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Peter Pan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Peter Pan is a book written by Scottish novelist and playwright, J. M. Barrie (1860–1937). Originally titled Peter Pan and Wendy, it was an adaptation of a stage play based on the same characters. It tells the story of a mischievous little boy who refuses to grow up. Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as leader of his gang, the Lost Boys. Pan is based on a child Barrie knew.

Peter Pan and Wendy

This is the portion of J. M. Barrie mythos of Peter Pan that is best known to most readers.

In both the play and the novel, Peter often visits the "real world" of London to listen in on bedtime stories told by Mary Darling to her children. One night, Peter is spotted and, while trying to escape, he loses his shadow. On returning to claim his shadow, Peter wakes Mary's daughter, Wendy Darling. When Wendy succeeds in re-attaching his shadow to him, Peter takes a fancy to her and invites her to Neverland to be a mother to his gang of Lost Boys, the children who are lost in Kensington Gardens. Wendy agrees, and her brothers John and Michael go along. The dangerous and magical flight to Neverland is followed by many adventures. The children are blown out of air by a cannon and Wendy is nearly killed by the Lost Boy Tootles. Peter and the (other?) Lost Boys build a little house for Wendy to live in while she recuperates, a structure to this day is called a Wendy House.) Soon John and Michael adopt the ways of the Lost Boys, while Wendy plays house in mothering them, all the while invoking the jealousy of Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, and the mermaids. Peter is often oblivious, concentrating on real and make-believe adventures and on taunting the pirate Captain Hook. Later follows adventures at Mermaids' Lagoon, the near deaths of Tinker Bell and Peter; a violent pirate/Indian massacre, and a climactic confrontation with Peter's nemesis, the pirate Captain Hook of the pirate ship the Jolly Roger. In the end, Wendy decides that her place is at home, much to the joy of her heartsick mother. Wendy then brings all the boys back to London. Peter remains in Neverland, and Wendy grows up.

In the novel, Barrie includes an additional scene which was not in the play, but which he created for the stage under the title An Afterthought. In this scene, Peter returns to Wendy's house, not realizing that more than twenty years have passed since he took Wendy, John and Michael to Neverland, and that Wendy is now a married woman with a daughter, Jane. Confronted with the news, he breaks down and cries. Wendy leaves the room to try to think, and Peter's sobs awaken Jane, who asks him to take her with him to Neverland and to let her be his new mother. Peter joyfully accepts, and the two fly off together with Wendy sorrowfully looking off after them. Peter will now come for Jane once a year so that she will help him with his spring cleaning.

The additional scene is almost never used in the play or film versions, but it made a poignant conclusion to a famous musical production starring Mary Martin.


Barrie created Peter Pan in stories he told to the sons of his friend Sylvia Llewelyn-Davies, with whom he had forged a special relationship while both were married.

Michael Llewelyn Davies dressed as Peter Pan wrestling with J M Barrie as Hook in August 1906
Michael Llewelyn Davies dressed as Peter Pan wrestling with J M Barrie as Hook in August 1906

The character's name comes from two sources: Peter Llewelyn-Davies, at the time the youngest of the boys, and Pan, the mischievous Greek god of the woodlands. Mrs. Llewelyn Davies' death from cancer came within a few years after the death of her husband. Barrie was named as co-guardian of the boys and unofficially adopted them.

It has also been suggested that the inspiration for the character was Barrie's elder brother David, whose death in a skating accident at the age of thirteen deeply affected their mother. According to Andrew Birkin, author of J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys, the death was "a catastrophe beyond belief, and one from which she never fully recovered… If Margaret Ogilvy [Barrie's mother as the heroine of his 1896 novel of that title] drew a measure of comfort from the notion that David, in dying a boy, would remain a boy for ever, Barrie drew inspiration."

Maude Adams as Peter in an early stage production
Maude Adams as Peter in an early stage production

Peter Pan first appeared in print in a 1902 book called The Little White Bird, a fictionalised version of Barrie's relationship with the Llewelyn Davies children, and was then used in a very successful stage play, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, which premiered in London on December 27, 1904.

In 1906, the portion of The Little White Bird which featured Peter Pan was published as the book Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. Barrie then adapted the play into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy (most often now published simply as Peter Pan).

There are seven statues of Peter Pan playing a set of pipes, cast from a mold by sculptor George Frampton, following an original commission by Barney. The statues are in Kensington Gardens in London, Liverpool, Brussels, Camden, New Jersey, Perth, Toronto, and Bowring Park in St. John's, Newfoundland.

