Return to Never Land

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Return to Never Land
A silhouette of Peter Pan in a green background casting a glow.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobin Budd
Screenplay byTemple Mathews
Based onCharacters created
by J.M. Barrie
Produced by
  • Christopher Chase
  • Michelle Pappalardo-Robinson
  • Dan Rounds
Edited byAntonio F. Rocco
Music byJoel McNeely
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution[2]
Release dates
  • February 10, 2002 (2002-02-10) (New York City)
  • February 15, 2002 (2002-02-15) (United States)
Running time
73 minutes[1]
CountriesUnited States[1]
Budget$20 million[5]
Box office$115.1 million[5]

Return to Never Land (also known as Peter Pan in: Return to Never Land and later retitled Peter Pan II: Return to Never Land on current home video release) is a 2002 animated adventure fantasy film produced by Disney MovieToons and Walt Disney Television Animation. A sequel to Walt Disney Feature Animation's 1953 film Peter Pan (in turn based on J. M. Barrie's 1904 stage play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up), the film follows Wendy's daughter who refuses to believe in her mother's story during the Blitz in London, only to be mistakenly brought to Neverland by the pirates. In order for her to get home, she meets Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys who encourage her to fly and make her believe. The film stars the voices of Harriet Owen, Blayne Weaver, Corey Burton, Jeff Bennett, Kath Soucie, Spencer Breslin, and Bradley Pierce.

The film was released on February 15, 2002, by Walt Disney Pictures,[6] and grossed $115 million against $20 million.


Many years after the events of the first film, a grown Wendy Darling, who maintains her belief and knowledge of Peter Pan, is married to a soldier named Edward, and has two children, Jane and Danny. With World War II raging, Edward leaves his family to fight, leaving Wendy to take care of the children. Jane becomes a very serious girl and, unlike her younger brother, refuses to believe in stories about Peter Pan and Neverland.

One evening, Wendy tells Jane and Danny that all the children in London will soon be evacuated to the countryside for their safety due to Nazi Germany's bombing of the city by the Luftwaffe. Jane refuses to go and has an argument with her mother and brother. Later that evening, Peter's arch-nemesis, Captain Hook, and his pirate crew arrive on his pixie-dust enchanted ship and kidnaps Jane, mistaking her for Wendy, and takes her to Neverland, where they plan to feed Jane to an octopus in order to lure Peter into a trap. However, Peter rescues Jane, and Hook escapes from the disgruntled octopus, returning to the ship. After Peter learns that Jane is Wendy's daughter, he takes her to his hideout to be the mother of the Lost Boys as Wendy once was, but Jane refuses. The following day, the boys fail to teach Jane about flying. Annoyed by their unruly behavior, Jane loses her temper and declares that she does not believe in fairies. Her disbelief causes Tinker Bell to lose her strength and the fairy's light begins to fade.

Hook, overhearing Jane's longing to return home, plans to use this to his advantage. That evening, Hook promises to bring Jane home if she can find the treasure that Peter and the Lost Boys stole, giving her a whistle to signal him when she finds it. Jane asks Peter and the boys to play a game of "treasure hunt", and they teach Jane how to act like a Lost Boy, hoping to get her to believe in fairies and save Tinker Bell's life. Jane finds the treasure and changes her mind, discarding the whistle. The boys make her a "Lost Girl", before Tootles finds and blows the whistle, inadvertently alerting the pirates, who capture the boys and expose Jane as their accomplice. Jane tries to convince Peter that it was a misunderstanding, but he berates her for her deception and reveals that her disbelief in fairies is causing Tinker Bell's light to fade.

Horrified by her mistake, Jane runs back to the hideout to find Tinker Bell's lifeless body. Jane is devastated, thinking the fairy is dead forever, but with Jane's new belief, Tinker Bell is revived. They head to the ship and see Hook forcing Peter to walk the plank. With Tinker Bell's help, Jane learns to fly. As Peter uses the anchor to sink the ship, the pirates, riding on a rowboat, are pursued by the octopus. After saying goodbye to the boys, Peter escorts Jane back home, where she reconciles with Wendy and Danny. Peter and Tinker Bell meet with Wendy again, then fly back to Neverland as Edward returns home and reunites with his family.

