Recently I bought my daughter the latest Tinker Bell movie, The Pirate Fairy. It's a good enough film, and one of the better in the series. The real reason I was excited is that Tom Hiddleston was playing a young version of Captain Hook. If the thought of Loki flying around with tiny winged pirates who use sewing pins as swords doesn't make you smile, then I can't help you.
But it's starting to bother me because there are three current adventure series in Never Land. There's the two proper Peter Pan movies, Tink's films, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. All three of them are vastly different but take place in the same setting and share characters. I've spent way more time than an adult should trying to figure out how it all fits.
First thing to remember is that fairies and Never Land have an intimate connection to our world, though they are separate. Fairies are born from the laughter of human babies, and I've shown elsewhere how Never Land is more or less created to be the afterlife of dead children.
Pixie Hollow, where the Tinker Bell movies take place, is part of Never Land. It's not its own separate place. Still, the fairies visit our world frequently, as shown in The Great Fairy Rescue. Travel between Never Land and Earth can only be accomplished by flying, but it's made clear in Pirate Fairy that fairies can bring through humans like Hook through other means.
We've never really been shown how Tinker Bell and Peter Pan meet, but by the time Peter Pan and its sequel come around, the two are inseparable. Tink has formed relationships with humans before, but her attitude toward Wendy and family is distinctly more hostile. Tink is damn near psychotic in the course of the two movies, and that change is the hardest to reconcile. Hook has become an established entity in Never Land by this point and, if the film Hook is to be relied upon, still has the ability to travel between worlds.
One theory involves the show Once Upon a Time, which has an unknown canonicity in the Disneyverse but is still licensed. In the show, Tink is a disgraced fairy who has her wings cut off. This leaves her bitter and hateful, and aligned with Peter, who is a much more unsavory figure than he is in film. It's possible that we're seeing Tink still bearing the scars of a storybook restoration that hasn't been shown yet.
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The other theory is jealousy. Not romantic jealousy. Tink's model, Margaret Kerry, has said plenty of times over the years that she didn't consider Tinker Bell to be in love with Peter. No, what's likely to be the cause is jealousy that Wendy might take Peter away from Never Land.
Bear in mind that Tink is the only fairy seen in Peter Pan, and there don't seem to be any in Jake and the Never Land Pirates, either. Izzy carries around a pouch of Pixie that is only for emergencies, indicating that the dust may now be in short supply. In Jake's time, the fairies may have been all but eliminated.
Tink's worries are justified, according to Jake. Peter Pan has gone off to Earth to explore, leaving Jake and his crew in charge of protecting Never Land. It's not until Jake's Never Land Rescue that the real reason is revealed. Peter Pan has been training Jake to take over the role of Guardian of Never Land from him, and after they complete a quest to restore the Forever Tree, Pan and Tink both appear to bestow the ability to fly without pixie dust on Jake. They then leave without him, and Jake settles in with his crew as the protectors of Never Land.
That's the story of Never Land in three parts. There's an idyllic fairy Eden where Tinker Bell happily lives until she meets the guardian Peter Pan. Then there's their adventures together until the outside world comes to lure Pan back to it in the form of Wendy. Finally, there's the catharsis as Pan essentially "grows up" and leaves Never Land in the hands of a new child guardian, taking Tinker Bell, the last of the fairies, with him. Captain Hook, now an essential part of the Never Land dream, remains to give Jake his foil.
At least, that's how one dad who has watched way too many cartoons sees it.
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