A new statue of Peter Pan was commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital to celebrate J.M. Barrie's generous gift of the copyright. Unveiled by ex-Primeminister James Callaghan in 2000, the bronze by Diarmuid Byron O'Connor shows Peter blowing fairy dust over the passing children. The original design included Tinker Bell stealing Wendy's kiss from his finger.This addition was unveiled by the Countess of Wessex in 2005. A limited edition of this statue has been created to raise money for the children's charity.


Peter Pan

Main article: Peter Pan (fictional character)

Peter Pan is the male hero of the novel. He is described as a beautiful boy who still has all his first teeth; he wears clothes made of leaves, cobwebs, and the juices that run from trees. He hates all adults, particularly women because he believes he was forgotten by his birth mother. Peter is extremely cocky, often stealing ideas from other children. He is the only boy able to fly without the help of fairy dust, and he can play the panpipes. Peter is afraid of nothing except his nightmares - Barrie attributes this to "the riddle of his existence".

The Darling Family

  • Wendy Moira Angela Darling - Wendy is the eldest, the only daughter and the heroine of the novel. She loves the idea of homemaking and wants to become a mother; her dreams consist of adventures in a little woodland house with her pet wolf. She loves Peter Pan, and bears a bit of jealousy against Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell. She grows up at the end of the novel, with a daughter (Jane) and a granddaughter (Margaret).
Barrie is sometimes said to have "invented" the name Wendy with this story. He wanted to use an uncommon name for the girl, so his original name for the character of Wendy was "Mia Angela Carol Darling." The name Wendy came about because Barrie's friend, poet William Henley, called Barrie "friend." Overhearing this word, Henley's 4-year-old daughter Margaret could only pronounce it as "My Fweiendy" or "Fwendy-Wendy".
In fact, the name was already in use in both the United States and the United Kingdom, but was extremely rare. The Peter Pan stories popularized the name, at first in the UK. Wendy is related to the Welsh name Gwendolyn, and was used by Barrie at a time when Welsh names were making a resurgence in England.[citation needed]
  • John Darling - John is the middle child. He gets along well with Wendy, but he often argues with Michael. He is fascinated with pirates, and he once thought of becoming "Redhanded Jack". He dreams of living in an inverted boat on the sands, where he has no friends and spends his time shooting flamingos. The character of John was based on Jack Llewellyn-Davies.
  • Michael Nicholas Darling - Michael is the youngest child. He is approximately five years old, as he still wears the pinafores young Edwardian boys wear. He looks up to John and Wendy, dreaming of living in a wigwam where his friends visited at night. He was based on Michael and Nicholas Llewellyn-Davies.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Darling - George and Mary Darling are the children's loving parents. Mr. Darling is a pompous, blustering business man who loves attention, but he is really kind at heart. Mary Darling is described as an intelligent, romantic lady. It is hinted that she knew Peter Pan before her children were born.
  • Nana - Nana is a Newfoundland dog who was employed by the Darling family in Kensington Gardens. Nana is played by Alejandra Gularte of Syt of Susin city.

The Lost Boys

  • Tootles - Tootles is the humblest Lost Boy because he often misses out on their violent adventures. Although he is often stupid, he is always the first to defend Wendy. He grows up to become a judge. However, in Peter Pan in Scarlet, Tootles turns into a girl because he only has daughters to borrow clothes from.
  • Nibs - Nibs is described as gay and debonair, probably the bravest Lost Boy. He is chased by wolves in chapter five, and tattles on Slightly in chapter ten. He says the only thing he remembers about his mother is she always wanted a cheque-book; he says he would love to give her one. He grows up to work in an office.
  • Slightly - Slightly is the most conceited because he believes he remembers the days before he was "lost". He is the only Lost Boy who "knows" his last name - he says his pinafore had the words "Slightly Soiled" written on the tag. He cuts whistles from the branches of trees, and dances to tunes he creates himself. Slightly is apparently a poor make-believer. He blows big breaths when he feels he is in trouble, and he eventually leads to Peter's almost-downfall. Slightly grows up to marry a noblewoman and becomes a lord.
  • Curly - Curly is the most troublesome Lost Boy. He is in charge of building the little house in chapter six. Curly grows up to work in an office; he is a doctor in Peter Pan in Scarlet.
  • The Twins - First and Second Twin know little about themselves - they are not allowed to, because Peter Pan does not know what Twins are. First Twin is a mighty dancer, who loves to wear a dunce cap. He is called proud in Peter Pan and Wendy. The Twins grow up to work in an office. In Peter Pan in Scarlet, they are given the names Marmaduke and Binky.

