Trivia / Peter Pan

The original story provides examples of:

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: "Second to the right", not, as in the Disney version, "Second star to the right". As a result of Disney's adaptation, most adaptations have Neverland be literally a star, when it was not in the original novel.
  • Continuity Nod: Captain Hook is revealed to have been at Eton College. This was hinted at in the original play note , and confirmed by J. M. Barrie, it in a speech he gave at Eton in 1927.
  • What Could Have Been: In the original drafts of the play Hook survived the crocodile and went to chase Peter and Wendy down in London.

Disney's Peter Pan provides examples of:

  • Acting for Two: As in the tradition for Captain Hook and Mr Darling to be played by the same actor on stage, they are both voiced by Hans Conreid. They're also drawn to look a little similar.
  • Actor Allusion: Wendy shares a voice actress with Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and several scenes play this up. Her general personality resembles Alice in the first place, and her rambling to Peter when she first meets him seems to call back to how much of Alice in Wonderland is taken up of Alice talking to herself. Additionally Kathryn Beaumont was the live action model for both Wendy and Alice.
    Peter: Girls talk too much.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Averted. In both movies, Peter is voiced by males: Bobby Driscoll in the first movie and Blayne Weaver in Return to Neverland. In fact, the Disney version was the first one to have a male play Peter's part rather than a female.
  • Cut Song:
    • "Never Smile at a Crocodile" (though the melody still is heard when Tick-Tock enters the scene, and it appeared in a Sing Along Songs volume), "Neverland" and a few songs for the pirates.
    • "The Second Star to the Right" originated from a deleted song from Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland, "Beyond the Laughing Sky".
    • Another song that was cut involved the pirates trying to persuade the Lost Boys to join their crew. It was eventually replaced with a different song, "The Elegant Captain Hook".
  • Development Hell: This was intended to be Disney's second theatrical film, but Walt didn't get the rights to it until 1939, when J.M. Barrie bequeathed the ones to his play to him. Then, he began developing the story and character designs, and intended it to be his fourth film. However, the onset of World War II put the brakes on this — along with several other films — and it became Disney's fourteenth entry in 1953. This also resulted in the movie appearing as an Early-Bird Cameo along with Alice in Wonderland as a storybook on the shelf at the very beginning of Pinocchio, as well as a brief appearance of a Captain Hook sculpture in The Reluctant Dragon.
  • Image Source:
  • Milestone Celebration:
    • In 1998, Walt Disney Home Video celebrated Peter Pan's 45th Anniversary by selling it on V/H/S and LaserDisc for the first time in eight years, this time with a THX-certified transfer, and the documentary You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan. Unlike most of the LaserDisc documentaries for Disney movies that joined their most elite home video lines of the 21st century, this one accompanied all of its editions under those lines.
    • The 2013 Diamond Edition Blu-ray Discs and high definition digital copies came out exactly 60 years after the theatrical premiere. note 
  • Old Shame:
    • While the film was a success, Walt Disney didn't like the title character himself, citing that he was cold and unlikable.
    • Disney animator Marc Davis said in an interview that he feels this way toward the Indians, saying that they would have portrayed them differently if the film were made today.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original version of the film was much, MUCH darker.
    • There was a storyboarded sequence that showed Peter and the children having one last adventure aboard the flying pirate ship and bidding each other farewell.
    • Early drafts had Nana going with the children to Neverland.
    • Disney considered having only Wendy and Michael go to Neverland, with John staying behind. This would have been to emphasise John as trying to be very much like his father. There are some traces of this - with John being more pompous than the other two - but this trait was dropped.
    • There was going to be a live-action Tinker Bell film, re-telling the events of the film through Tink's eyes, similar to Maleficent, and Tink was to be portrayed by Elizabeth Banks. She was then replace by Reese Witherspoon, who also came on board to produce. The announcement of a live-action remake of Peter Pan, along with the decreasing popularity of the character, as evident from the cancellation of the Disney Fairies films due to low sales, ultimately put an end to this film.

