Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up is a play in five acts by the Scottish writer J.M. Barrie. It was first performed at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End on December 27, 1904.
The play's title character is a boy who does not grow up. He lives on the island of Never Land where he is the leader of a group of other boys known as the Lost Boys. He is able to fly and has many adventures. Peter Pan often flies to London. He stops outside the window of the bedroom that Wendy Darling shares with her younger brothers John and Michael to listen to the stories that their mother tells them. He goes inside their bedroom one evening and leaves his shadow behind. When Peter returns to retrieve the shadow, he accidentally wakes up Wendy. When Wendy tells Peter Pan that she knows lots of stories, he asks her to come back to Never Land with him. She agrees to go on the condition that her brothers can go with her. As well as Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Never Land is home to fairies, mermaids, a tribe of Native Americans led by the chief Great Big Little Panther and his daughter Tiger Lily, wild animals and a pirate crew led by the fearsome Captain Hook. In Never Land, Wendy acts as mother to the Lost Boys, Peter Pan and her own brothers John and Michael. Wendy, John and Michael live happily in Never Land for some time. When Peter Pan leads them to believe that their parents have forgotten about them, however, Wendy, John and Michael decide that it is time to return home.
J.M. Barrie wrote a sequel to Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up in the form of the one-act play When Wendy Grew Up - An Afterthought, which was first performed in 1908. Barrie adapted both plays into the novel Peter and Wendy, which was first published in 1911.
Many people are likely to be offended by the manner in which Native Americans are depicted in Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up as J.M. Barrie originally wrote it. The Native American characters are referred to as "Redskins" and "Piccaninnies". They communicate with each other in grunts and pidgin English and call Peter Pan the "Great White Father". In modern productions of the play, especially ones in North America, steps may be taken to avoid presenting characters who are racist stereotypes. For example, when the British director Tim Carroll staged the play in Stratford, Ontario, Canada in 2010, he chose to change Tiger Lily's tribe into a tribe of Amazons, the warrior women from Greek mythology.
Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up is now rarely performed in Britain as Barrie originally wrote it. Pantomimes based on the Peter Pan story are, however, now frequently performed in theaters across the United Kingdom by both amateur and professional companies at Christmastime and at the start of the New Year. J.M. Barrie's original play is not often performed in the United States nowadays either, the 1954 musical Peter Pan by Mark Charlap, Jule Styne, Betty Conden and Adolph Gree orn having overtaken it in popularity in that country.
There have been numerous adaptations of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up and Peter and Wendy to other media. In addition to traditional British pantomimes and stage musicals, these adaptations include radio dramas, video games, comic books and graphic novels. Other authors have written novels, both authorized and unauthorized, which serve as sequels or prequels to the story of Peter Pan. The first screen adaptation of the Peter Pan story, the American silent movie Peter Pan, was released in 1924. Numerous film and television adaptations of the story have been produced since then in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, Australia and Japan. The best-known movie versions of the story are the 1953 Walt Disney animated film Peter Pan, the 1991 Steven Spielberg film Hook (starring Robin Williams as an adult Peter Pan and Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook), the 2003 American-British-Australian film Peter Pan (starring Jeremy Sumpter as Peter Pan and Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook) and the 2015 prequel Pan (starring Levi Miller as Peter, Garrett Hedlund as Hook and Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard the pirate).
The play opens in the house of the Darling family, which according to the stage directions is in the Bloomsbury district of London. It is six o'clock in the evening. In the bedroom that Wendy Darling shares with her two younger brothers John and Michael, Nana, the Newfoundland dog who acts as the children's nanny, prepares their beds and gives Michael a bath.
Mrs. Mary Darling is going to go out to a dinner party with her husband. She goes into the children's bedroom because she wants to show them the dress she is wearing that evening. When she goes into the room, Mrs. Darling briefly sees a boy's face at the window. The boy disappears when she calls out, "Who are you?" Wendy and John come into the room soon afterwards.