Inhabitants of Neverland

Tiger Lily is the proud, beautiful princess of the Piccaninny Tribe. She is apparently old enough to be married, but she refuses any suitors because she loves Peter. She is jealous of Wendy and Tinker Bell. Tiger Lily was nearly killed by Captain Hook when she was seen boarding the Jolly Roger with a knife in her mouth, but she was saved by Peter.

Tinker Bell is Peter Pan's fiery, jealous fairy. She is described as a common fairy who mends pots and kettles and, though sometimes ill-behaved and vindictive, at other times she is helpful and kind to Peter (for whom she apparently has romantic feelings). The extremes in her personality are explained by the fact that a fairy's size prevents her from holding more than one feeling at a time. She returns in the novel Peter Pan in Scarlet, where she falls in love with a new fairy, called Fireflyer, ending up marrying with him.

Captain Hook is the revengeful pirate who lives to kill Peter Pan, because Peter cut off his right hand. He is captain of the Jolly Roger. Hook meets his demise when he is eaten by a crocodile. He returns in the novel Peter Pan in Scarlet, where he got out of the belly of the crocodile, after years in it, feeding on the crocdile's eggs, with a new identity, Ravello the Circus Master. He ends up turning back to his old self, after putting is old red jacket.

Smee is an Irish, Nonconformist pirate. He is the boatswain of the Jolly Roger. Smee was one of only two pirates to survive Peter Pan's massacre. He then made his living saying he was the only man James Hook ever feared.

Starkey, also known as Gentleman Starkey, was once an usher at a public school. He is Captain Hook's first mate. Starkey was one of two pirates who escaped Peter Pan's massacre - he swam ashore and became the baby-sitter to the Piccaninny Tribe. Peter Pan gave Starkey's hat to the Never Bird to use as a nest.


The most apparent thematic thread in the story concerns "growing up" (or not), with the character of Peter wanting to remain a child forever in order to avoid the responsibilities of adulthood. "Peter Pan syndrome" has become a psychiatric term named by Dr. Dan Kiley to describe an adult who is afraid of commitment and/or refuses to act his age. It is also sometimes used to positively describe an innocent, childlike approach to life.

Along with the theme of "growing up" is the theme of death and innocence. Barrie's tale is intricately tied to the real Llewelyn-Davies boys and the deaths of both their mother and father.

Peter and Wendy form a contrast between childhood and maturity. Peter Pan remains a child in mind because he cannot feel pain of death affecting him or those around him. Peter has one emotion only: gladness, and occasionally to that he adds fury. He forgets soon after the fact anything that is not happy and lighthearted: "I always forget them after I kill them".

There is a slight romantic aspect to the story, which is sometimes played down, or omitted completely, in the movie adaptations. Wendy's flirtatious (by standards of the day) desire to kiss Peter, his desire for a mother figure, his conflicting feelings for Wendy, Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell (each representing different female archetypes), and the symbolism of his fight with Captain Hook (traditionally played by the same actor as Wendy's father), all could possibly hint at a Freudian interpretation (see Oedipus Complex). Most "children's adaptations" of the play omit any romantic themes between Wendy and Peter, but Barrie's 1904 original, his 1911 novelization of it, and most musicals at least hint at the romantic elements.

Another theme, also mentioned in the 2004 film Finding Neverland was made about Hook and the ticking crocodile. The statement was "It is all the work of the ticking crocodile. Time is chasing after all of us." This statement and the croc itself represent how we sometimes run away from time but it ultimately will catch up.

It is traditional in productions of Peter Pan, whether theatrical or on movie or TV, for Mr. Darling (the children's father) and Captain Hook to be played (or voiced) by the same actor. This highlights the similarity between the two characters as central figures in the lives of the children. It also brings a poignant juxtaposition between Mr. Darling's harmless bluster and Captain Hook's pompous vanity. This technique of tying two characters together was later used in The Wizard of Oz and Into the Woods, among others.


Peter Pan has been adapted for stage and screen many times. Following the example of Barrie's original stage version, Peter usually — but not always — has been played by an adult female. This is a convention of pantomime as the play was originally produced.

Captain Hook fends off the crocodile in the first film version of Peter Pan
Captain Hook fends off the crocodile in the first film version of Peter Pan


Paramount Pictures released the first film version of Peter Pan in 1924, a silent movie starring Betty Bronson as Peter and Ernest Torrence as Hook.


Several musical versions of the play have been produced, of which the best known are Leonard Bernstein's 1950 version, and, especially, the 1954 version mounted by Jerome Robbins (originally to have only a few incidental songs with music by Moose Charlap and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, but evolved into a full Broadway show with additional music by Jule Styne and lyrics by the team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green). The 1954 version became widely known as a vehicle for Mary Martin and later for a series of female gymnasts, including Cathy Rigby.

