The inevitably of death and the passage of time are themes David Lowery has returned to over and over in his work, most explicitly in his unconventional supernatural drama “A Ghost Story” and his mesmerizing re-telling of “The Green Knight.” Even “Pete’s Dragon” opens with nothing less than the demise of a five-year-old Pete’s parents in a car accident, which is depicted about as brutally as such a sequence could be within the confines of a PG rating. It’s not just a bit of edginess for its own sake; this moment, coupled with Pete’s nearly-fatal run-in with a pack of wolves and his initial encounter with Elliot right after, serves to establish the movie’s tone, which is a seamless mix of melancholy and wonder. Similarly, the fact that Pete will eventually grow up and have to part ways with Elliot so as to join human society is a key element of the narrative’s conflict and serves to form the film’s thematic backbone.

You can already see how Lowery’s deeper and darker sensibilities are a great match for “Peter Pan and Wendy” based on its trailer. The preview alone shows Wendy (Ever Anderson) lamenting the fact her childhood will unavoidably end, suggesting Lowery and his co-writer/longtime producer, Toby Halbrooks, will hit on the themes of death, mortality, and the never-ending flow of time inherent to J.M. Barrie’s source material far harder than Disney’s original animated movie did. Lowery himself has indicated as much in the past, describing his pitch for the film as “‘The Revenant’ with flying kids” during a 2021 appearance on “The Kingcast” (via GamesRadar+). He even claimed his approach to the movie was “very influenced” by, of all things, Robert Eggers’ horror film “The Lighthouse” during a Reddit AMA conducted that same year.