The enduringly popular story of Peter Pan has appeared in various media over the years.
The character was created by J. M. Barrie in the story "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens", published as part of the book The Little White Bird in 1902, and featured in the stage play Peter Pan, first produced in 1904. Barrie adapted the play into a novel, known variously as Peter and Wendy or just Peter Pan and first published in 1911.
Peter Pan has been adapted as a musical twice.
The version most people think of when they think of Peter Pan: The Musical is the 1954 version originally staring Mary Martin as Peter (the musical continues the tradition of cross-casting women as young boy Peter to this day). Its notability can be attributed to the fact that NBC aired live stagings of the play several times between 1955 and 1960, to excellent ratings.
Numerous screen adaptations exist, including the widely-known Disney version, also from the 1950s.
Between licensing by Great Ormond Street Hospital (who still holds certain rights in the UK) and the expiration of copyright in most of the world, there are clashing Sequel and Prequel books and films. In addition to the 1953 Disney film and a 2002 sequel, there was a 41 episode anime adaption as part of the World Masterpiece Theater series in 1989, the 1990 animated series on the first season of Fox Kids, Steven Spielberg's Hook (1991), a sequel that posits what would have happened had Peter eventually decided to grow up, and a 2003 live-action adaptation. See also Finding Neverland (2004), a Very Loosely Based on a True Story drama about Barrie's conception and initial production of the play.
Peter Pan and its adaptations include:
James M. Barrie works
- Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1902). Peter's first appearance in a stand-alone part of Barrie's novel The Little White Bird. Early-Installment Weirdness abounds.
- Peter Pan (1904). The original stage play.
- Peter Pan (1911). The novelization of the stage play.
- Peter and the Starcatchers (2004). A novel series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson that acts as a prequel to the original story.
- Disney Villains: The Top Secret Files (2005). Disney's interpretation of Captain Hook has his own file.
- Disney Fairies (2005). Disney spinoff novels based on Neverland's fairies.
- Peter Pan in Scarlet (2006). Novel by Geraldine McCaughrean. The official sequel approved by rights-holder Great Ormond Street Hospital. McCaughrean was selected during a competition in 2004, and the book was published in 2006. Her Majesty Elizabeth II received a specially printed copy.
- The Child Thief (2009). Writer/Artist Brom's novel which is a Grimmification of the source material.
- Straight On Till Morning: A Twisted Tale (2019)
- Hooked, a dark contemporary romance novel written by Emily McIntire (2021)
- Wendy, Darling (2021). A Darker and Edgier novel by A.C. Wise that shows what happened to Wendy after she returned to London and her later return to Neverland to save her daughter.
- Hooked (2022). A sequel to Wendy, Darling that explores what became of Captain James Hook after he escaped from Neverland.
- Peter Pan (1954). The second musical (and its various revivals).
- Peter And The Starcatcher (2009). Stage adaptation of the 2004 novel.
- Peter Pan Goes Wrong (2013). A theatre production by Mischief Theatre, about an in-universe stage production of Peter Pan beset with difficulties.
- Peter Pan (1953). The film from the Disney Animated Canon.
- Peter Pan (Burbank Films) (1988). Animated adaptation by Burbank Films Australia.
- Peter Pan & the Pirates (1990). The Fox animated series.
- The New Adventures of Peter Pan (2013). The All-CGI Cartoon by DQ Entertainment.
- Peter Pan (1924). Silent film starring Betty Bronson as Peter and Anna May Wong as Tiger Lily.
- Peter Pan (1976). TV film starring Mia Farrow as Peter and Danny Kaye as Hook/Mr. Darling.
- Hook (1991). A film sequel to the original story in which Peter (Robin Williams) has grown up in the normal world and forgotten everything about Neverland.
- Peter Pan (2003).
- Peter and Wendy (2015). A TV film reimagining of the story with a Framing Device focusing on a teenage girl about to undergo open-heart surgery at the Great Ormond Street Hospital.
- Pan (2015). An origin story for Peter Pan featuring Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard.
- Come Away (2020). An origin story/prequel that combines the story with Alice in Wonderland.
