Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Live-Action Peter Pan Movie - What We Know So Far

Disney continues to plough through its back catalog of animated musicals at a record pace, updating all of its valuable IP with live-action, often music-less adaptations.

Following the $1 billion success of The Lion King and Aladdin, the House of Mouse announced plans to bring another beloved property back into the third dimension. Peter Pan and Wendy will be a live-action adaptation of Peter Pan, and though the project appears to be in the earliest stages of development, we've actually been privy to quite a few production details.

The common ancestor of every contemporary Peter Pan project is J.M. Barrie's 1904 stage play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Peter Pan mania reached its first peak in the 1950s, around the same time Disney made the modern fairy tale their 14th animated musical. Instead of fading, however, interest in adapting the tale about Wendy Darling and the boy from Neverland has continued at a constant burn ever since.

Peter Pan is now one of the most adapted stories in the history of American media. In addition to a popular 1954 Broadway musical (which has since been revived three times) and the classic Disney animated feature from 1953, the boy who wouldn't grow up has appeared in literally dozens of media projects, from video games to live-action sequels. Two projects in particular — 1991's Hook starring Robin Williams and 2004's Finding Neverland starring Johnny Depp — took the bold step of updating the classic Peter Pan mythology, offering sequels (direct or otherwise) to the original tale. Although attempts to milk an old property for new content often fail, both Hook and Finding Neverland are actually well-regarded films. Peter Pan just might be the rare classic property that actually begs deeper exploration.

Whether Peter Pan and Wendy will live up to the expectations set by the surprisingly affecting Hook is anybody's guess at this point. Here's everything we know about the project so far.

When is the release date of the live-action Peter Pan?

Although development appears to be well underway on Peter Pan and Wendy, Disney has been open about the fact that their latest live-action update has been a victim of the COVID-19 shutdown (via Deadline). With production stalled for the moment, it's impossible to pin down a likely release date. Disney has been particularly hard hit by the industry-wide shutdown, putting the brakes on several high-profile projects including The Little Mermaid, The Last Duel, Shrunk, and their much-anticipated Home Alone update.

A spokesperson for the company said back in March, "While there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on our productions, after considering the current environment and the best interests of our cast and crew, we have made the decision to pause production on some of our live-action films for a short time. We will continue to assess the situation and restart as soon as feasible."

Variety is reporting that Disney has no intention of kicking Peter Pan and Wendy to Disney+. While that could certainly change as the reality of the pandemic continues to unfold, for now fans can count on a theatrical release at some point.

Who is in the cast of the live-action Peter Pan?

Despite the production halt, quite a bit of casting information has actually leaked out from behind the often-sealed doors of development. Two relative newcomers will be taking on the lead roles of Peter Pan and Wendy Darling. Alexander Molony, whose previous credits include the English sitcom The Reluctant Landlord and Disney Junior project Claude, will be stepping into the green tights as the titular leader of the Lost Boys. Opposite Molony in the role of Wendy will be Ever Anderson, the daughter of Resident Evil actress Milla Jovovich and writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson. Anderson is poised to have a breakout year, as she has also been cast to play younger versions of her mother and Scarlett Johansson in the forthcoming features Resident Evil: Final Chapter and Black Widow.

Variety is also reporting that one more key role is close to landing in the filled column. The Rhythm Section actor Jude Law (who once turned down the role of Superman because of the outfit) is apparently in serious talks to take on the meaty role of the villainous Captain Hook of the pirate ship Jolly Roger. Although not quite a done deal, if Law ultimately signs up to don the iconic wig and hook, he will be following in the footsteps of some of Hollywood's biggest actors. The list of past Hooks includes Dustin Hoffman, Jason Isaacs, Cyril Ritchard, J.K. Simmons, and Garrett Hedlund. A fine fraternity of talent, indeed.

What is the plot of the live-action Peter Pan?

Almost nothing concrete is known about the plot of Peter Pan and Wendy. So far, Disney has experimented with several different paths in its live-action adaptations. Maleficent is a new story based on an underexplored character from Sleeping Beauty, while more recent adaptations like Aladdin and The Lion King offer more faithful retellings of their source material.

The fact that Wendy's name is included in the title of the new Peter Pan project suggests that this film will take place within the timeframe of Pan's meeting and relationship with the Darlings. That probably precludes a direct sequel exploring Pan's reluctant adulthood as in Hook, or a meta-fictional take on the life of author and playwright J.M. Barrie as in Finding Neverland. At the very least, we should expect many of the plot points from the 1953 animated musical to be present to some extent in the live-action film. Popular story elements like Hook's Jolly Roger, the Lost Boys, Pan's runaway shadow, the fairy Tinkerbell, and the ticking crocodile are all ripe for a revisit, while some others — like the stereotypical depiction of indigenous people personified in the character Tiger Lily — are likely to get a face lift if not a complete excision.

Whatever the case, we'll be sure to update you right here as soon as new details emerge.