It occurred to me that if one looks at the actions of Peter Pan through an ethical lens then the moral quality of that character changes significantly. I must confess it has been several years since I have seen any film version of the Peter Pan and I have not seen the play nor the novel that followed it. If memory serves me correctly, Peter Pan comes to a house and takes two children away without the knowledge or consent of the parents of said children. In my mind that makes him a kidnapper and raises serious questions about the morals and intentions of the character. I think it can also be argued that Peter is not a human being as human beings age and they cannot fly. That leaves us with a non-human creature that kidnaps children.
In an inversion of the story the Pan is an ancient creature, originally from the Unseelie Court, that extends its life by consuming the life force of children. It does this by luring the children to its lair in The Land, an extra-dimensional pocket plane, where it can facilitate the feeding with greater ease.
Combating the Pan are the Pirates. These people are not real pirates but are the former escaped victims of the Pan.
Act I follows what one would expect from a story like this up until the end.
The Pan and Bell (a fairy cohort) approach a house. Inside are a brother and sister. Bell awakens them by tapping on the glass. The atmosphere is magical. Bell convinces the children to leave with her and the Pan and they fly into the clouds.
They have a magical journey to the cloud door, a portal that leads to the Land. Once through the cloud door they arrive at a tropical island that contains a jungle, a mountain and a wrecked pirate ship.
The children are shown round the island and they have numerous magical, wondrous experiences.
The Pirates launch an attack on them. There is a thrilling fight. They beat off the Pirates and have a celebration feast. They become tired and are led to beds. Once asleep the Pan consumes their life force.
Act II broadly repeats the events of Act One up to the Pirates attack, except now the audience view the events through a different lens.
When the Pirates attack they win the fight and take the children from the Pan. Once away from Pan’s lair the Pirates explain who they are: former victims of the creature who managed to escape, or who were rescued by the Pirates.
The children are informed that they will never be able to leave the island.
We begin Act III with a truncated repetition of the abduction.
The Pirates plan their attack: as the Pan has not fed he will be eager to procure new prey. They set up a trap to capture the creature.
When the Pan returns to the Land with his new victims the Pirates launch their attack. There is a fierce battle between the Pirates and Pan and his supernatural forces. The Pirates eventually prove victorious. They trap the Pan in an iron lined box.
Do the Pirates find a way off the island? I think not but the piece could end with the hopeful potential of a possibility. Perhaps one of the new children could know how to construct a hot air balloon.
Obviously care would have to be taken to avoid copyright issues. It will be a fine line: changing the material enough for there to be no legal issues but for it to be clear what the story is. One solution would be to root the creature firmly in the Celtic mythology tradition.