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"Well, [no fan has guessed right] that we know of," said OUAT co-creator Adam Horowitz about the Neal/Hook connection in an interview with D23. “Our fans are very smart, and maybe they’ve got it, maybe they haven’t, but we hope it’s a surprise. We can confirm [Neal]’s not Smee.”
That statement also rule seems to rule out Neal being Peter Pan. Adam and co-creator Edward Kitsis have insisted that we won't meet Peter Pan in Season 2, and the Neal = Peter Pan theory has been very publicly guessed by fans (us, for one). Captain Hook only has so many friends in the classic tale, but he has quite a few enemies. Could Neal have been a Lost Boy, perhaps Tootles or Slightly?
There’s also the chance that Neal is not a familiar character from Peter Pan, but rather an original addition, just as he's an original addition to the Rumplestiltskin story. This is not as fun, but perhaps called for considering Neal already has two identities (Neal, Emma’s first love and Henry’s father, and Bae, Rumple’s long-lost son) to keep track of. Three would just be greedy!
We also can't forget the connection that Neal and Hook have through Milah, Bae’s mother and Hook’s love. Could their mutual love for this woman (and disdain for Rumple) have brought this unlikely duo together? We kind of hope their backstory falls somewhere along these lines. Hook and Neal being enemies from the start is just too predictable.
How do you think Neal and Hook are connected? Do they share a pleasant history or a contentious one? Let us know your theories in the comments below!