Mr. George Darling comes into the room. He is looking for his wife because he is having difficulty putting on his tie and wants her to tie it for him. Nana gets hair on Mr. Darling's pants. He comments that he sometimes thinks that it is a mistake to have a dog as a nanny. Mrs. Darling proceeds to tell her husband that they must keep Nana because of how she protects the children. She tells him about the boy's face that she saw at the window. She says that she saw the same boy a week earlier. That time, Mrs. Darling had fallen asleep in front of the fire in the children's bedroom. When a sudden draft woke her up, she saw a strange boy in the room accompanied by a ball of bright light. Nana chased the boy out of the window. The window shut quickly and the boy's shadow was left behind. Mrs. Darling takes the rolled up shadow out of a drawer and shows it to her husband. Mr. Darling thinks that he might be able to sell the shadow. He says that he will take it to the British Museum the next day to have it valued. Mrs. Darling rolls the shadow up again and puts it back in the drawer.
Nana brings in a bottle of medicine for Michael. The boy protests that he does not want to take it. Mrs. Darling says that she will give him a chocolate after he takes the medicine. She goes out of the room to fetch the candy. Mr. Darling says that he never made a fuss about taking medicine when he was young and that he sometimes has to take bad-tasting medicine now. Wendy goes out and fetches her father's medicine. Mr. Darling and Michael agree that they should both take their medicine at the same time. Michael takes his. Mr. Darling, however, hides his medicine behind his back. All of his children look at Mr. Darling disapprovingly. Nana shakes her head at him before leaving the room.
Mr. Darling then announces that he has thought of a joke. He will put the medicine in Nana's bowl and tell her that it is milk. None of the children want their father to do that but he does it anyway. Nana drinks only a little of the medicine. She realizes that it is not milk and begins to cry. The children and Mrs. Darling, who has come back into the room with Michael's chocolate, all feel sorry for Nana and do not find Mr. Darling's joke funny. Mr. Darling decides that Nana gets more respect than she deserves and that he has had enough of it. He drags the dog out of the children's bedroom and chains her up in the yard.
The children hear Nana barking outside. John comments that she is very sad. Wendy says that particular bark is the one that Nana uses to warn of approaching danger. Mrs. Darling tells the children that they are safe, although she does not really believe that and will tell the maid Liza to check on them periodically throughout the night. Mr. and Mrs. Darling leave for their dinner party.
The bedroom window opens. A boy dressed in autumn leaves and cobwebs flies into the room. He is accompanied by a ball of bright light and the sound of tinkling bells. The ball of bright light is the fairy Tinker Bell. The sound of tinkling bells is Tinker Bell talking in the fairy language. Tinker Bell tells the boy that his shadow is in a drawer in a dresser. The boy takes out the drawer and throws its contents onto the floor. He then carelessly puts the drawer back into the dresser with Tinker Bell still inside it. He finds that he cannot get his shadow to attach itself to his body again and he starts to cry.
The boy's cries wake up Wendy. She introduces herself to him. The boy introduces himself as Peter Pan. He denies that he was crying but tells Wendy that the cause of his unhappiness was not being able to get his shadow to stick to his feet. Wendy sews the shadow onto Peter Pan's feet. When the shadow is reattached, Peter Pan happily dances around the room and says, "Wendy, look, look on the cleverness of me!" Wendy is upset that Peter Pan does not acknowledge that she was the one that sewed back on his shadow. She goes back to bed. Peter Pan apologizes and says, "one girl is worth twenty boys." Wendy is pleased to hear this and offers to give Peter a kiss. Not knowing what a kiss is, Peter Pan holds out his hand expectantly. So as not to disappoint him, Wendy gives Peter a thimble. Peter asks Wendy if she would like a kiss. He gives Wendy an acorn button which she puts on a chain around her neck.
Peter Pan says that he does not know how old he is. He ran away on the day that he was born after he heard his parents talking about what he would do when he grew up. Peter Pan decided that he wanted to remain a little boy and have fun forever. He left home and lived for a long time among the fairies in Kensington Gardens.
Wendy is impressed when she hears that Peter knows fairies. She is even more impressed when he says that there is a fairy somewhere in the room. When Tinker Bell is released from the drawer, she takes an instant dislike to Wendy. In the fairy language, she calls Wendy a "great ugly girl" and pulls her hair.
Peter Pan explains that he now lives in Never Land with the Lost Boys. The Lost Boys are children who fall out of their baby carriages. They are sent to Never Land if nobody claims them after seven days. They are all boys because girls are much too clever to fall out of their baby carriages.