- Wendy (2020). A reimagining of the story with Wendy as the central character.
- The Lost Girls (2022). Like her grandmother and her mother Jane before her, Wendy must escape Pan's hold on her and the promise he wants her to keep.
- Peter Pan & Wendy (2023). A live-action remake of the 1953 Disney animated movie.
- Peter Pan: Neverland Nightmare (TBD). A horror movie made by the creators of Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, making the most of the Public Domain status of the story. No, we're not kidding.
- Neverland (2011). A two part miniseries.
- Once Upon a Time (2012). Hook appears as The Dragon to the first Big Bad in season 2, but by the end of the season, and throughout the first half of season 3, Peter himself is the Big Bad, and Hook is on the side of the heroes.
- Peter Pan (1990). A Comic Book published between 1990 and 2004.
- Pater Panzerfaust (2013). A World War 2 re-imagining, where Peter Pan is a French Resistance leader and Hook is an SS officer.
- Never Never (2020). A Comic Book written by Mark Mc Cann, drawn by Phil Buckenham and another Grimmification of the material, originally published in Heavy Metal.
Manga / Anime
- The Adventures of Peter Pan (1989). An anime adaptation that greatly expands the story.
- Adventures In Neverland (2021). A story driven adventure game.
- Kingdom Hearts (2002). The Disney version of Peter Pan appears in many games in the series, beginning with the first.
- Okashi Na Shima No Peter Pan (2011). An Otome Game re-imagining of Peter Pan, with Wendy Darling as the main protagonist.
- Peter Pan Adventures In Never Land (2002). A third-person side-scrolling Platform Game based on the Disney film.
- The New Adventures of Peter + Wendy (2014). A web series and a modern adaptation.
Tropes from all or most adaptations:
- And Some Other Stuff: The "other stuff" in this case is well-defined, but fictional — flight is powered by a combination of happy thoughts and pixie dust, the latter added specifically to prevent children from trying this at home.
- Betty and Veronica: Wendy (Betty) and Tinker Bell (Veronica) for Peter Pan with Tiger Lily as the Third-Option Love Interest. Although in the book, being a child, he displays no romantic interest in anyone and doesn't even comprehend the concept.
- Big Bad: Captain Hook as he wants revenge for Peter cutting his hand off.
- Bittersweet Ending: Most versions tell of Wendy, her brothers, and the Lost Boys all growing up, with varying degrees of happiness or regret. Wendy herself in time - although it's hinted she hoped Peter would have come for her - gets married and has a daughter. Peter himself stuck forever as a boy revisits Wendy every year - mostly - as promised but at some point she becomes too old to play with him. Tinker Bell, being a fairy, had passed years before. However, Wendy's daughter Jane soon becomes Peter's companion playing out the same role as her mother, and it's implied that future generations of girls through Wendy's bloodline will do the same.
- Blatant Lies:
- Broken Masquerade: Neverland, pirates, fairies.
- Caretaking is Feminine: 12-year-old Wendy becomes the "mother" to the Lost Boys specifically because she's the only girl.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Trope Namer comes from a famous scene. A fairy is mortally wounded any time a child says "I don't believe in fairies;" in the scene in question, Peter uses the effect in reverse to save the fairy Tinker Bell's life by calling on children everywhere to indicate that they do believe in fairies. (In the original stage version - which predates the novel and the various film and television adaptations - this was an audience participation bit...and, in case you're wondering, if the audience is a bunch of heartless bastards who won't clap, the orchestra is instructed to begin the applause.)note
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Tinker Bell is very jealous of anyone else getting Peter's attention, even to the point of attempting to have Wendy murdered.
- Compressed Adaptation: While the novel has the children staying in Neverland for weeks, if not months - Michael has all but forgotten their London home by the time they actually do get back, though to be fair he's very little - most adaptations cut the duration of their stay in Neverland down to a single night and day.
- The Croc Is Ticking: The Trope Namer is the crocodile who swallowed an alarm clock.