The 1979 stage version, a revival of the 1954 musical version, starred Broadway and television actress Sandy Duncan.



The 1954 stage version was re-staged for television by NBC as part of its monthly high-quality dramatic series Producers' Showcase and broadcast on March 7, 1955 as a historic, live color television event.

Mary Martin as Peter
Mary Martin as Peter

. The production was so well received that Producers' Showcase remounted a second live version on January 9, 1956. Mary Martin played TV's Peter Pan for the third time on December 8, 1960 and it is this version, recorded on color videotape that was repeated in 1963, 1966 and 1973. Subsequently it was presumed lost and not broadcast again until March of 1989. In the meantime, a new TV musical production was broadcast on NBC's Hallmark Hall of Fame on December 12, 1976. It starred Mia Farrow as Peter and Danny Kaye as Captain Hook. Notably, it had a brand new score, with music and lyrics by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse. The recorded voice of Julie Andrews was also a part of the production, singing one of the numbers. However, it was a quick failure which is all but forgotten today.

Disney's Peter with the Lost Boys
Disney's Peter with the Lost Boys


On February 5, 1953, Disney released its animated film version of Peter Pan with music by Sammy Cahn, Frank Churchill, Sammy Fain, and Ted Sears. 15-year-old film actor Bobby Driscoll supplied the voice of Peter. In the film, a visual reference is made to Peter's ties to the Pan of Greek mythology by showing him absentmindedly playing the Pan pipes (also called pan flute), which the nature spirit was famous for playing. This version contained none of the original lines said in the book.


In 1989, Nippon Studios released an anime version, Piita Pan no Bouken, as part of its World Masterpiece Theater series. The first 23 episodes are a loose adaptation of Barrie's story, while the latter half of the series introduces a completely original arc with new supporting characters. Takashi Nakamura, chief animator of Akira, did the character design for this project. The series adapts the story fairly well, even though the character designs are somewhat over the top (Peter for example, bears a striking resemblance to One Piece's Usopp and Tinker Bell's hairstyle has a somewhat punk-like appearance.) Most of Piita Pan no Bouken voice actors are the same as the voice overs for the Disney film and they reappear for Kingdom Hearts and its sequel.

2003's Peter Pan.
2003's Peter Pan.

Further Stories

In 1990, Fox Studios released the short-lived cartoon series Peter Pan and the Pirates, about the daily adventures of Peter, Wendy, and the Lost Boys. Voice talents in the cast included Jason Marsden as Peter and Tim Curry as Captain Hook. Curry won an Emmy for his performance. The series is notable for drawing much of its characterization from the original book and play, particularly Captain Hook and his henchman Smee, so that they are not one-dimensional villains but complex, even ambiguous figures.

1991 saw the release of the Steven Spielberg directed family drama Hook, featuirng Robin Williams as Peter Pan and Dustin Hoffman as the title character. This unique version takes place about 80 years after the events portrayed in the original tale. The story is that after Wendy returned to London (with Tootles), Peter continued visiting her every so often and was eventually shocked to find that she had become an old woman. He fell in love with her grandaughter and stayed, being raised by "Grandma Wendy". Growing up in the "real" world, Peter forgot all about Neverland and his past. He married Wendy's grandaughter, moved to America, had two children, and became a successful lawyer. He is a well-intentioned but overprotective and neglectful father. The story begins with Peter and family's long-overdue visit to Wendy's house in London, where his kids are kidnapped by Captain Hook, who has been waiting for revenge. Tinkerbell takes Peter to Neverland, and she (along with the comical Lost Boys) are faced with the task of making Peter remember who he really is, despite his resistance. This "update" or "sequel" highlights many of the original themes, including the romantic aspect and the idea that we must someday grow up, but should never lose important childlike qualities.

In 2000, the Cathy Rigby version, featuring almost all of the songs used in the 1954 version, was telecast by A&E on cable television. Both the Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby versions were eventually released on VHS and DVD, but the Mary Martin version has gone out of print. As of now no efforts are being made to reissue it.

P. J. Hogan's 2003 live-action film version Peter Pan is notable for its directness in addressing the romantic elements between Peter (Jeremy Sumpter) and Wendy. Wendy was played by Rachel Hurd-Wood and Hook by Jason Isaacs, who also plays the role of the Darling children's father. While the $100 million film boasted state-of-the-art special effects, and took nearly a year to produce in Australia, it was a major bomb for Universal Studios. While critics praised the film's sumptuous production design and visual effects, they were divided on the film's message, particularly the odd romance (which included a fantasy of Wendy imagining Peter hovering over her bed). Other critics were taken aback by American actor Jeremy Sumpter's portrayal of Pan; he's the only member of the cast with a decidedly American accent.


