For other uses, see Captain Hook (disambiguation).
Captain Hook
Peter Pan
Robb Harwood as Captain Hook
First appearance Peter Pan (1904)
Created by J. M. Barrie
Nickname(s) Hook
Gender Male
Occupation Pirate
Title Captain
Nationality English
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Captain James Hook (James is sometimes shortened to Jas) is a fictional character: the antagonist of J. M. Barrie's play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up and its various adaptations. The character is a pirate captain of the brig Jolly Roger, and lord of the pirate village/harbour in Neverland. Most importantly, he is the archenemy of Peter Pan, described as "boatswain to Blackbeard", and "the man that frightened Barbecue". His two principal fears are the sight of his own blood (which is supposedly an unnatural colour) and one fateful crocodile. His name plays on the iron hook replacing his right hand, cut off by Peter Pan and eaten by a saltwater crocodile, who thereafter pursues Hook in hope of preying on him further.[2]

Creation of the characterEdit

Hook did not appear in early drafts of the play, whereof the capricious and coercive Peter Pan was closest to a "villain"; but was created for a front-cloth scene depicting the children's journey home. Later, Barrie expanded the scene, on premise that children were fascinated by pirates, and expanded the role of the captain as the play developed. The character was originally cast to be played by Dorothea Baird, the actress playing Mary Darling; but Gerald du Maurier, already playing George Darling (and the brother of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies), persuaded Barrie to let him take the additional role instead,[3] a casting decision since replicated in many stage and film productions of the Peter Pan story.

Biography of the characterEdit

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", and relates that Peter Pan began their rivalry by feeding the pirate's hand to the crocodile. It is implied that he attended Eton College and Balliol[4] in the play; Hook's final words are "Floreat Etona", the College's motto. Barrie confirmed this in a 1927 speech entitled "Captain Hook at Eton".

In Barrie's novel, Hook captures Wendy Darling, whom Peter views as his surrogate mother, and challenges the boy to a duel. When Hook is beaten, Peter Pan kicks him overboard to the open jaws of the crocodile, which Hook criticizes, in falling, as "bad form". Peter quickly finds a new opponent; but as Hook made a stronger impression on the public, most sequels brought him back by various means.


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In the novel Peter and Wendy, Hook is described as "cadaverous" and "blackavized", having blue eyes and long dark curls resembling "black candles. In most pantomime performances of Peter Pan, and in the film Hook, Hook's hair is a wig, and is accompanied by thick bushy eyebrows and mustache. The eponymous hook takes place of his right hand (often changed to his left hand in film adaptations) and is used as a weapon. He is also described as having a "handsome countenance" and an "elegance of [...] diction" – "even when he [is] swearing". Captain Hook is often portrayed wearing a large feathered hat; a red, black or blue coat; and knee breeches, after the novel's description that "In dress he somewhat aped the attire associated with the name of Charles II". Hook is often seen with a cigar holder that lets him smoke two cigars at once. 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"; tangent to which, that although Hook is callous and bloodthirsty, Barrie makes it clear that these qualities make him a magnificent pirate and "not wholly unheroic".

Peter Pan in ScarletEdit

Geraldine McCaughrean's authorized sequel to Peter Pan introduces Ravello, a circus man in a ragged woollen coat, constantly unravelling, who offers to be Peter's valet but whose influence changes Peter Pan into a reincarnation of Captain Hook, and who is identified as the former Hook, resurrected from the crocodile's intestines. One of Ravello's trophies is an Eton trophy dated 1894. If Hook was 18 - the last year of an Etonian - in that year, he was born in 1876, a full 101 years after his appearance at the 'Pirates' Conference' [see below], and even later after Blackbeard and Long John Silver. Hook in this book denies the association with Blackbeard. Only upon receiving Wendy's kiss, and five weeks' worth of sleep, does the real James Hook reveal himself.

Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious YouthEdit

According to the (non-canon) novel Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth, Captain Hook was the illegitimate son of a nobleman, "Lord B", and an unnamed woman Hook has never met (implied to be the Queen). Denounced by Lord B., James Matthew is reared by a Shakespearean actress he calls Aunt Emily, and unwillingly attends Eton College as an Oppidan scholar, where he is an avid reader of 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 this novel James has only a few friends including Roger Peter Davies, whom he nicknames "Jolly Roger" (the name of his ship in later life), and the spider 'Electra'; but rivals Arthur Darling, a seventeen-year-old Colleger, in studies, fencing, sports, and the attentions of the visiting Ottoman Sultana Ananova Ariadne. When James successfully woos Ananova, their affection sets off political outrage that affects the noble position of Lord B., who arranges for James to leave Eton on his trading ship, the Sea Witch. Upon leaving, James defeats Arthur in a final duel and burns his own school records to leave no traces of his behaviour. On the Sea Witch, he befriends boatswain Bartholomew Quigley Smeethington, generally called Smee; frees the slaves aboard ship; overthrows the ship's captain (killed by Electra); and murders the quartermaster with a metal hook.