- Crosscast Role: In just about any theatrical or film version, Peter is played by a woman. On film, the only exceptions are the Disney version, which has Peter voiced by Bobby Driscoll; the 2003 version with Jeremy Sumpter; and the 2015 reimagining with Zak Sutcliffe. (When counting other reimaginings of the story, Hook with Robin Williams as an adult Peter, and the 2020 reimagining Wendy with Yashua Mack also are exceptions.) Meanwhile, the only male to have played Peter Pan on Broadway is Jack Noseworthy, who was an understudy in Jerome Robbins' Broadway, a musical revue of highlights of choreographer Jerome Robbins' work, which included the Mary Martin Broadway version.
- Damsel in Distress: Wendy, Tinker Bell, and Tiger Lily are all captured at one point or another.
- Dawn Attack: In Neverland, all attacks take place at dawn. Captain Hook is considered a vile scoundrel when he has his pirates attack before dawn, when nobody's ready.
- The Edwardian Era: If only by default as the play and book was written in this era.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Hook. (And, in the Disney movie, Smee—although in the original, he didn't know what a mother was).
- Fate Worse than Death: The Indians particularly feel this way about death by drowning because of their belief that there is no path through water to the Happy Hunting Ground.
- Friendly War:
- The Lost Boys and the Indians take turns attacking each other as a game. It turns serious in the Disney version when the Chief accuses the Boys of kidnapping Tiger Lily, who was actually taken by Captain Hook for the purpose of trying to get the location of Peter Pan's hiding place out of her.
- In the Disney sequel "Return to Neverland", Hook tells Jane that his relationship with Peter is this. He's lying.
- Frozen in Time: The story was supposed to be present day, but it's since become tied with the 1902-1915 time period. Adaptations are rarely set afterwards.
- Growing Up Sucks:
- The motivation of The Lost Boys and Peter Pan running away from home.
- Deconstructed in the Hook movie, as the happy memories that the now adult Peter won as he grew up are what restores his ability to fly.
- Hook Hand: Guess who? Captain James Hook certainly turned out to have a prophetic name when he got a prosthetic hook to replace his hand.
- Inconsistent Spelling: Is Disney's version of the fairy companion's name spelled "Tinkerbell," "Tinkerbelle," or "Tinker Bell"? The Kingdom Hearts series uses Tinker Bell, and so does the new Disney movie that centers around her. It's likely that Tinker Bell is the official spelling, as it is spelled that way in the original novel.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Hook is always seen to be decked out in his finest in all the adaptations.
- Island of Mystery: Neverland itself since its full of fairies, mermaids and pirates.
- Just Desserts: The fate of Hook in the original play and book, as well as many adaptations.
- Literal Disarming: Inverted. At some point prior to the events of the book, Peter and Captain Hook dueled and Peter cut off Hook's right hand, throwing it to a crocodile. Hook made the most of this situation and weaponized his missing member.
- Living Shadow: Peter's shadow is alive and tries to escape. Wendy sews it back on.
- Lost in Imitation: Tons. In many adaptations and spinoffs, nobody ages while on Neverland. Yet in the novel it's clear that people do age and grow to some degree - the Lost Boys arrive as infants, after all, and Peter "thins them out" (which knowing Peter, is probably lethal) if they seem to be growing up. Peter Pan in Scarlet attempts to merge these two extremes by claiming that you can stop aging in Neverland, but only by utterly refusing to even entertain the idea, like Peter does. The moment one of the Lost Boys begins contemplating what he might be when he grows up, he will start growing up. For more examples, see the page on Disney's Peter Pan.
- Masquerade Enforcer: There is one in the form of Pilkington, who appears in The Little White Bird, Or Adventures In Kensington Gardens. He is a schoolmaster with a cane who makes Children go to school. He is described as a shade with a large cane which is described as a hook. The fear of Pilkington is what forces fairies to hide by day. Many consider Pilkington is a precursor of the more famous Captain Hook.
- Meaningful Echo: When Wendy first meets Peter, he's crying over the fact that he can't get his shadow to stick, causing her to ask, "Boy, why are you crying?" Years later, Peter cries again upon finding out that Wendy had grown up and can't return to Neverland, waking up her daughter, Jane, who then asks Peter the exact same thing.