The musical adaptation provides examples of:

  • Acting for Two: Mr. Darling and Captain Hook are played by the same actor, which, like Peter being played by a woman, is tradition. Wendy also plays her own daughter, Jane, when Peter returns years later. Interestingly, J.M. Barrie's original intent was to have the same actor/actress for Captain Hook and Mrs. Darling. Whether the actor would be male or female is unknown. The 2014 NBC adaption breaks tradition somewhat, so Mr. Darling and Smee were played by the same actor. This is most likely because Christopher Walken was cast as Hook, and would seem too old to father 12-year old Wendy and her even younger brothers.
  • The Cast Showoff: Christopher Walken received a few new songs in the 2014 version, "Vengeance" and "A Wonderful World Without Peter", as did the actresses for Wendy (Taylor Louderman) and Mrs. Darling (Kelli O'Hara), who respectively perform "Only Pretend" and "Only Pretend (reprise)". All have melodies borrowed from songs that share composers with some of Peter Pan's numbers.
  • Cut Song:
    • Most showings of the taped special and revivals of the musical omit Liza's ballet with the animals of Neverland and the Lost Boys' reprise of "Wendy". The 2014 TV adaptation does so, as well.
    • A number of versions leave out "Oh My Mysterious Lady", a song originally tailored especially for Mary Martin's vocal range.
    • Subverted with "When I Went Home", in which Peter somberly recalls discovering that after he ran away from home, his parents had another baby, then forgot about him. Mary Martin sang the song in tryout productions, but not when the show finally reached Broadway and TV. Allison Williams does sing it in the 2014 version, when Peter explains to Wendy why he doesn't want to leave Neverland.
  • Follow the Leader: The success of the 1950s televisings motivated the networks to air several other fantasy musicals. Among others, Cinderella became the highest-rated TV program of its time, and The Wizard of Oz (which actually made its big-screen debut 16 years before Peter Pan's first airing) became a yearly tradition across the country.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Defied; the 2014 live broadcast is the first production to have a real dog as Nana.
  • Old Shame: NBC's 2014 adaptation seems to have become this for the network. Its ratings seemed drastically lower than those of their telecast of The Sound of Music the previous year, and it also became Snark Bait for the Internet community. Not even NBC could resist taking potshots at Peter Pan - Saturday Night Live released a parody a mere two nights after its premiere, which showed less mercy to the cast, production design, and choreography than the previous year's TSoM parody did for its subject. This reception prompted producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to call adapting Peter Pan "a mistake", figuring they realized too late that it seemed too outdated and/or Adaptation Overdosed. In December 2015, after NBC's version of The Wiz earned both higher ratings and more positive reviews than Peter Pan, the network reran both The Wiz and The Sound of Music on two separate nights, but denied Peter Pan another airing. Chairman Bob Greenblatt admitted during his announcement of a Hairspray telecast that maybe Peter Pan ran too long compared to its predecessor and successor, but added, “I don’t mean that disparagingly”.
  • The Triple: How Allison Williams told Jake Lucas and John Allyn, who were cast for the 2014 live TV production as John and Michael Darling respectively, that they got their parts.
    *Jake and John are called into a room, where they are greeted by Allison and several members of the production team*
    Allison: Hi, guys! I just had a couple of questions. Um, the first one is: does the idea of like, learning how to fly, does that sound fun to you guys?
    John: Yeah!
    Jake: Yeah!
    John: Oh, my God, fun!
    Allison: Does the idea of like, learning how to fly with me sound like fun?
    Boys: Yeah!
    Jake: Sounds good!
    Allison: Do you want to?
    Boys: Yeah!
    Allison: *softly* Good, 'cause you guys got it! *They embrace*

The 2003 film version provides examples of:

  • Ability over Appearance: A really impressive example. Tinkerbell was originally going to be entirely CGI. However Ludivine Sagnier lobbied for the role and impressed PJ Hogan enough to cast her.
  • Acclaimed Flop: See Box Office Bomb for the second part. However it received near universal critical acclaim and is widely considered to be one of the best Peter Pan adaptations out there. Unshaved Mouse called it superior to the Disney version.
  • Actor-Shared Background: The tattoo Hook has on his shoulder references Eton College, where he went to school. Jason Isaacs also attended there.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $100 million (not counting marketing costs), $130.6 million (counting them). Box office, $48,462,608 (domestically), $121,975,011 (worldwide). Opening around the same time as The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King couldn't have helped.
  • Creator Killer: The movie's financial failure was the motivation for the NBCUniversal merger, as Universal's parent company Vivendi sold 80% of its stake of the studio to General Electric, the then-owner of NBC, shortly after the movie bombed. It couldn't have helped that prior to Peter Pan's release, Vivendi was already saddled with debt thanks to over-expanding its media sector.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original ending would have had the narrator being revealed to be Wendy as a grown woman (whereas it's only implied in the theatrical cut) telling the story to her daughter Jane. Peter would then have visited them and Wendy would have allowed Jane to go off to Neverland with him.
    • Early in production, the film was envisioned as a prequel to Hook.
    • Liam Aiken was about to audition for Peter, but he was deemed too young. He was only twelve at the time and producers wanted an actor in the 14-17 range. Brie Larson likewise auditioned for the role of Wendy.