In 2005, the world premiere recording of Leonard Bernstein's Peter Pan was released. This historic CD features almost an hour of previously unheard music which was restored from Bernstein's manuscript by the internationally renown conductor Alexander Frey. Frey conducts the recording which also features Broadway superstar Linda Eder in the role of Wendy, and highly acclaimed baritone Daniel Narducci as Captain Hook, along with chorus and orchestra. The recording was released on the Koch International Classics label.

In December 2006 it was produced, with the full version of the Bernstein score - including Hook's Soliloquy which was written for the 1952 US Tour but never performed - by the Kings Head Theatre in Islington, London with a cast incuding Katherine Kastin (Peter Pan) and Peter Land (Captain Hook). Directed by Stephanie Sinclaire and featuring new musical arrangements by Mike Dixon.


Peter Pan is a popular pantomime. Consistant with the genre, though full professional productions, each production varies from the story as needed for entertainment and laughs.

Sequels and prequels

There have been several additions to Peter Pan's story created, both authorised and not.


In 1990, French artist Regis Loisel began a series of comic books titled Peter Pan, which constitute a bawdy, violent prequel to Barrie's work, and give Peter Pan's backstory a distinctly Dickensian flavor. The series consists of six volumes.

In October 2001, R. Scott Leatherwood's Neverland: the Early Adventures of Peter Pan was released. It attempted to answer seventeen questions about Peter's life before meeting the Darling children.

Hyperion Books (a subsidiary of Disney) published the 2004 book Peter and the Starcatchers by humorist Dave Barry and suspense writer Ridley Pearson. It is an unofficial prequel to the story of Peter and Wendy, set on a ship called Never Land. In 2005, the publisher announced plans by Disney to adapt the book as a digitally animated movie, and to publish a sequel, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, and a series of five chapter books titled The Never Land Adventures, the first two of which—Escape from the Carnivale and Cave of the Dark Wind—were last planned to be released in Fall 2006. Escape from the Carnivale has been published, as has Peter and the Shadow Thieves.

In 2004, Karen Wallace's Wendy hit the stands. Supposedly a prequel to the events in Peter Pan, it is an attempt to justify the Darling children's willingness to fly away with Peter on the grounds that their home life, up to shortly before Peter appeared, had been filled with abuse and tragedy: a cruel nanny, a criminally irresponsible father, a suggestion of insanity in the family.

In 2005, James V. Hart (also the co writer of the movie Hook) published the book Capt. Hook by arrangement with Great Ormond Street Hospital. The book details the history of 15-year old James Matthew, young Oppidan Scholar and future Captain Hook. The book portrays the villainous youth in a sympathetic light.


Gilbert Adair's novel Peter Pan and the Only Children was published in 1987. It has Peter living with a new gang of Lost Boys under the ocean, recruiting children who fall from passing ships as new members.

Steven Spielberg's 1991 film Hook (Novelized by Terry Brooks) has a grown-up Peter (played by Robin Williams) lured back to Neverland by Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) who has kidnapped Peter's two young children, in an attempt to once again find meaning in his life, as his one life goal was the capture/death of Peter Pan. (Robert DeNiro had been considered for the role of Captain Hook prior to the casting of Hoffman)

J.E. Somma published After the Rain: A New Adventure for Peter Pan in 2001. It is set in modern times, and tells of Peter's reaction to a world that has grown to neglect him, and his rescue by three children who teach him that it's OK to grow up.

In 2002, Disney released Return to Neverland, a sequel to the 1953 Disney adaptation, in which Wendy's daughter Jane becomes involved with Peter Pan. This sequel is set during the Blitz (1940), and deals with the issue of children being forced to grow up too fast. The movie takes place during World War II.

Another related series published by Disney Press was released in late 2005. The Disney Fairy series began with "Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg" by Newbery award winning author Gail Carson Levine. It introduces a new cast of Neverland fairies, one of whom is Tinker Bell. Peter Pan and Captain Hook are mentioned in the book, but play very minor roles. Additional books in the series are intended for younger readers, and were written by various authors, focusing on the different characters invented by Carson Levine.