Peter goes on to explain that he flew to Wendy's bedroom window to hear the stories that Mrs. Darling told Wendy and her brothers. He does not know any stories and neither do any of the Lost Boys. Peter tells the stories to the Lost Boys when he goes back to Never Land. Wendy says that she knows lots of stories. Peter Pan invites her to fly back to Never Land with him so that she can tell those stories. Wendy says that she cannot fly. Peter says that he will teach her. Wendy asks him if he will teach her brothers as well. Peter indifferently replies that he will. Wendy wakes up her brothers and tells them about their visitor.
Nana's bark is heard again. Liza the maid enters the darkened room. The children hide. Liza can hear the children breathing and assumes that they are safe in their beds. She scolds the dog for making a fuss about nothing.
After Liza leaves, the children come out of their hiding places. Peter Pan tells them that to fly, they just need to think happy thoughts. When that does not work, he remembers that he also has to blow fairy dust onto them. The children happily fly around the room. John suggests going outside. Peter Pan says he can take him to a place where there are pirates. John excitedly puts on his top hat in anticipation of leaving.
Off-stage, Nana breaks her chain and runs to the house where Mr. and Mrs. Darling are attending the dinner party. They realize that the dog is trying to warn them and go home at once. They get back to their children's bedroom just after John, Michael and Wendy fly out of the window.
At the start of the second act, the stage is in total darkness. It gradually becomes lighter and Never Land is revealed. It is summer in most of Never Land but it is winter on the frozen river.
The six Lost Boys, Sightly, Curly, Nibs, Tootles and the two Twins, emerge from hollow trees. The seven hollow trees are the entrances to their underground home. They are anxious for Peter Pan to return and tell them the end of the story that he overheard Mrs. Darling telling her children, the story of "Cinderella". Tootles says that he thinks that his mother must have been like Cinderella. Slightly says that his mother was fonder of him than the mothers of any of the other Lost Boys were of them. That is because Peter Pan had to name all the other Lost Boys but his name, "Slightly Soiled", was written on his baby clothes by his mother. The boys begin to attack Slightly. They do not really care about their mothers but are glad of any excuse for a fight. The fight stops when the boys hear singing which indicates that the pirates are approaching.
Eight pirates appear pulling a raft along the frozen river. They are Cecco, Bill Jukes, Cookson, Gentleman Starkey, Smee, Noodler, Morgan Skylights and a gigantic black man who has gone by many names. Reclining on cushions on the raft is the leader of the pirates Captain Hook. Unlike the other Lost Boys, Nibs did not manage to get underground before the pirates arrived. He starts to run away. Starkey aims his pistol at Nibs. Hook tells him not to shoot. The sound of the gunshot would alert Tiger Lily and her Redskins to the pirates' presence and the crew would come under attack. Also, Hook does not want to get just one Lost Boy. He wants to get all six of them and their leader Peter Pan. Hook orders most of the pirates to disperse and search for the Lost Boys. Smee remains behind.
Captain Hook tells Smee that, more than any of the other boys, he wants to get Peter Pan. It was Peter Pan who cut off Hook's right hand. Although the captain is glad that he now has a sharp metal hook instead of his right hand, the loss of his hand had another consequence. Peter Pan fed the hand to a passing crocodile. The crocodile liked the taste of it so much that it has been pursuing Hook ever since, eager to eat the rest of him. Fortunately for Hook, the crocodile also once swallowed a clock that ticks loudly. The loud ticking sound alerts Hook to the animal's presence.
Hook sits down on an enormous mushroom. He notices that the mushroom is very hot. He lifts it out of the ground. Smoke comes out of the hole and Hook can hear the sound of the Lost Boys talking beneath the ground. Hook realizes that the Lost Boys put the mushroom there to hide the chimney of their underground home. The captain also realizes that the seven hollow trees are entrances to the Lost Boys' home. The fact that the boys do not know that they do not need an entrance each indicates that they do not have a mother. Hook comes up with a plan to kill the Lost Boys. He will have a rich cake baked and leave it by Mermaid Lagoon, where the boys like to swim and try to catch the mermaids. Not having a mother, the boys do not know how dangerous it can be to eat rich damp cake. They will eat it all and die.
A ticking sound is heard. Hook recognizes the sound as that of the crocodile. Smee and Hook flee. After the pirates and the crocodile leave the stage, Chief Great Big Little Panther, his daughter Tiger Lily and the rest of the Redskins appear. They hear somebody tread on a dry leaf far away. They realize that the pirates are near and are excited by the possibility of scalping them. They dance around a fire before leaving.
