Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and who never ages, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside of Neverland. In addition to two distinct works by Barrie, the character has been featured in a variety of media and merchandise, both adapting and expanding on Barrie’s works.
Peter Pan first appeared in a section of The Little White Bird, a 1902 novel written by Barrie for adults.
The character’s best-known adventure debuted on 27 December 1904, in the stage play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. The play was adapted and expanded somewhat as a novel, published in 1911 as Peter and Wendy (later as Peter Pan and Wendy, and still later as Peter Pan).
Following the highly successful debut of the 1904 play, Barrie’s publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, extracted chapters 13–18 of The Little White Bird and republished them in 1906 under the title Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with the addition of illustrations by Arthur Rackham.
Peter Pan has appeared in a number of adaptations, sequels, and prequels since then, including the 1953 Disney animated feature film Peter Pan, various stage musicals (including one by Jerome Robbins, starring Cyril Ritchard and Mary Martin, filmed for television), live-action feature films Hook (1991) and Peter Pan (2003), and the authorized sequel novel Peter Pan in Scarlet (2006). He has also appeared in various works not authorized by the holders of the character’s copyright, which has lapsed in most parts of the world. See List of works based on Peter Pan.