Also in 2005, Great Ormond Street Hospital announced that Geraldine McCaughrean had been chosen to write a hospital-authorised sequel to Barrie's novel. Her book is entitled Peter Pan in Scarlet[1] and was published simultaneously in 35 different editions in 31 languages, worldwide on October 5, 2006. The book is published by Oxford University Press in the UK and Margaret K McElderry (Simon & Schuster) in the US. [1]

Other references in entertainment

Statue of Peter Pan in St. John's, Newfoundland
Statue of Peter Pan in St. John's, Newfoundland

Very likely as a piggyback to the Mary Martin production, the Overtones, a radio drama group consisting of Carol Beth and Rickey Rood and a small orchestra, recorded a 45rpm two-part adaptation of the Peter Pan story for Cricket Records. The script and music were entirely original and were based on the book, not on the Disney film or the musical.

Jim Steinman created a musical titled Neverland, based on Barrie's story, with much more adult overtones. Thematically all, or at least most, of Steinman songs and works, can be seen as ongoing parts of his Neverland.

Queen's 1978 single Bicycle Race contains the line "I don't believe in Peter Pan."

Kate Bush's 1978 album Lionheart includes the song "In Search of Peter Pan". In addition, another song on the same album, "Oh England My Lionheart" contains the line "Peter Pan steals the kids in Kensington Park".

In 1980, Petula Clark starred in Never, Never Land as a woman whose niece, captivated by Barrie's tale, runs away and takes refuge with a group of "lost boys" squatting in a deserted London townhouse.

Brian Moriarty's 1986 interactive fiction title Trinity prominently features the Kensington Gardens and the Peter Pan statue on the shore of the Serpentine, and makes frequent reference to The Little White Bird.

The 1987 Joel Schumacher film The Lost Boys featured several teen actors as ageless vampires, loosely styled after the lost boys of Peter Pan.

In 1989, British pop group Five Star performed a medley of Peter Pan songs "You Can Fly", "Never Smile At A Crocodile" and "Second Star To The Right" for a BBC Television special celebrating the works of Walt Disney.

The 1994 Blues Traveler release Four includes Peter Pan in the second verse of the song "Hook." John Popper also ties the song title to Captain Hook in his transition to the chorus.

The 1997 comic book mini-series The Lost by Marc Andreyko and Jay Geldhof starred a vampiric boy hustler named Peter who leads a small group of vampire boys, and lures a girl named Wendy to join them.

In the 1998 videogame The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Kokiri are a race of children that live in a forest named after them, all possess fairies, wear green tunics, and never age. They do not show themselves to the outside world, as they believe they will die if they leave the forest. It is revealed that the main character, Link, is not a Kokiri but an adopted Hylian.

In Aimee Mann's 1999 song "Save Me", Peter Pan was referenced in her lyrics.

Pop singer Michael Jackson proclaimed in the 2003 documentary Living With Michael Jackson, "I am Peter Pan."

In The Jubilee's song "The Little White Bird", it is referring to Wendy Darling from Peter Pan's perspective.

The 1990s animated series The Mask included a character named "Skillet," who didn't age, dressed in green, could fly, and had a detachable shadow. However, he was a villain, and sent his shadow out to absorb the youth of other people. Skillet's name was presumably based on "pan" as a cooking utensil. It should be noted, however, that the character also borrows elements from Superman villain Mr. Mxyzptlk as well. As well, the voice of "Skillet" was first voiced by Jason Marsden, who supplied the voice of Peter Pan in the animated series Peter Pan and the Pirates

Peter Pan plays an important part as a background character in the 2002 novel The League of Heroes by Xavier Mauméjean. The story is set in an alternate universe in which Neverland has materialized in Kensington Gardens. The fairy folk are commonplace in London, as are pirates and Indians. Peter Pan is considered an enemy of the repressive government and is pursued by the League whose members include Lord Admiral Hook (Captain Hook), Sherlock Holmes, and Lord Greystoke (Tarzan).

The Disney version of Peter Pan also appeared in the 2002 video game Kingdom Hearts. In it, Captain Hook's ship intercepts the Gummi Ship, and Sora and his friends are taken aboard it, just as Peter Pan attempts to rescue Wendy. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Sora finds himself in a facsimilie of Captain Hook's ship. Peter is there to rescue Wendy, but initially abandons her when he hears that she wants to return to London, afraid that she will forget him. He, however, rescues Wendy when Captain Hook holds her hostage, and after Hook's defeat, Sora convinces him that Wendy will remember him. Peter Pan and Tinker Bell are also used in the 2006 video game "Kingdom Hearts II", where they help Sora as a magical summon that you receive towards the end of the game.

In 2003 New Media Entertainment released Neverland, a modern punk version of the Peter Pan saga with homosexual undertones. It features Wil Wheaton as John Darling.

