and the leaves spring back onto the trees, plants blooming again. It means, undeniably, that she’s Peter’s blood. She still doesn’t think she can help them, though, but, slowly, they try to help her. They have her wear one of Peter’s “costumes” for lack of a better word; the green tunic, moccasins, even the little dagger. She feels out of place in the clothes, and the Lost Boys and Girls don’t much care for it either (like in Hook), but they accept it because they know they need her help. (I’m not sure if a Rufio-like character will be there, but definitely one of the lost boys will have a constant commentary on how insufficient she is for the role).
The rest of the story would consist of her becoming the stand-in for Peter, remembering how to be a kid, learning the lore and history of Neverland, getting kidnapped by Hook at one point and forming an odd friendship with him, with a few slight romantic undertones – including some sexual tension – and basically her coming to terms with her adolesence.
I don’t know where the story goes from there, or how it concludes, but I like what I’ve got so far. I’m going to continue working on it and see what happens. I also plan to read the official sequel to Barrie’s book, Peter Pan in Scarlet and see what ideas that inspires.
Here’s what I’ve written so far, posted on FanFiction.net: Upon The Brink.