Voice cast[edit]

  • Harriet Owen as Jane Darling, Wendy and Edward's daughter, and Danny's older sister who refuses to believe in stories, but changes her mind with Peter's help. Lianne Hughes served as the supervising animator for Jane Darling.
    • Owen also voiced Young Wendy.
  • Blayne Weaver as Peter Pan, the leader of the Lost Boys, Jane's new friend, and Wendy's former playmate who protects Never Land and its inhabitants. Pieter Lommerse and Andrew Collins served as the supervising animators for Peter Pan.
  • Corey Burton as Captain Hook, the captain of the pirates and Peter Pan's arch-nemesis. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for Captain Hook.
  • Jeff Bennett as Mr. Smee, Captain Hook's clumsy and innocent first mate and right-hand man.
    • Bennett, along with Burton would reprise his role in the TV series Jake and the Never Land Pirates
  • Kath Soucie as Wendy Darling, Jane and Danny's mother, Michael and John's older sister, Edward's wife, and Peter's former playmate. Ryan O'Loughlin served as the supervising animator for Wendy Darling. Kathryn Beaumont, who voiced Wendy in the original, recorded all of her dialogues for the sequel, but Soucie replaced her as Beaumont's voice had aged.[7]
  • Andrew McDonough as Daniel Darling, nicknamed Danny, Wendy and Edward's son and Jane's younger brother who believes in his mother’s stories of Peter Pan.
  • Roger Rees as Edward Darling, a surviving soldier, Wendy's husband, and Jane and Danny's father. Rees would later serve as co-playwright for another Peter Pan project, the stage adaptation of Peter and the Starcatcher.
  • The Lost Boys, Peter's best friends:
    • Spencer Breslin as Cubby, a lost boy in a bear costume.
    • Bradley Pierce as Nibs, a lost boy in a rabbit costume.
    • Quinn Beswick as Slightly, a lost boy in a fox costume.
    • Aaron Spann as Twins, the lost boys in raccoon costumes.
    • Tootles, a mute lost boy in a skunk costume.
  • Frank Welker as The Octopus, who seeks to consume Captain Hook, similar to the Crocodile.


Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premiere developed the project and then assigned the work for Peter and Jane to Disney Animation Canada. The film was a Peter Pan sequel originally designed as its first theatrical release. In fall 1999, the Canadian unit stopped work on what was then a video release. With Canada's closure, the work on Peter and Jane was instead moved to the Walt Disney Animation Australia and Walt Disney Animation Japan units.[8] Cornerstone Animation was then contracted to do animation direction.[9] The film moved back to a Disney MovieToons theatrical release.[10] Due to the controversy of the first film, the Native-Americans are completely absent in the sequel, but it does show their teepees and totem poles in one sequence. Also following these changes, the mermaids are given brassieres since their appearances in its predecessor were considered sexualized.


Peter Pan in Disney's Return to Never Land
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedFebruary 5, 2002
LabelWalt Disney

Several original songs were written for the film: "I'll Try" (written and performed by Jonatha Brooke, which is put into three different versions. A short version heard at the beginning of the film, a reprise; heard towards the film's climax, and a full version; which is used in the end credits), "Here We Go Another Plan" (written by Randy Rogel and performed by Jeff Bennett), and "So to Be One of Us"/"Now that You're One of Us" (written by They Might Be Giants).

The song "Second Star to the Right" from the original film is covered by Jonatha Brooke. The soundtrack also includes a cover of "Do You Believe in Magic?" by BBMak, which is also heard in the end credits.

The end title version of "I'll Try" was produced by Stewart Levine.

The score for the film was composed by Joel McNeely.

Track listing[edit]

1."Do You Believe in Magic?"BBMak3:00
2."Main Title (Score)"Joel McNeely2:08
3."The Second Star to the Right"Jonatha Brooke1:57
4."The Tale of Pan (Score)"Joel McNeely1:44
5."I'll Try"Jonatha Brooke4:07
6."Jane Is Kidnapped (Score)"Joel McNeely3:35
7."A Childhood Lost (Score)"Joel McNeely2:35
8."Here We Go Another Plan"Jeff Bennett0:24
9."Summoning the Octopus/Pan Saves Jane (Score)"Joel McNeely2:41
10."Flight Through Never Land (Score)"Joel McNeely2:42
11."So to Be One of Us"Blayne Weaver, Harriet Owen, Spencer Breslin, Bradley Pierce, Aaron Spann, The Lost Boys Chorus: Jonnie Hall, D.J. Harper, Nils Montan, Bobbi Page, Wally Wingert, Lauren Wood1:27
12."Meet the Lost Boys (Score)"Joel McNeely1:14
13."Now that You're One of Us"Blayne Weaver, Harriet Owen, Spencer Breslin, Bradley Pierce, Aaron Spann, The Lost Boys Chorus: Jonnie Hall, D.J. Harper, Nils Montan, Bobbi Page, Wally Wingert, Lauren Wood0:38
14."Longing for Home (Score)"Joel McNeely2:15
15."Hook and the Lost Boys (Score)"Joel McNeely3:24
16."Hook Deceives Jane (Score)"Joel McNeely2:56
17."Jane Finds the Treasure (Score)"Joel McNeely1:59
18."Pan Is Captured (Score)"Joel McNeely2:17
19."I'll Try (Reprise)"Jonatha Brooke1:08
20."Jane Saves Tink and Pan (Score)"Joel McNeely3:29
21."Jane Can Fly (Score)"Joel McNeely2:36
22."Flying Home (Score)"Joel McNeely3:29
23."Reunion (Score)"Joel McNeely2:21


