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Lost Boys

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(not to be confused with other things called "Lost Boys")
The Lost Boys, ill. by Raquel Jaramillo
The Lost Boys, ill. by Raquel Jaramillo

The Lost Boys are Peter's companions in Neverland, and he is their leader. As pre-teen boys lacking any adult supervision, they are often ill-behaved, and enjoy the freedom their wild lifestyle offers, but they usually have a hidden (or not-so-hidden) desire for a "mother" (even when they don't know exactly what those are). They were introduced in J. M. Barrie's play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, developed further in the novel Peter and Wendy, and appear in most adaptations and extensions to the story. The Lost Boys – as well as Peter – were inspired by the Llewelyn Davies boys, whom Barrie befriended in 1897. The Lost Boys are widely known for their animal pajamas/costumes, as seen in the 1953 Disney adaptation (though these did not appear in the original play).

Contents

Peter and Wendy

The Lost Boys, Peter, John, and Michael, greet Wendy after building a house for her, illustrated by Alice B. Woodward
The Lost Boys, Peter, John, and Michael, greet Wendy after building a house for her, illustrated by Alice B. Woodward

In the novel, Barrie explains that the Lost Boys are boys who fell out of their prams while their nannies are looking the other way, in places such as Kensington Gardens. After going unclaimed for seven days, they are whisked off to Neverland, where they live with Peter Pan. There are no "Lost Girls", because (as Peter explains) girls are too clever to be lost in this manner. Although it's popularly thought that they remain boys forever (and Barrie states that time operates differently in Neverland), Barrie comments about them routinely getting killed, or they "seem to be growing up" and Peter "thins them out" when they do that. (After all, if they never grew up, and new boys continued to be lost by their nannies, Neverland would eventually overwhelmed with them).

The six Lost Boys in Barrie's story are:

  • Tootles - the least fortunate and most humble, always missing adventures that happen when he's not around
  • Nibs - "gay" and debonair
  • Curly - gets into trouble so much that he habitually takes the blame even when he didn't do it
  • Slightly - the most conceited, because he believes he remembers his life before being lost
  • First Twin - indistinguishable from his brother, and Peter isn't quite sure what twins are
  • Second Twin - ditto

Silent film

Herbert Brenon's 1924 silent film introduces animal costumes for the Lost Boys. They don't wear these outfits all the time, however: just when they're playing at being animals.

Disney films

Nibs, the Twins, "Cubby", Slightly, and Tootles, in Disney's 1953 animated film, at attention and saluting
Nibs, the Twins, "Cubby", Slightly, and Tootles, in Disney's 1953 animated film, at attention and saluting

The Lost Boys gained distinctive animal costumes but lost most of their individual characterization in the Disney movie, acting mostly as a group. Likewise, in some related Disney material, they are named for the animal costumes they wear rather than their somewhat more proper names:

  • Foxy = Slightly
  • Rabbit = Nibs
  • Skunk = Tootles
  • Cubby = Curly (actually named Cubby throughout)
  • the Raccoon Twins = the Twins

In Return to Neverland they are again named as their book counterparts, with the exception of Curly, who remains Cubby (a name The Walt Disney Company seems inordinately fond of). Skunk/Tootles is the only Lost Boy to never speak in either of the films (but arguably makes up for that by being the only one of the group to appear (as an old man) in the film Hook).

A big difference between their Disney treatment and the original work is that the Lost Boys do not leave Neverland with the Darlings and grow up. They are tempted to do so, but change their minds and remain with Peter Pan. In Return to Neverland, which takes place many years later, they are still with Peter and have remained children, reinforcing the notion that living in Neverland automatically means never growing up.

Питер Пэн

in the 1987 Soviet adaptation
in the 1987 Soviet adaptation

In the 1987 made-for-Soviet-TV adaptation Питер Пэн by Belarusfilm, the original Lost Boys are portrayed by six young boys, presumably Russian or Belarusian. They are credited as:

In an iconoclastic bit of directing, the twins don't always stand next to each other.

The Only Children

In Gilbert Adair's unauthorized 1987 sequel Peter Pan and the Only Children, there is a different group of Lost Boys, who refer to themselves as the Brotherhood. They are "only children" (i.e. they have no brothers or sisters) who fell from passing ships and now live with Peter underwater. They include:

  • Tom-Tom – who slavishly imitates Peter
  • Bee – short for "Be quiet!", a rare Lost Girl
  • Ralph – Peter's second-in-command
  • Second Helping – named for his appetite and size

Direct-to-video film

in the 1988 animated adaptation
in the 1988 animated adaptation

In the 1988 Burbank Films Australia direct-to-video adaptation, the six original Lost Boys are shown, wearing caveman-like furs. In keeping with the tone of the adaptation, they are very childlike and innocent, eager to have mothers. Only Tootles and Nibs have significant dialog.

Neverland novel

In the 1989 novel Neverland, there are Lost Boys named Bins, Colin, Hardly, Looter, and two unnamed twins.

Hook

Thud Butt, Don't Ask, No Nap, Too Small, Ace, and Latchboy
Thud Butt, Don't Ask, No Nap, Too Small, Ace, and Latchboy

In Hook, a 1991 film about a Peter Pan who chose to grow up 25-30 years earlier, there are dozens of Lost Boys of various ethnicity living in Neverland, whose clothes and accents suggest that they came to Neverland from different places at various times over the past century. They live in a giant tree on a tall rocky outcropping just offshore of the island (because Hook had burnt their underground house after Peter left Neverland). The Lost Boys named in the film are:

Unnamed Lost Boys are played by Bogdan Georghe, Adam McNatt, and René González Jr, with a large cast of uncredited extras.

