Disney Villains is a separate Walt Disney Co. franchise which brings to life over 120 villains from Disney films, television shows, video games, books and resorts. In this five-part series, we take a look at our top 5 Disney villains! This week, the spotlight is on….
Though he doesn’t appear until 20 minutes into the film, Captain James Bartholomew Hook is the main antagonist of Disney’s feature length film Peter Pan, and is a principal member of the Disney Villains line-up
A Pirate's Life
Famous for his luscious black, shoulder-length curls, the Captain is best known for his engagement in a long-standing feud with his arch-nemesis Peter Pan - a relationship which fuels his frustration throughout his appearances. Hook’s fixation with revenge on Peter Pan stems from an incident which precedes the film – namely, when Peter cut off his hand and fed it to the crocodile. This brutal, heartless act permanently disabled the Captain, landing him with a hook instead of a hand, and providing him with a rather a sad, sympathetic storyline. This, in combination with his endearing awkwardness makes for a complex, but particularly likeable, character.
Captain Hook’s villainy is offset by his comedy, in particular with the crocodile. He makes a fool of himself often, and has his plans foiled by the clumsiness and idiocy of his first mate Smee. He is depicted as constantly pursued by the same crocodile who ate his hand – a detail which, though appears funny, is rather frightening. This gruesome detail is overlooked due to the satirical nature of his character, including the way his moustache twitches to the rhythm of the crocodile’s swallowed clock. However, the silliness of his character shouldn’t mask his evil behaviour. In Peter Pan, Hook throws a member of his crew overboard, shoots another crew member for singing and constantly threatens Peter’s life. Life is cheap on board the Jolly Roger.
Hook is also unrelentingly manipulative, and employs every tool at his disposal in an attempt to trick Peter. He feigns surrender toward the end in order to catch Peter off guard, and finds a loophole in his agreement not to ‘lay a finger on Peter Pan’. The Hook should not be underestimated.
Charles II: The Original Hook
Long before Peter Pan was in development, Hook was being dreamed up by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie. In Peter Pan: The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, Hook is depicted as the quintessential pirate and captain of the Jolly Roger, with one addition: he has a phobia of the crocodile who pursues him and of the sight of his own blood.
As in the film, his name represents the iron hook which replaces his severed hand. In the play, Hook’s attire is based off that of Charles II of England, who donned the same long black hair. Hook’s depiction in the original script presents a callous, bloodthirsty pirate who is malicious and manipulative to his own ends.
- Peter Pan
In the feature film, Hook is the main at antagonist, trying to find Peter Pan’s hiding spot in order to exact his revenge. He employs many methods including kidnapping the Princess Tiger Lily, and manipulating situations to meet his own ends.
- Jake and the Neverland Pirates
Hook’s past is revealed in the series, more than ever before. His childhood is sad to be rather miserable, and we are introduced to ‘Mama Hook’ who was a feared pirate captain.
- The Pirate Fairy
This film also gives backstory to the cruel captain. The film depicts Hook twenty years before Peter Pan, captaining a different crew. We also learn that he received his education from Eton College in England, and that he can speak and understand the fairy language.
- Return to Neverland
In the feature film sequel, Hook once again is pursuing Peter Pan, and follows him to London in his ship, which is undergoing the Second World War.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, Hook is portrayed by Dustin Hoffman. Hook travels back to London to kidnap the children of the now adult Peter Pan, in an attempt to lure him back to Neverland where he can destroy him. Hook has since killed the crocodile and fashioned it into a clock tower but remains terrified of its ticking. Hook’s portrayal in the film remains closer to Barrie’s play, depicting a gentlemen pirate who is concerned with right behaviour and good form.
- House of Mouse
Hook makes regular cameo appearances in the animated series
- Once Upon a Time
Hook has gained somewhat of a cult following in the live-action fantasy drama. Portrayed by Colin O’Donoghue, Hook is known as Killian Jones. Hook’s backstory in the show depicts him as a pirate who formerly worked for a king, alongside his brother. When his brother is killed on a mission, Killian becomes the captain of his own ship – The Jolly Roger and begins his villainous ways. In later episodes, Hook falls in love with Emma Swan and changes his ways from that of a villain, to that of a hero.
- Disney Parks
Hook is a feature at most of the Disney parks, seen in many shows and parades. Hook also appears in the shows on the Disney Magic cruise line
- Captain Hook has made more appearances than any other Disney villain
- Hook makes a cameo appearance in the 2011 novel Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom
- Walt Disney insisted that the captain survive the film, anticipating the likeability of the character
- Tom Hiddleston, best known for his role as Loki in the Marvel Universe, lent his voice to Hook in Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy
- Original concept art shows the Captain to be wearing blue
- The Captain and Peter Pan do not interact until the battle at Skull Rock, 40 minutes into the film
- In the initial development stages for Peter Pan, Hook was placed to be a murderous villain but was later revised to incorporate foolish traits which served to distract the audience from his villainess nature
- Hook’s full name was revealed in Jake and the Neverland Pirates to be ‘James Bartholomew Hook’
- Hans Conried voiced the role of both Captain Hook and George Darling, in the 1953 Disney film. This is in keeping with the original stage-show tradition of casting these two men using the same actor
- Hook can play the piano despite his disability
- Captain Hook made number 24 on Empire Magazine’s list of ’50 Best Animated Movie Characters’
- Hook’s disabled arm is deceptively strong. He is able to lift Smee, Starkey, and Tiger Lily using only his hook arm
- The inspiration for Colin O’Donoghue’s portrayal of Hook in Once Upon a Time comes from the character of Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride
- Captain Hook is rumoured to have been inspired by Turkish legend, which tells of a pirate ‘Barbarossa’, who lost his arm and used a silver prosthesis in its place
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