The film follows a girl who refuses to believe in her mother's story during the Blitz in London, only to be mistakenly brought to Neverland by the pirates. In order for her to get home, she meets Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys who encourage her to fly and make her believe.
In World War II, Jane Darling is Wendy's daughter who refuses to believe in stories about Peter Pan. She is mistakenly abducted by Captain Hook and his crew, who sail through the sky on their pixie-dust enchanted ship, evade an air raid alert and escape back to Neverland.
There, Hook plans to feed Jane to the octopus (who replaced Tick-Tock the Crocodile) in order to lure Peter into a trap. However, Peter rescues Jane and Hook escapes from the octopus, returning to the ship. After recognizing and asking Jane to follow Wendy's footstep, Peter takes her to his hideout to be the mother of the Lost Boys, but Jane refuses and gets stranded. The next day as the boys fail to teach Jane about flying, she upsets them and does not believe in fairies, making Tinker Bell sick. That night, Hook tricks Jane by lying that he will not harm Peter and she agrees to help him find the treasure. Hook gives Jane a whistle and leaves.
Jane asks Peter and the boys to play a game of "treasure hunt", and they wish Jane to believe in fairies and save Tinker Bell. As Jane finds the treasure and changes her mind into discarding the whistle, the boys make her the "Lost Girl" before Tootles finds and inadvertently blows the whistle. As the pirates arrive to capture the boys, Peter calls Jane a traitor and tells her because she does not believe in fairies, Tinker Bell is dying. Jane rushes back to the Lost Boys' home, but gets to Tinker Bell too late. Jane, realizing she is the reason Tinker Bell is gone, breaks down in tears for her, but she revives. They head to the ship and see Hook forcing Peter to walk the plank. With Tinker Bell's help, Jane learns to fly. As Peter drops the anchor on the ship and sinks into the sea, the pirates, riding on a rowboat, are pursued by the octopus.
After saying goodbye to the boys, Peter escorts Jane back home, where Jane reconciles with Danny. Peter and Tinker Bell meet Wendy again, though she is already an adult, and they say goodbye. As Edward returns home from the war, Peter and Tinker Bell fly back to Neverland.
Unlike the original film, new actors and characters replace them for the sequel. Kathryn Beaumont, who voiced Wendy in the original, recorded all of her dialogues for the sequel, but Kath Soucie replaced her.Harriet Owen as Jane Darling, Wendy and Edward's daughter, and Danny's older sister who refuses to believe in stories, but Peter changes her mind. Owen also voiced Young Wendy. Lianne Hughes served as the supervising animator for Jane Darling.
Blayne Weaver as Peter Pan, the leader of the Lost Boys, and friends of Wendy and Jane. Pieter Lommerse and Andrew Collins served as the supervising animators for Peter Pan.
Corey Burton as Captain Hook, the leader of the pirates. Bob Baxter served as the supervising animator for Captain Hook.
Jeff Bennett as Mr. Smee, Hook's sidekick.
Kath Soucie as Wendy Darling, Jane and Danny's mother, and Edward's wife. Ryan O'Loughlin served as the supervising animators for Wendy Darling.
Andrew McDonough as Daniel "Danny" Darling, Wendy and Edward's son, and Jane's younger brother.
Roger Rees as Edward Darling, a surviving soldier, Wendy's husband, and Jane and Danny's father.
The Lost Boys, one of Peter's best friends
Spencer Breslin as Cubby
Bradley Pierce as Nibs
Quinn Beswick as Slightly
Aaron Spann as Twins
Disney MovieToons/Disney Video Premiere developed than assigned the work for Peter and Jane to Disney Animation Canada. The film was a Peter Pan sequel originally designed as its first theatrical release. In fall 1999, the Canadian unit stopped work on what was then a video release. With Canada's closure, work on Peter and Jane was moved to Australia and Japan units. Cornerstone Animation was contracted to do animation direction. The film moved back to a Disney MovieToons theatrical release
Joel McNeely composed the music for the film.
The film opened at the third position at the box office behind Crossroads and John Q, earning $11,889,631. Return to Never Land grossed $48,430,258 domestically and $61,432,424 overseas, for an approximate worldwide gross of $109,862,682. With an estimated budget of $20 million, the film made a modestly successful theatrical release. It was before DVD sales, which had been the initially planned market for the film.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 46% based on 94 reviews, with an average of 5.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With its forgettable songs and lackluster story, this new Pan will surely entertain kids, but will feel more like a retread to adults." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 49 out of 100 based on 26 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Breslin was nominated for a 2003 Young Artist Award as Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role at the 24th Young Artist Awards.
Return to Never Land was released on VHS and DVD in August 2002, and it took in only lukewarm sales. The version went out of print in January 2003. In November 2007, the film was released in a "Pixie-Powered Edition" and was also released in a Peter Pan trilogy, along with the Peter Pan Platinum Edition and Tinker Bell in December 2008. The Pixie-Powered edition went out of print in January 2009. The film was released on Blu-ray in August 2013, after the first Blu-ray release of Peter Pan.