Box office[edit]

The film opened at the third position at the box office behind Crossroads and John Q with $11.9 million.[11] Return to Never Land grossed $48.4 million domestically and $66.7 million overseas, for a worldwide gross of $115.1 million, against a production budget of $20 million.[12] It was before DVD sales, which had been the initially planned market for the film.

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 45% based on 97 reviews, and an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With its forgettable songs and lackluster story, this new Pan will surely entertain kids, but will feel more like a retread to adults."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[15]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and praised the vocal performances of Burton and Weaver, especially Burton's, though he expressed surprise for not having the two actors sing any of the movie's songs.[16] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian published a negative review by calling the film a "completely uninspired cartoon sequel", dismissing it as a very dull retread of the original film.[17]


Breslin was nominated for a 2003 Young Artist Award as Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role at the 24th Young Artist Awards.[18][19][20]

Home media[edit]

Return to Never Land was released on VHS and DVD on August 20, 2002,[21] and it took in only lukewarm sales. In November 2007, the film was released in a "Pixie-Powered Edition" and was also released in a Peter Pan trilogy, along with the Peter Pan Platinum Edition and Tinker Bell in December 2008.

The film was released on Blu-ray in August 2013, after the first Blu-ray release of Peter Pan. It was reprinted on Blu-ray in June 2018 as a Disney Movie Club Exclusive.


  1. ^ a b "Return to Never Land (2002)". AllMovie. Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Return to Never Land". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 21, 2023. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  3. ^ Baisley, Sarah (June 16, 2003). "DisneyToon Studios Builds Slate Under New Name and Homes for Needy". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on February 25, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  4. ^ "Return to Never Land (2003)". Archived from the original on 2018-01-28. Retrieved 2020-05-25.
  5. ^ a b "Return to Never Land (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on February 21, 2020. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  6. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (2009). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons (3rd ed.). New York: Checkmark Books. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-8160-6600-1.
  7. ^ Animated Views: Beaumont and Kerry: Peter Pan’s Leading Ladies Archived 2007-03-18 at the Wayback Machine, interview with Kathryn Beaumont
  8. ^ Poirier, Agnes (February 15, 2000). "Disney pulls plug on Canadian animation studios". Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Bloom, David (August 13, 2002). "Cornerstone Animation Takes Hit". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  10. ^ Baisley, Sarah (June 16, 2003). "DisneyToon Studios Builds Slate Under New Name and Homes for Needy". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on March 22, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013.
  11. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for February 15-17, 2002". Box Office Mojo. February 19, 2002. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  12. ^ "Return to Never Land (2002)". Box Office Mojo. June 13, 2002. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "Return to Never Land (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  14. ^ "Return to Never Land Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  15. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Return to Neverland" in the search box). CinemaScore. Archived from the original on January 2, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  16. ^ "Roger Ebert Return to Never Land Review". February 15, 2002. Archived from the original on May 22, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  17. ^ "Peter Bradshaw Return to Never Land Review". March 22, 2002. Archived from the original on May 22, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  18. ^ Rowan, Terry (2014). Pirates, Buccaneers & other Scallywags & Swashbucklers a Complete Film Guide. ISBN 9781312146006.
  19. ^ "The Bryan Times - Google News Archive Search".
  20. ^ "Twenty-Fourth Annual Young Artist Awards (Archived copy)". Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  21. ^ "Peter Pan's Return to Never Land Flies To Video Aug. 20". April 9, 2002. Archived from the original on April 22, 2002. Retrieved September 10, 2019.

External links[edit]