This article focuses on the classic story, Peter Pan. For the Neverland character, see Peter Pan.
Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up
Background Information
Written By

J. M. Barrie


1904 (play)
1911 (novel)

Adaptation Information
Featured Episode

See below


Peter Pan, also known as Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up and Peter and Wendy, is a play and novel featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by Scottish author J. M. Barrie as a 1904 play and 1911 novel.

Traditional PlotEdit

Peter makes night-time calls on Kensington, London, listening in on Mrs. Mary Darling's bedtime stories by the open window. One night Peter is spotted and, while trying to escape, he loses his shadow. On returning to claim it, Peter wakes Mary's daughter, Wendy Darling. Wendy succeeds in re-attaching his shadow to him, and Peter learns that she knows lots of bedtime stories. He invites her to Neverland to be a mother to his gang, the Lost Boys, children who were lost in Kensington Gardens. Wendy agrees, and her brothers John and Michael go along.

Their magical flight to Neverland is followed by many adventures. The children are blown out of the air by a cannon and Wendy is nearly killed by the Lost Boy Tootles. Peter and the Lost Boys build a little house for Wendy to live in while she recuperates (a structure that, to this day, is called a Wendy House.) Soon John and Michael adopt the ways of the Lost Boys.

Peter welcomes Wendy to his underground home, and she immediately assumes the role of mother figure. Peter takes the Darlings on several adventures, the first truly dangerous one occurring at Mermaids' Lagoon. At Mermaids' Lagoon, Peter and the Lost Boys save the princess Tiger Lily and become involved in a battle with the pirates, including the evil Captain James Hook. Peter is wounded when Captain Hook claws him. He believes he will die, stranded on a rock when the tide is rising, but he views death as "an awfully big adventure". Luckily, a bird allows him to use her nest as a boat, and Peter sails home.

Because he has saved Tiger Lily, the Indians are devoted to him, guarding his home from the next imminent pirate attack. Meanwhile, Wendy begins to fall in love with Peter, at least as a child, and asks Peter what kind of feelings he has for her. Peter says that he is like her faithful son. One day while telling stories to the Lost Boys and her brothers, John and Michael, Wendy recalls about her parents and then decides to take them back and return to England. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to Peter, Wendy and the boys are captured by Captain Hook, who also tries to poison Peter's medicine while the boy is asleep. When Peter awakes, he learns from the fairy Tinker Bell that Wendy has been kidnapped – in an effort to please Wendy, he goes to drink his medicine. Tink does not have time to warn him of the poison, and instead drinks it herself, causing her near death. Tink tells him she could be saved if children believed in fairies. In one of the play's most famous moments, Peter turns to the audience watching the play and begs those who believe in fairies to clap their hands. At this there is usually an explosion of handclapping from the audience, and Tinker Bell is saved.

Peter heads to the ship. On the way, he encounters the ticking crocodile; Peter decides to copy the tick, so any animals will recognise it and leave him unharmed. He does not realize that he is still ticking as he boards the ship, where Captain Hook cowers, mistaking him for the crocodile. While the pirates are searching for the croc, Peter sneaks into the cabin to steal the keys and frees the Lost Boys. When the pirates investigate a noise in the cabin, Peter defeats them. When he finally reveals himself, he and Captain Hook fall to the climactic battle, which Peter easily wins. He kicks Captain Hook into the jaws of the waiting crocodile, and Captain Hook dies with the satisfaction that Peter had kicked him off the ship, which Captain Hook considers "bad form". Then Peter takes control of the ship, and sails the seas back to London.

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 but Peter back to London. Before Wendy and her brothers arrive at their house, Peter flies ahead, to try and bar the window so Wendy will think her mother has forgotten her. But when he learns of Mrs Darling's distress, he bitterly leaves the window open and flies away. Peter returns briefly, and he meets Mrs. Darling, who has agreed to adopt the Lost Boys. She offers to adopt Peter as well, but Peter refuses, afraid they will "catch him and make him a man". It is hinted that Mary Darling knew Peter when she was a girl, because she is left slightly changed when Peter leaves.

Peter promises to return for Wendy every spring. The end of the play finds Wendy looking out through the window and saying into space, "You won't forget to come for me, Peter? Please, please don't forget".

Expanded PlotEdit

Four years after the premiere of the original production of Peter Pan, Barrie wrote an additional scene entitled An Afterthought, later included in the final chapter of Peter and Wendy. In this scene, Peter returns for Wendy years later, but she is now grown, with a daughter of her own. It is also revealed Wendy married one of the Lost Boys, although this is not mentioned in the novel, and it is never revealed which one she did marry. When Peter learns that Wendy has "betrayed" him by growing up, he is heartbroken until Wendy's daughter Jane agrees to come to Neverland as Peter's new mother. In the novel's last few sentences, Barrie mentions that Jane has grown up, and that Peter now takes her daughter Margaret to Neverland. Barrie says this cycle will go on forever as long as children are "innocent and heartless".

Show AdaptationEdit

  • Captain Hook, whose real name has been changed to Killian Jones for the show, started a romance with Rumplestiltskin's wife Milah. Later, Rumplestiltskin cuts off Killian's hand, to which the pirate takes a hook as a replacement hand and adopts the name Hook. He also begins referring to Rumplestiltskin as "the crocodile".
  • Instead of Peter Pan taking all three siblings to Neverland, a Shadow whisks Wendy away.
    • The Shadow lets Wendy return home in order to take John or Michael as it only wants boys to stay in Neverland. However, Rumplestiltskin's son, Baelfire, offers to be taken instead.
  • The children taken to Neverland by the Shadow are kept forced to stay and cry of homesickness at night. Neverland is called so because once you set foot there, you can never leave.
  • The Lost Boys are called the Lost Ones. They are much older than in the original story and are under Peter Pan's order to find a boy. They are also the attracted children from the "Pied Piper of Hamelin" fairytale.
  • Peter Pan can rip away people's shadows.
  • Tinker Bell doesn't possess any magic when she arrives to Neverland.
  • Peter Pan's true origins come in a different form.
  • The shadow is not really Peter's. It only listens to his command after he is turned into his current form.
  • In the novel, Hook and Black Beard (or Blackbeard, as he is referred to) are slightly connected: Captain Hook is described as "boatswain to Blackbeard". On Once Upon a Time, they become enemies after Black Beard steals Hook's ship.

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