Curly, Tootles, Slightly and the Twins emerge once more. Nibs returns. He is pursued by wolves that the Lost Boys are able to frighten away. Nibs tells the other boys that he saw a large white bird flying in their direction. The bird looked tired and made a noise that sounded like, "Poor Wendy". Slightly, who thinks that he can remember his life before he came to Never Land, says that a Wendy is a kind of bird. The Lost Boys see what they think is the large white bird and Tinker Bell. The fairy tells the boys that Peter Pan wants them to shoot the Wendy bird. Tootles fires an arrow. Wendy falls down, apparently dead. Tinker Bell mocks the boys for having believed her lie before she goes. The boys realize that what Tootles has shot is not a bird. They decide that Wendy is a lady and that Peter Pan must have been bringing her to look after them.
Peter Pan lands. He tells the other boys that he has brought them a mother. Tootles shows Peter Pan where Wendy is lying on the ground with an arrow in her chest. He admits to having shot her. Peter Pan takes the arrow to stab Tootles. He finds that something is stopping him from doing that. Peter Pan's arm is being held by Wendy. She is not dead but merely stunned. The arrow hit the acorn button that Peter gave her which she kept on a chain around her neck.
Tinker Bell returns, apparently in a happy mood because Wendy is dead. Nibs tells the fairy that Wendy is still alive. Peter Pan says at first that he will never be Tinker Bell's friend again. After Tinker Bell starts crying, he says instead that he will not be her friend for a whole week.
The Lost Boys want to take Wendy inside their home. Peter Pan says that it would not be proper for them to touch her. Tootles says that she will die if they leave her outside. Peter Pan then orders the boys to build a house around Wendy. John and Michael arrive and are made to join in with the house building. John's top hat is used as the house's chimney. The chimney starts to smoke as son as it is put on the little house. When the house is built, Peter Pan knocks on the door. Wendy comes out. The Lost Boys ask Wendy if she will be their mother. Wendy says that she is only a little girl and has no experience of being a mother. The boys say that they just need a nice motherly person. Wendy invites the boys into her little house. She says that she will finish telling them the story of Cinderella before they go to bed.
All of the boys go inside the tiny house. A light goes on inside the house as the stage becomes dark again. The wolves and the pirates can be heard in the distance. Peter Pan comes out of the house with a drawn sword to stand guard.
According to the stage directions, the third act opens at the, "end of a long playful day". Peter Pan, Wendy and the other children have been swimming at Mermaid Lagoon. They have also been trying unsuccessfully to catch mermaids. The mermaids are beautiful but dangerous and often try to drown children. The children come onto a rock in the middle of the lagoon. Peter Pan explains to Wendy that it is called Marooner's Rock. That is because captains leave sailors on it to drown, having first tied their hands so that they cannot swim away. The rock becomes completely covered with water at high tide.
The sun has set but the moon has not yet risen. Peter Pan senses that danger is approaching. He and all the other children dive into the water. The two pirates Smee and Starkey arrive in a dinghy. Tiger Lily is with them. Her hands and feet are tied. She was caught on board the pirates' ship with a knife in her mouth. To the two pirates' dismay, Tiger Lily accepts her fate in a brave and dignified manner without making any protests. Imitating Hook's voice exactly, Peter Pan orders the two pirates to let Tiger Lily go. Smee and Starkey assume that their captain must be swimming towards them. They untie Tiger Lily's hands and feet. She jumps into the water and swims away.
The real Hook then swims towards Smee and Starkey. Hook is unhappy. He has apparently found the rich damp cake untouched and has found out that Peter Pan and the Lost Boys now have a mother. Smee does not know what a mother is. Hook starts to explain but finds that the meaning of "mother" is more difficult to define than he expected. At that moment, a large bird floats past on a nest. Hook says that the bird is a good mother because, even though her nest has fallen in the water, she has not deserted her eggs. Smee suggests kidnapping the boys' mother andd making her mother to the pirates. Hook likes that idea very much. He says that he will seize the children and make Wendy the pirates' mother after the boys have walked the plank.
