By Eliza Berman
November 25, 2014

Since Peter Pan first appeared in a 1902 J.M. Barrie novel, there have been three major movies bearing his name: There was a silent film in 1924, the animated Disney version in 1953, and a 2003 remake that received generally favorable reviews. Next summer, the little prince of Neverland will return to the movies once more in Pan, an origin story that serves as a prequel to the tale its predecessors have told.

The story begins with Peter, played by newcomer Levi Miller, getting abducted from his miserable orphanage and whisked away, via flying ship, to Neverland. Ruled by Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), Neverland introduces Peter to a young James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), who appears more friend than foe, and to Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara), who the trailer suggests has been reimagined as fearless warrior more than damsel in distress.

Hollywood seems never to tire of this tale, which will also get a live onstage treatment from NBC on Dec. 4, starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken. It takes some effort to look past the offensive racial slurs and Victorian era gender roles. But hopefully this modern retelling will set the retrograde messages aside and focus on the themes of imagination and adventure that keep viewers coming back.

Write to Eliza Berman at eliza.berman@time.com.

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