The boys are led by Rufio, who took over as leader after Peter left Neverland to grow up and became Peter Banning. Initially, Rufio doesn't believe that Peter is their former leader, nor do most of the boys. However Tinker Bell knows him, and the glimpse of Peter Pan that Pockets finds in Peter Banning's face convince them to train him for a showdown with Captain Hook. The Lost Boys gradually come to believe in Peter, a turning point being when he manages to beat Rufio in a name-calling match. When Peter finally relearns how to fly, Rufio gives Peter the Pan sword. The Lost Boys follow Peter into a climactic war with Captain Hook and the pirates, armed with improvised childlike weapons. Rufio valiantly takes on Hook while Peter rescues his son and daughter. Hook manages to stab Rufio, whose dying words to Peter are "I wish I had a dad... like you." Before leaving Neverland, Peter selects Thud Butt to be their new leader.

Meanwhile, Tootles appears as an old man. He was one of the many "orphans" whom Granny Wendy is said to have found homes for over the decades. He now seems senile, and lives with Wendy because she could not bear to send him to a retirement home. However, he is the first to recognize that Hook has returned to London. He is seen searching for something on the floor, and explains "I've lost my marbles," which Peter Banning readily agrees with. Later in Neverland, Thud Butt gives Peter a small bag containing... Tootles' marbles. Tootles is ecstatic to get them back in the end, and with the help of some fairy dust that spills out of the bag, he flies out the window toward Neverland.

2003 film

Curly, Tootles, Slightly, Nibs, and the Twins in the 2003 film
Curly, Tootles, Slightly, Nibs, and the Twins in the 2003 film

In P. J. Hogan's 2003 adaptation of Peter and Wendy, the original six Lost Boys appear as Peter's band. They wear clothing apparently patched together from scavenged materials, including worn fabric, leather belts, and animal pelts, a bit like castaways who have "gone native". In an apparent homage to the Disney costumes, the pelts include a fox and perhaps skunks, but Curly wears the fox pelt (not Slightly), and the Twins (not Tootles) wear the possibly-skunk pelts as hats. The actors are all English, around 11-12 years old, except the Twins, who are played by 9-year-old Australians (where the movie was filmed).

Starcatcher books

In the prequel Starcatchers series of books, an earlier group of Lost Boys are presented. They include boys whom Peter knew from St. Norbert's orphanage, and who return to England with the family of Molly Aster (the books' heroine) during the series. This of course contradicts Peter's explanation in the original story.

  • Prentiss - a rather new boy at St. Norbert's
  • James - James seems to be closer to Peter then any other boy at St. Norbert's
  • Tubby Ted - as a running gag, Tubby Ted is always hungry
  • Thomas - a boy from St. Norbert's

In Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, some other boys from St. Norbert's - Barrie's set of Lost Boys - end up going to Neverland with Peter. In the end, Prentiss, James, Tubby Ted, and Thomas decide to go back to London with Leonard Aster, realizing that they would become men someday and could not keep up with Peter. This left Peter and Tinker Bell with the familiar Lost Boys from Barrie's story.

Kingdom Hearts

The Lost Boys don't appear alongside Peter Pan and Sora - the central character - in the Kingdom Hearts video game, but they do appear in the Kingdom Hearts manga as comic relief, fighting Donald Duck over some treasure they found in Captain Hook's ship.

NeverWorld

A different set of boys appear in Peter Pan's NeverWorld, as per the idea that there are always new boys coming to the Neverland. The boys who travel to NeverWorld are:

  • Bricks – a bear of a boy who isn’t the brightest, wearing a bearskin and real bear claw slippers.
  • Duvitch – always second in everything. Believes himself to be second in command. Wears overalls and sports two feathers in his cap.
  • Halfway – always “halfway” in everything (i.e. can only carry half as much as the others, makes it halfway to a site and tires out, etc.) His hair is split between blonde and brunette. Only speaks in clichés (but only utters half of the sayings.) He wears a cut off shirt, shorts and sandals.
  • Pogocat – a hyperactive, bouncy boy who is all too eager for everything. He wears a tiger outfit and brown booties.

Cultural references

  • The 1980s film The Lost Boys adapts the concept of a tribe of unaging youths to a gang of vampires.
  • The 1990s comics series The Lost uses the same vampire concept, applying it to Peter and the Lost Boys themselves, not just as a metaphor.
  • The 1997 short story "Lost Girls" by Jane Yolen subverts the idea a bit by looking at it from a female perspective.
  • The video game Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned is centered around a biker gang called The Lost. Although the gang is supposedly named for dead friends that they have lost, it is a likely metaphor for their refusal to grow up, i.e. abandon their hard rock lifestyles for steady jobs.
  • Despite the TV series' name Lost, the setting of a hidden island outside the normal passage of time, an old sailing ship, and a few other apparent references to the Peter Pan mythos, the producers of the show say that Peter Pan was not a conscious source for its mythology. The show contains numerous deliberate references to Alice in Wonderland, however.
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