Peter Pan and the Lost Girls?

Peter Pan and the Lost Girls?

A new film adaptation of Peter Pan is set to favour "gender inclusion" with “Lost Girls” among the troupe of children led by the boy who never grows up.

The film will be the first major retelling by Disney since the exclusive copyright for JM Barrie’s 1904 novel "Peter Pan and Wendy" expired in the US.

In the original story, Peter Pan tells Wendy that girls are “much too clever” to become Lost Boys, but the new film will show modern audiences something very different.

David Lowery, the film's American director has defended the decision to break from tradition in a new adaptation that also features a black actress as the role of Tinker Bell.

In Barrie’s original work, Peter explains to Wendy that the tribe of Lost Boys is a group of children who fell out of their pram as infants, and were missing for seven days.

He adds: “Girls, you know, are much too clever to fall out of their prams.”

But a trailer for the new movie shows boys and girls in a new group, while further changes have increased racial diversity in Neverland.

Tinker Bell is played by Yara Shahidi, an African American actress, while British actor Alexander Molony, stars as Peter, whose character has been tweaked to make him more sympathetic compared with his portrayal in Disney's 1953 animated film.

Barrie gave the rights to his work to Great Ormond Street in 1929, and licensing material based on Peter Pan has provided income for the children’s hospital.

Disney has been able to make changes to the material because it owns the rights to its own film, and Barrie’s novel Peter and Wendy has been out of copyright in the US since 2007.

In contrast, the rights cannot lapse in the UK because James Callaghan, the former prime minister and later a Labour peer, proposed an amendment to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act of 1988 that granted Great Ormond Street the unique right to royalties from Peter Pan indefinitely.