In the 2015 film Pan, the workers and Captain Blackbeard sing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana and later "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones. While another question on this site explains the out-of-universe reasons why it is sung, I'd like to know in-universe how the pirates know the song at all. We see that Peter is from 1940s London (and returns there at the end of the movie), and there is no evidence of time travel. So how could Blackbeard and the others possibly know the words to the song?

  • 21
    Not the DVer, but it seems like you're asking for a logical explanation for something intentionally illogical.
    – Walt
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 19:39
  • 19
    There is none. This is akin to asking why people spontaneously burst into song during any musical, and all the characters instantly know the chorus. It just is. There's no logical explanation for it. Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 19:47
  • 2
    Possible duplicate of Why do they sing Nirvana in Pan?
    – MattD
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:19
  • 2
    @MattD - That question is asking why the Director chose it (out of universe). This question is asking how Pan and the Pirates knew it (in-universe). Not a dupe.
    – user7812
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:20
  • 7
    There is no logical answer here. How did the people in A Knight's Tale know the song "We Will Rock You"? How did the cast of the movie Ella Enchanted know the songs "Somebody to Love" or "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"? There are many other examples of fantasy based plots containing popular modern songs. The reason is simply because these songs were included as part of the script which was created by out of universe individuals.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:31

6 Answers 6


According to this answer, the director simply chose Smells Like Teen Spirit because they were playing it during some sort of pirate bootcamp to train the extras, that song came on, and everyone starting singing and jumping up and down to it. They felt it was fun and added it to the movie.

As such, unless there's a direct explanation from either the director, writer, or anyone else involved in the production of the movie that has offered an in-universe explanation for why they know these songs, the answer is simply: there is none.

Anything else is simply conjecture.

  • 4
    Because unless there's an explanation from someone who worked on the film as to why they knew these songs in-universe, this is the only viable explanation, and anything else is conjecture, as in, "I don't know, but here's my guess/what others think." If these are the answers we're accepting, then the question needs to be closed as being Primarily Opinion Based.
    – MattD
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:44
  • 1
    As much as I hate to say it, the fact that you're ignorant of the answer...isn't an answer. You could just as easily go around posting "I don't know, therefore there's no reason" on every question that you don't know the answer to.
    – user7812
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:46
  • 8
    I'm only ignorant of the answer because either: 1) No one who worked on the film has explained, in-universe, how they know it; 2) There's no dialog or aspect of the film that's been sufficiently analyzed to possibly provide an explanation of how they know the song. Answers need to be properly sourced or provide analysis and input directly from the film to provide an explanation. Barring that, anything else is conjecture.
    – MattD
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:50
  • 1
    Unless you've read and watched every single interview given by the cast and crew, read every single version of the script and treatments and seen every deleted scene, I fail to see how you can say "No one who worked on the film has explained, in-universe, how they know it". Admittedly, on occasion I'll post an "I don't know, therefore no-one knows" answer, but I make damn sure I cover every single base before posting it. I don't think you've done that.
    – user7812
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:53
  • 8
    I've done what I can with Google searches and the like. Feel free to prove me wrong if you can, but until that happens I'm done with this dialogue.
    – MattD
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 20:55

The only logical answer based on the movie's timeline, would be that Nirvana met a Lost Boy or that they were Lost Boys and ripped off Blackbeard's music.

In the world of Pan, Nirvana are frauds, and Blackbeard and his crew were musical pioneers/savants.

  • Out of universe, I suspect they just wanted to include it because they thought it provided some modern "whimsy" or some such.
    – Kosmos
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 19:48
  • Or perhaps the movie takes place in a universe where Blackbeard and his crew came up with the lyrics and Nirvana never existed to create the song.
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 17:18
  • @Michael Nirvana certainly hasn't existed by the point in time that Peter gets taken to Neverland. Whether Nirvana ever exist in that universe is purely speculative, as any answer to this question is going to be.
    – Kosmos
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 17:58

If I remember correctly in Captain Blackbeard's "welcoming speech", he says that all the children come from across time. Could this not imply that somehow they can visit different periods in time and so become aware of music/songs from "the future" compared to Pan's time?

  • 2
    THIS seems like the best answer to me. I don't remember if Blackbeard said anything about time, but given what we see on-screen it's not a stretch to say that Neverland exists outside the linear timeline.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 16:18

They do explain this in the movie just after the song has been sung blackbeard says, "you are home, where you join orphans alike from every corner of the globe, every race creed and colour, EVERY AGE AND ERA" so it stands to reason some of the people in the mines are from the 90's


There is a fan-made theory out there that would imply that the children and pan would be dead. If this is true, in the world of the dead there should be a Kurt Cobain rocking people out with all of his success from back when he was alive.

I know this is maybe not the anwser you were looking for, so let me add a purely speculative answer :

What if Nirvana and The Ramones existed in this universe. It would explain the pirates knowing the lyrics.

I'm afraid there is no real "Good" anwser, since all we can do is speculate on how can they know the songs.


The reason is Kurt Cobain is a lost boy. All of the lost boys come from different time periods. They are boys who nobody wanted or were so unhappy in their time lines they willingly left our universe and traveled to Neverland. Don't forget all the water-bubble universes they passed on their way to Neverland. Case in point: The actual story of Peter Pan occurs in Victorian-era England. But by this time, all of the lost boys are wearing rags, so they've been there quite a while. Also, Peter has been reduced to wearing clothes made of the vegetation. By the time we see him meeting Wendy, he's been there decades, at least.

Neverland doesn't exist in our timeline. Peter and the Pirates travel around all over time and invite "lost boys" to join them in Neverland. In some philosophical way,the story is saying Kurt Cobain isn't "dead" rather he has become a "lost boy" and is still existing somewhere, teaching others his great songs.

Lastly, Blackbeard does say that unwanted children have been taken from all over "across time".

  • 4
    Hello! Welcome to this site and thank you for contributing. When you say that you "had a hand in originating this story"...what does that mean? You had a hand in the script? Do you have any sources to back up this claim? Is this answer just your opinion? You explain everything about Kurt Cobain, but nothing about The Ramones that the OP asked in the question. Just curious. Thanks :) Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 20:06
  • 2
    So...you edited out the part where you claim to have had a "hand" in this story. Did you Not have a hand in this story now? Also, I understand that this is a fantasy and you're supposed to suspend reality. However, these are the types of questions that are perfectly acceptable here and that this site welcomes. Just because we need to suspend reality to watch a movie, doesn't mean that we still have questions about certain aspects of it. Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 21:06
  • I did, but I was not paid. This story idea was in it's genesis, so rather than ruffle feathers, I removed the comment, but I am also going to add, I am a parent and the story was always intended to be what is a fantasy. I always wondered how Peter got to never land and why his ears were pointed when the other lost boys appeared normal. Also, regarding the Ramones, I didn't have anything to do with that song, but I did suggest I always thought of Kurt Cobain as a lost boy rather than dead. Everyone is WAAAAAY to nit-picky about a child's movie.
    – synthia
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 7:19
  • Wow, a hand in the origin of the story means I talked to a screen writer one night about different origin possibilities of Peter Pan. Didn't any you ever wonder how he got to Neverland? It's pretty preposterous to believe a baby just materialized there cause he didn't want to grow up. Some of my idea's are there like Peter is clearly part fairy. Discussing an idea is not the same as writing a script, but I liked many things about it, I didn't like many others, but it certainly wasn't the worst movie ever made. It was probably pandering for excitement and laughs, but that's what kids like.
    – synthia
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 7:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .