Michael is clumsy, innocent, observant, and playful. He looks up to his older siblings, John and Wendy. He is also very sensitive as seen at the beginning of the film, he cries when their father, George, declares that night is Wendy's last night in the nursery and kicks Nana out of the house and in the climax when he, John, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys returned to their hideout he starts to feel homesick after Wendy sings "Your Mother and Mine" and he cries in her arms.
Michael has strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. He wears pink footie pajamas and carries a brown teddy bear.
Michael is a supporting character in the film. It is explained that he and his older brother, John, believe that Peter Pan, whom they have learned about from Wendy's stories, is a real person. Thus, they often make-believe that they are Captain Hook and Peter Pan in their nursery games.
At the beginning of the film, Michael and John are playing one of these games, with Michael as Peter Pan. They are having a fake swordfight, as George comes in looking for his cufflinks, as he is getting ready for a party. John realizes that the cufflinks were used as a buried treasure in their game, but they can't remember where they are and they have lost the treasure map they made. George finds the map, which turns out to have been made out of his shirt front, much to his horror. This upsets George, and he begins scolding all the children for having their heads filled with silly stories. Michael's older sister, Wendy, protests, and as a result she is told that she will no longer be allowed to stay in the nursery, which upsets him. As George goes to leave, he trips over Nana, and thus ties her up outside, which greatly upsets Michael. His mother, Mary, comforts him as she tucks him in bed. As she goes to leave, he hands over the cufflinks and two rings belonging to her.
When Peter Pan appears later, Michael is asleep but awakens as Peter Pan chases after Tinker Bell. He is allowed to accompany Peter Pan, Wendy, and John to Neverland and chooses to bring his teddy bear. Nana sees this, terrified, and tries to stop them. Michael sees this and spreads some of Tinker Bell's pixie dust at Nana, causing her to fly, and he calls her to follow, but not realizing that she's being held back by the leash still attached to her collar and is left behind waving at him. In Neverland, he goes off to hunt Indians with John and the Lost Boys. After finding a feather and tomahawk, he plays with them for a bit but realizes they are about to be ambushed by the Indians. He tries to warn the others, but they don't listen and the entire group is captured by the Indians. They are taken to the Indian Camp, where the Chief reveals that they are being held responsible for the capture of his daughter, Tiger Lily. Though he threatens to burn them at the stake if she is not returned, this punishment is avoided thanks to Peter Pan rescuing her from Captain Hook, the real kidnapper.
Michael parties with the Lost Boys, while Wendy is forced to do chores, and he returns late at night. Wendy, annoyed with Peter Pan, proclaims they will go home the next day, and that they need to sleep. After talking with Michael, it becomes apparent that Michael is starting to forget what home was like, as he at first thinks that Wendy, then Nana, was his mother. Wendy is able to remind him who she was, and he agrees to go home, accompanied by the Lost Boys, who wanted to go after hearing about Mary. However, as they go to leave, the entire group is captured by Captain Hook. He offers to allow them to either join his crew or walk the plank. The boys almost take his offer but are stopped by Wendy. They're then forced to watch as she walks the plank. However, she is saved and they're freed thanks to the timely arrival of Peter Pan. A large fight breaks out, and Michael participates by banging a pirate on the head with his teddy bear, which is revealed to have been stuffed with a cannonball. Afterward, he returns home on the Jolly Roger and is asleep by the time George and Mary return home.
Michael 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 John and tagging along with John and the Lost Boys to the Indian Camp). His nephew, Danny, seems to strongly resemble him in appearance and personality.
Michael and the rest of the Darling family appear in the Season 2 episode "Second Star to the Right". He is portrayed by child actor Benjamin Cook. After a boy named Baelfire was welcomed into their family, he and John overhear him one night warning Wendy to stay away from a shadow that looms outside the window. Wendy ignores his advice and travels to Neverland with it. She brings bad news on her arrival back; the Shadow wants to take one of her brothers away to Neverland forever. During the next night, Baelfire helps to hide everyone when the Shadow comes. However, Michael doesn't follow the plan and risks of being kidnapped 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 it, 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.
Michael used to be a meetable character at the Disney theme parks in the 1980s, usually played by a 6-year to 8-year old boy, but child labor laws of the 1990s forced him to be dropped from the face character roster.
Michael has an audio-animatronic featured in the popular attraction, Peter Pan's Flight. Another animatronic version of him can be seen in Peter Pan's Enchanted Window display along Main Street, U.S.A..