John takes after his father, George. He often speaks in a sophisticated way, which his younger brother, Michael, usually mimics and repeats (albeit in a more simplistic way (John: "Oh, I should like very much to cross swords with some real buccaneers". Michael: "Yeah, and fight pirates, too!"). He also shows interest in piracy, which may explain why he plays the part of Captain Hook in his nursery games with Michael. He is also shown that he is brave and clever; when he and Michael were playing with the Lost Boys, he was the leader. He is very mature but loves his time being very adventurous and playful.
John is a young boy with matching dark brown hair and eyes and fair skin. He wears round glasses, a white nightshirt, a black top hat, and a pair of black dress shoes, and carries a black umbrella.
John loves hearing his older sister Wendy's stories of Peter Pan and plays Captain Hook while his younger brother, Michael, plays Peter Pan during their nursery games. He is very brave and very smart.
One night, while George and Mary go to a party, Peter visits Wendy, John, and Michael and teaches them how to fly and takes them to Neverland with them. When they arrive there, Captain Hook and his crew shoot at them with their cannon, but Peter orders Tinker Bell to take them to the island while he takes on Captain Hook. She jealously tries to make the Lost Boys take out Wendy, but after Peter tells them that she will be their new mother, they feel bad.
John is ordered by Peter to take the Lost Boys and Michael on a hunt for Indians, who capture and mistake them for the kidnapping of the Chief's daughter, Tiger Lily, and he orders them to be burned at the stake if she doesn't return by sunset. Luckily, Peter saves her from Captain Hook, the real kidnapper, and returns her to the Indian Camp, and the boys are set free while Peter is made a Flying Eagle by the Chief. During the song, John tries the Chief's pipe, which sickens him and makes his face turn dark green. Also during the song, he dances along with the Indians, wanting to live like savages.
After the party, Wendy tells John and Michael that they're going home the next day, but they refuse until she reminds them about their mother, Mary, and they wish to return home, along with the Lost Boys who wish for a mother, too. John leads them out, but they (along with Wendy) are captured by Captain Hook and his crew who are waiting outside having revealed their hideout, Hangman's Tree, by Tinker Bell who was banished earlier for nearly killing Wendy and been captured by Smee. On the Jolly Roger, the children are offered to become pirates to which the boys agree, but Wendy stops them, saying that Peter will save them. However, Captain Hook admits to leaving a present for him from her that had a bomb in it that will blow up shortly and take him with it. But unknown to the children and Captain Hook, Tinker Bell manages to escape from her prison and warns him of it, and the children being captured. Thinking it has killed him, Captain Hook has made Wendy walk the plank to drown in the sea, but luckily Peter arrives, saves her from her watery grave, and frees the boys, and they fight off Captain Hook and his crew, who go off in their rowboat chasing the crocodile who chases Captain Hook.
In the end, Peter takes Wendy, John, and Michael home. Afterward, John is seen sleeping in his bed and tucked away by Nana and Mary - the whole experience is speculated by some viewers to be a dream, validated by the fact that the word Neverland today appears in English vernacular as "an ideal or imaginary place; a dream world".
John didn't appear in the sequel and wasn't mentioned by any of the characters, including Wendy. However, he made a couple of shadowy cameos on some starry night clouds that light up by Tinker Bell, to begin with (flying with Wendy and Michael and leading the Lost Boys to the Indian Camp).
John appears in the Jake and the Neverland Pirates special, Battle for the Book. In it, Captain Hook has stolen the book containing Peter Pan's adventures with intent on destroying it as well as the stories of Never Land forever. To save it, Wendy John, and Michael team up with Jake and his crew to race though London, and eventually, Neverland itself, to stop Captain Hook. During the adventure, John becomes particularly close to Izzy.
John appears once again in the series finale "Captain Hook's Last Stand!", where he, Wendy, and Michael visit Never Land to take part in Peter Pan's homecoming celebration. When he is finally defeated by a magically-equipped Captain Hook, John and the other young heroes work together to save him.
John and the rest of the Darling family appear in the Season 2 episode "Second Star to the Right". After a boy named Baelfire was welcomed into their family, John and Michael overhear him one night warning Wendy to stay away from a shadow that looms outside the window. She ignores his advice and travels to Neverland with the Shadow. When she returns, she reveals it wants to take one of her brothers away to Neverland forever. During the next night, Baelfire helps to hide everyone when it comes, but Michael is nearly caught by it. To avoid the splitting up of a family, Baelfire asks to be taken to Neverland instead.
In "Dark Hollow", John and Michael became employed by Pan after he kidnapped Wendy sometime after the events of "Second Star to the Right". Now adults, they arrive in Storybrooke to destroy Pandora's Box, the only thing capable of defeating him. While they succeed in capturing tit, they are thwarted by Belle and Ariel in the mines. They reveal Pan is holding Wendy captive in Neverland, so Belle promises she will do what is necessary to save Wendy if they do not destroy the box.
At one point in the 1980s, John was played by an actual young boy at the Disney parks, but child labor laws of the 1990s forced this to end. If asked where he is, Wendy says that he and Michael are still in the nursery.