Hook then asks where Tiger Lily is. Smee tells Hook that they followed his orders and let her go. Knowing that he gave no such order, Hook thinks that a ghost might be haunting the lagoon. He asks the ghost if it can hear him. In Hook's voice, Peter Pan replies that he can. Hook asks the voice to identify itself. Peter Pan replies that he is Jas Hook, Captain of the Jolly Roger. Hook asks, "If you are Hook, come tell me, who am I?" To this, Peter Pan replies that his questioner is a codfish. Hook becomes suspicious. By pretending to play a guessing game, Hook gets the voice t identify itself as Peter Pan.
Captain Hook orders Smee to dive into the water and capture Peter Pan dead or alive. Peter Pan gives the order to the other boys to attack the pirates. In the confusion, the boys find themselves fighting each other. The crocodile also briefly surfaces. None of the boys are brave enough to fight Hook, apart from Peter Pan. Peter and Hook crawl out of the water and onto Marooner's Rock. Peter sees that he has the advantage because he is higher up the rock than Hook is. He waits for Hook to come closer. Hook takes advantage of that pause and twice tries to claw at Peter Pan with his metal hook. Peter Pan is not touched but is so shocked by the unfairness of Hook's action that he falls off the rock. Hook then finds that he is almost inside the jaws of the crocodile, its ticking having been muffles by the sound of the fight. The crocodile chases Hook back to land.
John, Michael and the Lost Boys sail home in the pirates' dinghy. They cannot find Peter Pan or Wendy and assume that they must have swum or flown home. Peter Pan and Wendy climb onto Marooner's Rock. The tide is now coming in and the rock is much smaller than it was before. Since he cannot really tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary, Peter thinks that Hook has wounded him and left him incapable of swimming or flying home. Since she is just a beginner at both swimming and flying, Wendy does not think that she could make it home on her own. At that moment, Wendy's face is brushed by the tail of a large kite that Michael made which got away from him. Peter tells Wendy that she can fly home with the aid of the kite. He insists that the kite is not strong enough to carry both of them and that he will have to stay behind. Wendy leaves.
The tide continues to rise. Knowing that he will soon drown, Peter Pan says, "To die will be an awfully big adventure." The large bird on the floating nest comes along. The bird gets out of the nest. Peter Pan puts the bird's eggs in a hat that the pirate Starkey left behind on the rock. The bird gets onto the hat. Peter Pan uses the nest as a boat and sails to safety.
As a result of Peter Pan having saved Tiger Lily's life, her tribe now constantly guards the underground home that he shares with the other children and Tinker Bell to prevent the pirates from attacking it.
After the children have had an imaginary meal, they get ready for bed and are told a story by Wendy. It is the story of the three Darling children who leave home, fly away to Never Land and leave their parents brokenhearted. Wendy ends the story by saying that, in the future, she, John and Michael will return to London and find that their parents have left their bedroom window open so that they can fly back inside. Peter Pan says that he used to think that his mother would keep his bedroom window open for him. After he had been away for many months, he came home to find his bedroom window barred and another little boy sleeping in his bed. Wendy, John and Michael become worried that their parents might have given them up for dead and decide that they need to return home at once. Wendy asks Peter if he will, "make the necessary arrangements." Peter calmly says that he will. He goes up to speak to the Redskins.
The Lost Boys try to prevent Wendy from leaving. She tells them that she is certain that her parents would adopt them. When Peter Pan returns, the Lost Boys ask him if they can leave with Wendy, John and Michael too. In an indifferent tone, Peter tells them that they can while he puts the finishing touches to some pan pipes that he has been making. Wendy thinks that Peter will leave with her too. He says that he will stay in Never Land so that he can always be a little boy and have fun. Peter tells Wendy that the Redskins will lead her through the forest and that Tinker Bell will then guide her across the ocean. Tinker Bell very reluctantly agrees to do that. She flies out of one of the hollow trees.
At that moment, the pirates launch a surprise attack on the Redskins. Most of the Redskins are killed. Great Big Little Panther and Tiger Lily manage to escape. A few pirates are killed also. The pirates having defeated the Redskins, Hook then signals to his crew to get into the hollow trees and go down to Peter Pan's home. They find that all the trees are too narrow for them, although they can hear the children speaking below the ground. Being underground, the children have hard the battle but not seen it and do not know which side has won. Peter Pan says that if the Redskins have won, they will play the tom-tom as they always do. Hearing this, Hook gets Smee to hold up a tom-tom and he taps on it with his metal hook. Peter tells the other children that it is safe for them to leave and says goodbye to them. Before leaving, Wendy pours out some water, which she says is Peter Pan's medicine, and tells him to remember to take it.