Throughout Capt. Hook, author J.V. Hart relates events in James Matthew Barrie's life and the lives of the Llewellyn-Davies children, even naming James's arch-enemy after the Llewellyn-Davies' father. The narrative expands upon details of Barrie's original play and novel, but ascribes James's unusual colouring and yellow blood to a blood disorder; makes James's long dark hair natural, rather than the usual wig; and has James titled "Hook" after murdering the quartermaster of the Sea Witch, rather than in reference to his prosthetic hand.

Peter and the StarcatchersEdit

In the novel Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Captain Hook is distinguished by halitosis, beady black eyes, a pock-marked face, and perpetual filth of his person and surroundings (this image 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" for his prominent moustache (a reference, possibly, to Blackbeard, and his initial ship is called the Sea Devil, whereas the Jolly Roger is a captured a British ship, originally the Wasp. 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; whereas In Barry and Pearson's adaptation, his left hand was accidentally cut off by Peter, which would make their story non-canon to Barrie's original.

Peter and the Starcatcher (Play)Edit

In Rick Ellis' theatrical adaptation of the Berry-Pearson novel, Black Stache (portrayed in the original production by Christian Borle who won a Tony Award for the role) is a witty, poetical, but psychotic pirate prone to malapropisms and the occasional pratfall. Similar to the Disney film character, Black Stache resembles both a dangerous villain and a comic buffoon. The last of a line of villains, he seeks to become a great villain by fighting a great hero, and finds one in Peter. His hand is cut off not by Peter, but accidentally severed when he slams the lid of a trunk in a fit of a rage.


Main article: Captain Hook (Disney)

Other appearancesEdit

Peter Pan (1954 musical)Edit

Most notably, Cyril Ritchard played Captain Hook in the 1954 musical adaptation which starred Mary Martin as Peter Pan. George Rose played the role in the 1977 revival which featured Sandy Duncan as Pan. Four years earlier, Boris Karloff starred as Mr. Darling/Captain Hook in a different musical treatment of the story, with songs by Leonard Bernstein. In that version, Jean Arthur played Peter.

Peter Pan - The Animated Series (no boken)Edit

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; and beside his first objective 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 Ōhtsuka, 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 PiratesEdit

In 1990, Fox produced the television series Peter Pan and the Pirates, wherein Hook's costume was more early 18th century rather than the classic Charles II-Restoration period. He also had white hair, rather than black, and wore black clothes, rather than red. Most of all, he was clean shaven, rather than sporting a signature moustache. Hook's personality is far closer to Barrie's original character; he terrifies his crew, brutalizes his enemies, has no fear (except of the crocodile), shows great intelligence, and is passionate about plays by William Shakespeare. He was voiced by Tim Curry, who won an Emmy for this part. Although the original Hook is associated with Blackbeard, this version was the Midshipman of his own elder brother, 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 fight a duel in which James leaves the ship after gouging out his brother's eye, thus earning him the title "Captain Patch". While Hook eventually finds his way to Neverland, and thus a form of immortality, Patch perishes, his treasure eventually appearing in Neverland. One episode involves Hook finding the treasure, and unwittingly awakening the malevolent ghost of his elder brother.

Hook (1991 Film)Edit

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 to Neverland after several years away, and negotiates with Tinker Bell to permit the out-of-shape Peter three days to rekindle his spirit. Hook 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 clock tower, at the center of his pirate settlement; but remains terrified of a clock's ticking. As the story progresses and with Smee's suggestion, Hook attempts to persuade Peter's children that their father never loved them as an attempt to keep them in Neverland permanently. He is successful with Peter's son, Jack, who soon sees him as a father figure and he is often frustrated with his father's callous behavior. Whereas, Peter's daughter, Maggie, mistrusted Hook and retains faith in her father in spite of his broken promises. Realizing she has seen past him and still believes in Peter, Hook continues holding Maggie hostage until she loses faith in her father. Rufio valiantly fights Hook in a sword fight and is fatally stabbed by him. Having seen him die, Jack turns against Hook and renews his trust for Peter by leaving the life of a pirate behind. Peter and Hook engage in a final duel amid a circle of Lost Boys, wherein Hook is apparently "eaten" by the crocodile-tower.

In the film, Hook's hook is on his left hand due to Hoffman being right-handed, and has other attachments including a goblet and a pointer. He dresses very elegantly with a gold-trimmed red coat, matching hat, and a wig that hides his balding head. He keeps a ceremonial captain's sword at his side, but uses a proper dueling sword when fighting Rufio and Peter. Hook's physical appearance in the film is heavily influenced by Disney's portrayal, though with greater embellishments of gold and silk on his clothes, and curled ends to his moustache; but he is closer to the characterization in Barrie's novel as 'gentleman pirate'. He also seems able to travel to and from Neverland upon the Jolly Roger (later re-created in Disney's Return to Neverland).