Finding Neverland, a 2004 film starring Johnny Depp as Barrie and Kate Winslet as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, was a somewhat fictionalized account of their relationship and how it led to the development of Peter Pan. It was based on the 1998 play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee.

New Line Cinema have greenlit a movie project entitled "Pan," written by screenwriter Ben Magid, which casts Peter in his most controversial role yet...that of a psychopathic killer stalked by a John McClane-style Captain Hook in the present day.

The track Neverland from the 2004 Marillion album "Marbles" contains numerous references to Wendy, Captain Hook, the Crocodile and the titular Neverland.

The 2006 album "Blind Guardian" clearly references Peter Pan in their lyrics.

In Dreamworks' film Shrek, Peter Pan is shown briefly while in line to sell Tinker Bell. His only line is the famous "He can fly!"

In the animated television show The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Grim sees Peter Pan and calls him, "That kid in tights who sprinkles fairy dust on everything".

The 2006 webcomic Cheshire Crossing, by Andy Weir, features Wendy Darling, Dorothy Gale from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Alice Liddell from Alice in Wonderland as inmates in an institution intended to study how they can travel to fantasy worlds. They are placed under the supervision of governess Mary Poppins.

In Greg Bear's Anvil of Stars the boys on the spaceship are called 'lost boys', and the women, 'wendys'

"Peter Pan" was track 12 off of Patty Griffin's "Flaming Red".

On October Fall's album A Season In Hell, the lyrics "Neverland is just around the corner, I'm done with this getting older" are in the song Hey, Hey.

Copyright status

The copyright status of Peter Pan varies from one jurisdiction to another, and is disputed in at least one of them. The question is complicated somewhat by the various versions in which the story has been published. For example, elements introduced in the earliest versions of the story by Barrie may be in public domain in a given jurisdiction, but elements introduced in later editions or adaptations might not. For example, Disney holds the copyright for the character designs, songs, etc. introduced in the 1953 animated film, but not for the characters themselves.

European Union

Great Ormond Street Hospital (to which Barrie assigned the copyright as a gift before his death) claims full copyright in the European Union until the end of 2007. In the 1990s, the term of copyrights was standardised throughout the EU (see Directive on harmonising the term of copyright protection) to extend 70 years after the creator's death. Although Peter Pan was considered public domain in some jurisdictions at that time, this provision placed it back under copyright protection.

United Kingdom

The UK copyright for Peter Pan originally expired at the end of 1987 (50 years after Barrie's death), but was reestablished through 2007 by the European Union directive. Additionally, in 1988 the government had enacted a perpetual extension of some of the rights to the work, entitling the hospital to royalties for any performance or publication of the work (or works based on the play, such as those re-using the characters). This is not a true perpetual copyright, however, as it does not grant the hospital creative control nor the right to refuse permission. Nor does it cover the Peter Pan sections of The Little White Bird, which pre-dates the play and was not therefore an 'adaptation' of it. The exact phrasing is in section 301 of, and Schedule 6 to, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988:

301. The provisions of Schedule 6 have effect for conferring on trustees for the benefit of the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London, a right to a royalty in respect of the public performance, commercial publication, broadcasting or inclusion in a cable programme service of the play 'Peter Pan' by Sir James Matthew Barrie, or of any adaptation of that work, notwithstanding that copyright in the work expired on 31 December 1987.
1.—(1) In this Schedule—
"the Hospital" means The Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London,
"the trustees" means the special trustees appointed for the Hospital under the National Health Service Act 1977; and
"the work" means the play "Peter Pan" by Sir James Matthew Barrie.
2.—(1) The trustees are entitled, subject to the following provisions of this Schedule, to a royalty in respect of any public performance, commercial publication, broadcasting or inclusion in a cable programme service of the whole or any substantial part of the work or an adaptation of it.[2]

United States

The conversion of U.S. copyright terms from a fixed number of years following publication, to an extending number of years following the creator's death, has introduced confusion over Peter Pan's copyright status. Great Ormond Street Hospital claims that U.S. legislation effective in 1978 and again in 1998 extended their copyright until 2023. Their claim is based on the copyright for the play script for Peter Pan, which was not published until 1928. By then, the character of Peter Pan had appeared in three previously published books, the copyrights of which have since expired.

GOSH's claim is contested by various parties, including Disney, who had cooperated with the hospital previously, but in 2004 published Dave Barry's and Ridley Pearson's Peter and the Starcatchers without permission or royalty payments. The Library of Congress catalog states that the original edition of Peter and Wendy was published in 1911, and Disney asserts that that material, like any other work published before 1923, was already in the public domain at the time of these extensions, and was therefore ineligible to be extended.