As the children go above ground, they are captured by the pirates. They are all put inside the little house which the Lost Boys built for Wendy. The pirates carry the little house away. Its chimney continues to smoke. Hook remains behind. He finds that one of the hollow trees is wide enough for him to go down. When he reaches the bottom, however, he finds that the tree's opening is not wide enough for him to get through. Peter Pan is sleeping on a bed. Hook cannot reach him. He can, however, reach Peter's medicine cup. Hook puts five drops of poison into the cup before crawling back up the hollow tree.
Tinker Bell returns. Peter Pan wakes up. Tinker Bell tells him that the Redskins were defeated and that Wendy and the boys were captured by the pirates. Peter sharpens his dagger and says that he will go and rescue Wendy. Tinker Bell tells Peter that his medicine has been poisoned. He does not believe her, however, and proceeds to take it anyway. Tinker Bell prevents Peter from swallowing the medicine by doing so herself. She then begins to die. Peter Pan appeals to the audience. He says that Tinker Bell can recover if children believe in fairies. If children believe in fairies, they should clap their hands. The audience claps and Tinker Bell is saved. Peter Pan then sets out to rescue Wendy. He is able to follow a trail of smoke from the little house's chimney.
The final act of the play opens on board the pirates' ship the Jolly Roger. Captain Hook orders that the captured boys be brought up on deck. The boys are chained up so that they cannot fly away. Hook says that two of the children can avoid walking the plank if they agree to become his cabin boys. Singling John out, Hook asks him if he has ever wanted to be a pirate. John confesses that he has. Both he and Michael show some interest in the idea of joining the pirate crew. John asks if he could become a pirate and remain a loyal subject of King Edward. Hook says that, as a pirate, John would have to swear, "Down with King Edward." John and Michael decide that they would rather die than do that. Wendy is brought on deck and is told that she will see all her sons walk the plank. She says that she hopes that they will die like English gentlemen. This makes the boys feel braver and angers Hook. He orders that Wendy be tied to the mast.
A loud ticking sound is heard. The pirates believe that it is coming from the crocodile. Instead of looking over the side of the ship to see the animal, all of the pirates look straight at Hook. As the sound becomes louder, all the other pirates close their eyes out of respect for their captain. It is revealed that the ticking sound has not been coming from the crocodile but is being made by Peter Pan. He comes on board the ship and signals to the other children not to give him away. One pirate comes up on deck from another part of the ship. Peter Pan kills him and throws his body overboard. Peter then goes into the cabin and closes its door. The pirates notice that the ticking sound has stopped and open their eyes.
Hook says that the boys will be whipped with the cat o' nine tails before they walk the plank. The pirate Bill Jukes is sent to the cabin to fetch the whip. The sound of Bill Jukes screaming is heard, followed by the sound of Peter Pan crowing like a rooster. The pirates do not know what made the strange crowing sound. The pirate Cecco is sent to investigate. He returns quickly. He says that the cabin is in darkness and that Bill Jukes has been stabbed to death. Hook orders Cecco to go back into the cabin and bring out the thing that made the crowing sound. Cecco reluctantly goes back. His scream is heard shortly afterwards, followed by the crowing sound again.
Starkey is told to go into the cabin and bring out the thing that made the crowing sound. He refuses. Hook accuses Starkey of mutiny and threatens to kill him. Starkey chooses to take his own life by jumping overboard.
Captain Hook says that he will fetch the thing that is making the crowing sound himself. He takes a lantern and goes into the cabin. He comes back shortly afterwards, saying that something blew out his lantern and that Cecco is dead too. The superstitious pirates become convinced that the Devil is on board the ship.
Hook decides that the captured boys should be sent into the cabin to fight the thing that is making the crowing sound. Hook says, "If they kill him, we are so much the better. If he kills them, we are none the worse." All of the pirates are too frightened to look in the direction of the cabin. They all turn their backs to it. Once the boys are inside the cabin, Peter Pan frees them from their chains. The boys get weapons, sneak silently out of the cabin and hide around the ship. Peter Pan unties Wendy, puts on her cloak and takes her place at the mast. Due to the silence, the pirates think that the thing in the cabin has killed all of the boys.