- Minion with an F in Evil:
- Mr Smee. So. Very. Much. The original book goes into great detail about how pathetic-but-loveable he is.
- Though he's still willing to tickle the kids with Johnny Cork-screw if the situation demands it. More than one critic has pointed out that, viewed in a certain light, Smee is deeply frightening in that he's an innocent simpleton who is completely sanguine about murdering children.
- Moby Schtick: Barrie openly acknowledged that the enmity between Captain Hook and Peter, and the crocodile's relentless pursuit of Hook, were inspired by Ahab. Even more emphasized in adaptations that stress Hook's attempts to kill the latter.
- Monster-Shaped Mountain: Skull Rock in the various versions, where Captain Hook takes the kidnapped Princess Tiger Lily.
- Neologism: The name 'Wendy' was not commonly recognized as a viable name for a girl before this book.
- Never Grew Up: The point of Never Land is that all the children who live there never have to grow up, like Peter himself, making this the Trope Namer.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: The crocodile swallowed Hook’s hand and a clock. When it’s near, there is a ticking noise.
- Nominal Hero: Pan, who 'thins out' any Lost Boys who appear to be growing up; can subsist perfectly well on pretend food, and beats any boys who demonstrate hunger after they've missed meals and had to just pretend they ate; cuts parts off the boys to make them 'fit' the trees that are the secret entrances to their hideout; and often changes sides in the middle of battles to make the fight more exciting.
- Noodle Incident: Hook's origins. Barrie wrote, "To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country (England) in a blaze." Future tellings reveal he attended Eton College, although the records were destroyed to prevent further scandal.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You:
- Hook towards Pan. This wasn't as much so in the beginning. Hook saw Pan as another annoying child, but after his hand was fed to the crocodile it became personal.
- Peter, for his part, has made all the Lost Boys promise to leave Hook to him.
- Pajama-Clad Hero: The Darling children wear their PJs throughout their adventures.
- Pirate: Naturally, Captain Hook and the pirates.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Well, they do quite a few things within the story, but no actual piracy. This may be a Justified Trope because there is a reason: Hook has no intention of leaving Neverland and resuming regular piracy until he kills Peter Pan.
- Prefers Going Barefoot: Some adaptations have Peter not wearing any shoes such as the 2003 film. Tinker Bell is also barefoot in the Disney live action remake.
- Puff of Logic: This is how fairies are killed.
- Race Lift:
- In the 2020 theatrical film reimagining Wendy, Antigua native Yashua Mack played Peter. From a Rastafarian camp in Antigua (one of the locations for the island in the film), he was the first Black actor and first person of color to play Peter Pan in a film adaptation of the story.
- Come Away depicts Peter (Jordan Nash) presumably as biracial with a black father and white mother, and depicts a Black and renamed Captain Hook (David Gyasi).note
- Peter Pan & Wendy cast Yara Shahidi (who is of African American, Native Choctaw and Iranian heritage) in the role of Tinker Bell. As with Mack’s casting as Peter in Wendy, Shahidi would be the first actress of color to fill the role.
- Spared by the Adaptation:
- Captain Hook doesn't die in the Disney version. Various unofficial sequels such as Hook also retcon the original ending to keep him alive.
- In the novel, fairies have extremely short lifespans and Tinker Bell died of old age not long after the Darling children's adventures. This is changed in any adaptation that takes place after the Darling children return home.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The Crocodile, after eating Hook's hand, liked the taste so much that it has constantly pursued Hook ever since, hoping to eat the rest of him.
- Team Mom: Wendy is literally treated as the mother by all the Lost Boys.
- Villain Exclusivity Clause: Captain Hook is the main villain in all adaptations; even the ones that acknowledge him getting eaten by the crocodile find some way to bring him back. Including the official sequel.
- Walk the Plank: Captain Hook makes Wendy do this in the 1953 Disney animation, the 2003 film and the Disney live action remake. In all three cases the pirates gets suspicious when they don’t hear a splash because Wendy failed to hit the water.