One year ago, Disney put "Peter Pan" back in the vault. It'll be a few years before it's released again to a new generation, but in the meantime, it's hard not to look back on it with fond memories ... or is it?
The truth is that J. M. Barrie's original story, which inspired Disney's tale, may have a dark secret. After hearing it, you can't really blame Peter's shadow for wanting to get the heck out of there.
The Dark Truth: Peter Pan was killing the Lost Boys.
When it comes to the Internet, a lot of fan theories can be categorized as crazy town. This one, however, has enough evidence to make a Lost Boy wet his onesie. Though it's easy to miss, one line in the story basically reveals the Lost Boys' fate:
The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out; but at this time there were six of them, counting the twins as two.
Yep, you read that right. When the Lost Boys get too old, Peter "thins them out." But what does that mean? Redditor crusty_the_clown sums it up pretty well:
Maybe Pan isn't that specific with how he gets rid of the Boys, but you get the point. So could he really kill them off?
A variety of things suggest Peter Pan is capable of offing his compatriots. For one, Peter hates adults (like, he really hates them), which you can see in the story:
As soon as he got inside his tree he breathed intentionally quick short breaths at the rate of about five to a second. He did this because there is a saying in the Neverland that, every time you breathe, a grown-up dies; and Peter was killing them off vindictively as fast as possible.
Jeez, Peter, tell us how you really feel.
With his clear distaste for grown ups, it's reasonable to think that Pan would have a lot of contempt for the boys as they grew up.
Also, the original story was just dark in general, which gives the theory even more plausibility. Grim moments include Wendy nearly dying after being shot by an arrow, Peter being attacked by Hook and left to drown and Hook being eaten by the crocodile.
The Case Against:
You can't take everything at face value in a story about children. The "thins them out" line could just be a metaphor, or, as one commenter points out on PainInTheEnglish, perhaps it means something entirely different:
It could just as likely refer to them being killed by pirates, or leaving Neverland upon growing up, or being banished or shunned, etc.
The story can definitely be open to interpretation, but even Disney's toned down version isn't without its dark moments. If true, could Disney's Pan be capable of killing the Lost Boys, too?
Think happy thoughts, people! Just think happy thoughts.