Captain Hook says that the ship is cursed because they have brought a girl on board. He orders that Wendy be thrown overboard. Peter Pan then reveals himself. The other boys emerge from hiding and begin fighting the pirates. The boys win the fight. Soon, the only pirate left alive on board the ship is Hook.
Peter Pan orders the other boys to stop fighting and leave Hook to him. Hook puts up a brave fight but soon realizes that he cannot win. He tries to blow up the ship with gunpowder but Peter Pan prevents that. Hook tries to attack the other children but they fly away from him. He then sees Peter Pan sitting on a barrel and playing his pan pipes. Hook aims a blunderbuss not at the boy but at the barrel. The barrel is destroyed but Peter Pan continues sitting in the air and playing his pipes. At that point, Hook gives up. Saying, "Floreat Etona", Hook jumps over the side of the ship and goes willingly into the open jaws of the crocodile.
The scene changes to the bedroom of the Darling children in London. The window has been left open so that Wendy, John and Michael can fly back into the room. Mrs. Darling is seated in a chair near the window. As she does every night, Nana has put out the children's night clothes. A cab driver carries a doghouse into the room and Mr. Darling emerges from it. Mr. Darling is convinced that his children would not have left home if he had not banished Nana from their bedroom. He has therefore decided to punish himself by remaining in Nana's doghouse at all times. This means that he has to take the doghouse with him when he goes to work. Mr. Darling asks his wife to go into an adjoining room to lull him to sleep by playing the piano.
Peter Pan and Tinker Bell fly in through the open window. So that Wendy will think that her mother has forgotten about her and will fly back to Never land with him, Peter orders Tinker Bell to shut and bar the window. Peter Pan then tells the fairy that they will have to leave through the door, expecting that the door will open to the sky. He opens the door of the adjoining room and sees Mrs. Darling playing the piano. He sees that Mrs. Darling is sad because of the loss of Wendy. He eventually feels sorry for her and tells Tinker Bell to open the window again. Peter Pan and Tinker Bell fly out of the room.
Wendy, John and Michael fly in through the open window. They are surprised to find their father sleeping in a doghouse, although they think that he might have always done that and that they have forgotten about it. They are disappointed that their mother is not there. When they hear her playing the piano in the adjoining room, John says that they should creep up behind her and put their hands over her eyes. Wendy says that they should break the news of their return to her more gently. She suggests that they get into their beds. When Mrs. Darling enters the room, she is not surprised to see the children in their beds because she often sees them there in her dreams. When they speak, she still thinks that she is imagining it. It is only when they run to touch her that Mrs. Darling realizes that her children have returned.
The Lost Boys are waiting outside the house. They are all adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Darling, apart from Slightly who is adopted by the Darlings' maid Liza.
Peter Pan is seen at the window. Mrs. Darling says that she will adopt him too. Peter asks if that means that he would have to go to school and then grow up to become a man. Mrs. Darling replies that it does. Peter says, "No one is going to catch me, lady, and make me a man. I want always to be a little boy and have fun." Mrs. Darling asks Peter where he is going to live. He says that he is going to live in the little house which the Lost Boys built for Wendy. It is to be moved high up into the trees where the fairies sleep at night. Thinking that Peter will be lonely, Wendy asks her mother if she can go back to Never Land with him. Mrs. Darling will not allow Wendy to return to Never Land permanently but says that she can go back there once a year to help Peter with spring cleaning.
The final scene of the play takes place one year later. Peter Pan is unchanged but Wendy looks a little older. She is not as good at flying as she used to be and can now only fly with the aid of a broomstick. She also has some difficulty seeing Peter Pan now that she is growing up. Peter Pan has forgotten all about Captain Hook, the Lost Boys and Tinker Bell. Wendy says, "I suppose it is because you have so many adventures." Peter Pan happily agrees with that statement. Wendy begins saying, "If another little girl - one younger than I am", but finds that she is unable to continue with what she is trying to say. She goes to hug Peter Pan but he draws back from her. Wendy leaves on her broomstick. Peter Pan takes out his pan pipes and begins playing.
As the work of an author who died over seventy years ago, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up is now in the public domain in most countries and territories around the world. It remains, however, under a form of perpetual copyright in the United Kingdom and its copyright status in the United States has been called into question.