Peter Pan (2003 film)Edit

In the 2003 film adaptation of Peter Pan, Captain James Hook is portrayed by British actor Jason Isaacs. Isaacs also plays the role of George Darling, Wendy's father, following a custom of the original play. In this version, Jason Isaacs has the hook on his right hand and requires a shoulder harness, presumably to help regulate the weight Hook feels using it. Hook in this film is feared and ruthless, but also of a gentleman-like nature. In the climactic duel, Hook learns to fly, thus almost defeating Peter; but the taunts of the Lost Boys negate the necessary enthusiasm, whereupon he falls purposely into the crocodile's mouth.

Sergio Bonelli Editore comic booksEdit

In the Italian comic books published by Sergio Bonelli Editore, Captain Hook appears in at least two different versions. In Martin Mystère comic book, Neverland is located in the heart of London, the Lost Boys are late 18th-century British students influenced by the French Revolution, and Captain Hook is a 18th-century pirate who rules Neverland with an iron fist.[5] In Dylan Dog comic book, Captain Hook's biography is the same as in J. M. Barrie's story, but he left Neverland after his defeat on the hands of Peter Pan. He came to the modern late 20th century world where he became a successful businessman.[6]

Pirates of the CaribbeanEdit

In A. C. Crispin's 2011 novel Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom, Captain Hook appears in a conversation between Captain Teague and Pirate Lord Don Rafael: "You'll never guess who I encountered at Oporto a few months ago. [...] James. [...] He's lost a hand. [...]he said it wasn't so bad, the hook was as good as a dagger in a fight. [...] He didn't look a day older, not a day. [...] James was a lot more...subdued. [...] The taberna keeper's little lad came round to collect our plates, and when he turned and saw he, for just a second he looked--scared. No, worse than that. Terrified. [...] Can you imagine that? Afraid! Of a young boy!"[7] One of the early concept arts for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End showed a pirate similar to Captain Hook as one of the Pirate Lords of the Fourth Brethren Court.

Shrek film seriesEdit

Main article: List of Shrek characters#Captain Hook

Captain Hook is a minor character in the film Shrek 2, playing "Little Drop of Poison" by Tom Waits and "People Just Ain't No Good" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on the piano in the "Poisoned Apple" tavern. In Shrek the Third, he has a greater role as a secondary villain and is voiced by Ian McShane.

Neverland (TV Miniseries)Edit

In the TV miniseries Neverland, James Hook is played by Rhys Ifans. He is introduced as "Jimmy", a fencing teacher and leader of a small group of pickpocketing children, whereof Peter Pan is one. Jimmy is after a mysterious orb, which Peter and his gang steal unknown to Jimmy, and which transmits Jimmy and all the boys, except Peter, to Neverland. Jimmy and the boys (except for one called Fox) are then captured by pirates to be questioned by Elizabeth Bonny, captain of the Jolly Roger. Believing Jimmy useful to herself, Bonny befriends (and later seduces) Jimmy, who reveals his name is James Hook; whereafter Bonny informs Jimmy of her desire to control the fairy dust. Jimmy offers his services to Bonny in exchange for the boys' safety.

Having arrived on Neverland, Peter and Fox attempt to rescue the other boys from the pirates; but in the ensuing battle, Fox is killed by the pirate Starkey. Jimmy, Bonny, and a few pirates follow Peter, Tinker Bell, and Tiger Lily to a hidden city, where Robert Fludd identifies Neverland as a planet at the center of the Universe, accessible by means of the afore-said orb. Jimmy then reveals his unrequited admiration of Peter's dead mother, and a pocket watch belonging to Peter's father.

In service to Bonny, Jimmy searches for the fairy dust, to which purpose he tricks Peter into showing him the fairies' location, where Bonny fails to control them and dies. Jimmy, in a rage, reveals that he killed Peter's father and attempts to leave the island; prompting a duel in which Peter severs Jimmy's right hand, which falls into the water and is eaten by a crocodile. Jimmy throws the pocket watch at Peter; but it misses and is eaten by the same crocodile.

Once Upon a TimeEdit

During the TV series Once Upon a Time Captain Hook made his first appearance in the episode "The Crocodile" played by Colin O'Donoghue,[8] wherein Hook is a young pirate captain named Killian Jones. The "crocodile" that takes his hand is Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) whom Hook likens to a crocodile and who later sought revenge on the pirate for enticing his wife from him. In later appearances, Hook allies himself alternately with various of the story's heroes and villains, according to immediate mutual need; and frequently betrays or abandons his current allies.

2012 Summer Olympics Opening CeremonyEdit

Alongside other inflatable villains such as Lord Voldemort, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil, and The Child Catcher, Captain Hook made an appearance during the opening ceremony of the XXX Olympiad in London, representing one of the villains of British children's literature.


  1. Image from Fifty Years of Peter Pan by Roger Lancelyn Green, Peter Davies Publishing, 1954
  2. Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, 1904
  4. McConnachie and JMB,1938 Speeches by JM Barrie, Peter Davies Publishing
  5. Martin Mystère - London Mystery
  6. Dylan Dog - Passing of Time
  7. Crispin, A. C. (2011). Price of Freedom. Disney Editions. ISBN 978-1-4231-0704-0. 

External linksEdit

Template:Peter Pan Template:Pirates