A dispute between the hospital and writer J.E. Somma over the U.S. publication of her sequel After the Rain, was settled out of court in March 2005. GOSH and Somma issued a joint statement which characterized her novel as "fair use" of the hospital's "U.S. intellectual property rights". Their confidential settlement does not set any legal precedent, however. [3]

Other jurisdictions

The original versions of Peter Pan are in the public domain at least in Australia, in Canada (where Somma's book was first published without incident) and in Switzerland (where the copyright expired and was not renewed when the term was later extended; see Copyright law of Switzerland).


Like many other works of fiction from the era (such as the works of Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain), the Peter Pan canon contains much material which may be construed as offensive to modern audiences, though it was likely not intended to be offensive or considered inappropriate at the time.

Specifically, the books have been accused of both racism and sexism. The former charge primarily concerns the portrayal of Native Americans in Peter And Wendy — the portrayal is highly stereotypical, with Native Americans being shown as warlike primitives who speak in guttural tones. Barrie's treatment of female characters has also been criticized by modern readers — most of the female characters in Peter And Wendy (Wendy, Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, and the mermaids) fawn after Peter Pan (and Tinker Bell makes several attempts on Wendy's life, out of jealousy), yet Peter ignores all of their affections.

This criticism is also leveled against several more recent adaptations of the story, most notably the 1953 animated Disney film which contains a song often criticized as offensive, "What Made The Red Man Red?", a catalog of Native American stereotypes. Until the 2002 release of the DVD version of this film (which included all of the allegedly offensive content, uncensored), it was widely speculated that Disney's Peter Pan would meet the same fate as the film version of Song of the South, which has heretofore been withheld (by Disney) from the United States market on the grounds that it deals with too sensitive of an issue.[citation needed]

Many authors of recent adaptations of Peter Pan (as well as virtually all of the modern 'sequels') have chosen to soften (or eliminate altogether) the harsh portrayal of Native Americans. The 2003 film version directed by P. J. Hogan has been noted for going to the opposite extreme; several reviewers have criticized it for being excessively politically correct. The Disney animated sequel, Return to Neverland, features a heroine (Wendy's daughter, Jane) who, rather than being a passive 'damsel in distress', is fully capable of defending herself (and saving Peter from the clutches of Captain Hook). It should also be noted that in this sequel, no Native Americans are actually seen, but only alluded to in a scene where, flying over Neverland, Jane sees a teepee with smoke rising out of it.

Alan Moore's graphic novel Lost Girls, released in collected form in July 2006, is also controversial, setting Wendy Darling alongside L. Frank Baum's Dorothy Gale from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Lewis Carroll's Alice Liddell from Alice In Wonderland in 1913, telling each extremely sexual stories.[2][3][4]

See also

  • Randy Constan
  • Peter Pan syndrome
  • Finding Neverland, semi-fictional film about Barrie as he wrote Peter Pan (2004)
  • Hook (film)
  • Peter Pan (disambiguation)
  • Peter Pan's Flight, an attraction at many of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.


  1. ^ McCraughrean, Geraldine (2006). Peter Pan In Scarlet. Margaret K. McElderry. ISBN 1-4169-1808-6.
  2. ^ Rich Johnston. Lying in the Gutter Volume 2 Column 54. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved on May 31, 2006.
  3. ^ Comic row over graphic Peter Pan,,2-2238812,00.html
  4. ^ MattBrady. Top Shelf, Ormond Street Hospital Settle Over Peter Pas in Lost Girls. Newsarama. Retrieved on October 27, 2006.

General references

  • Barrie, James Matthew and Scott Gustafson (illustrator). Peter Pan: The Complete and Unabridged Text, Viking Press, October 1991. (ISBN 0-670-84180-3).
  • Birkin, Andrew. J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys.
  • Peter Pan, available freely at Project Gutenberg (Note: Project Gutenberg claims a copyright "to assist in the preservation of this edition in proper usage". It is only to be distributed in the United States).
  • People's memories of the Peter Pan statue
  • The Victorian Web: Frampton's Peter Pan statue
  • The Adventures of Peter Pan (electronic text)
  • Peter Pan at the Big Cartoon DataBase
  • Murray, Roderick. "An Awfully Big Adventure: John Crook's Incidental Music to Peter Pan". The Gaiety (Spring 2005). (pp. 35-36)

External links

  • A Peter Pan impersonator
  • Theatre Cedar Rapids Peter Pan Photo Gallery
  • Review of 2003 film version
  • Common Sense Media review of the 1953 film (2002 DVD release)
  • Peter Pan @ Bristol Hippodrome
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