In 1929, J.M. Barrie gave the copyright to Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up and the novel Peter and Wendy to Great Ormond Street Hospital, Britain's leading children's hospital. It was also made clear in Barrie's will that he wanted the hospital to continue receiving royalties from his works about Peter Pan. A condition of the gift was that the hospital not reveal how much money it made from it.
Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up originally passed into the public domain in the United Kingdom on December 31, 1987, the end of the fiftieth year after J.M. Barrie's death. In 1996, British copyright law was changed to bring it in line with that of the rest of the European Union. Under the new law, works remained under copyright until the end of the seventieth year after their authors' deaths. Consequently, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up came under full copyright again and remained so until December 31, 2007.
In 1988, former Prime Minister James Callaghan sponsored a Parliamentary Bill to grant an extension of some of Great Ormond Street Hospital's rights to the play Peter Pan and the novel Peter and Wendy. This was in effect between 1988 and 1996 and has been in effect since 2007. Under this arrangement, Great Ormond Street Hospital continues to receive royalties from performances of Peter Pan in the United Kingdom. The hospital also receives royalties from sales of the play's script, sales of Peter and Wendy and from incomes generated by adaptations of both works in the United Kingdom. Great Ormond Street Hospital does not, however, have creative control over Peter Pan or Peter and Wendy. Prior to 2007, anybody wishing to adapt the Peter Pan story in the United Kingdom had to write to Great Ormond Street Hospital requesting permission to do so. That permission could be denied.
Although representatives of Great Ormond Street Hospital have acknowledged that the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy is no longer under copyright in the United States, they have argued that the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up is not yet in the public domain under American copyright law. This is because although the play was first performed in 1904, its script was not published until 1928. Representatives of Great Ormond Street Hospital have therefore claimed that the hospital is the rightful copyright owner not only of the play but of the general concept of Peter Pan in the United States. In 2004, the author J.E. Somma sued Great Ormond Street Hospital when it tried to prevent the publication of her novel After the Rain: A New Adventure for Peter Pan in the United States. The case was ultimately settled out of court. Also in 2004, the Walt Disney Company, long time holders of the animation rights to Peter Pan who had co-operated with Great Ormond Street Hospital in the past, published the novel Peter Pan and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson in the United States without asking permission from Great Ormond Street Hospital or paying the hospital any royalties.
- The earliest drafts of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up refer to "Peter's Never Never Never Land". When the play was first performed in 1904, the name "Never Never Land" was used. This is also how the island is referred to in the published script of When Wendy Grew Up - An Afterthought. The island's name was shortened to "Never Land" when the script of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up was first published in 1928. In the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy, the name is written as "Neverland".
- A British pantomime is a kind of musical comedy stage performance intended for a family audience that is usually performed at Christmastime and the start of the New Year. Performances usually include songs, dance, slapstick comedy, topical humor and a lot of audience participation. Most pantomimes are loose adaptations of well-known stories that are familiar to children, such as the fairy tales of Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, tales from One Thousand and One Nights, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or Robinson Crusoe.
- On stage, Peter Pan is usually played by a woman. This tradition dates back to the first performance of the play, in which the title role was played by Nina Boucicault. Peter Pan was not played by a male until Bobby Driscoll voiced the character in the 1953 Walt Disney animated film Peter Pan.
- It is a stage convention for Mr. Darling and Captain Hook to be played by the same actor. This originated with the first performance of the play, in which both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook were played by Gerald du Maurier. This tradition has been carried over to some movie adaptations of the Peter Pan story. In the 1953 Walt Disney animated film Peter Pan, Hans Conried voices both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook. In the 2003 film Peter Pan, both Mr. Darling and Captain Hook are played by Jason Isaacs.
- "Floreat Etona" is Latin for "Let Eton flourish". This suggests that Captain Hook is a former student of Eton College. According to the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy, Hook attended a "famous public school". Eton is not referred to by name in the novel, although there are references in it to Hook remembering traditions and institutions that are unique to that school. J.M. Barrie later wrote a short account of Captain Hook's schooldays which he delivered as a speech at Eton College on July 27, 1927. It was published in the London newspaper The Times the following day under the title "Captain Hook at Eton".
- Between 1998 and 2019, most works published before 1923 were in the public domain in the United States. Under current United States copyright law, works fall into the public domain ninety-five years after their publication. The majority of works published less than ninety-five years ago are still under copyright in the United States, regardless of how long their authors have been dead.