No not like that — Peter lives to fight another day, though rather chastened. (My four-star review is here.)
After running away from Bea and Thomas on their first visit to Nigel Basil-Jones in Gloucester, Peter meets Barnabas, an old and experienced rabbit who claims to know Peter’s father. He doesn’t — it’s just a way to gain Peter’s trust — though at first Peter certainly learns a lot from him. Captured shortly after their meeting, then re-homed together with a wealthy family, they escape with the extremely healthy contents of the family’s fridge.
Bea is finding that her ideas for future books about the rabbits are simply not exciting enough for Nigel Basil-Jones and the children he wants to target. A marketing brainstorm shows the differences in their approaches, though she does try, back in the Lake District, to incorporate Nigel’s suggestions in her paintings: with rabbits playing ukuleles on the beach, or floating in space, until Thomas points out she’s not doing what she wants but what Nigel wants. Nigel claims that she can preserve more of the rabbits’ land with the money she makes, and he even buys her a sports car against future earnings, but she eventually realises that they can never share the same vision.
Meanwhile Barnabas is planning the ultimate heist: on the local farmers’ market, and specifically the dried fruit stall. Peter ropes in his sisters and cousin Benjamin, as well as Felix D’eer, Mrs Tiggywinkle, Jemima Puddleduck and the others. The heist is successful, and they cause mayhem at the market, though while Peter and his criminal gang escape with their sucrose-heavy loot, his friends from home find themselves trapped in a small animal petting zoo next to the getaway van (the tailor of Gloucester’s van, Beatrix Potter fans!) They are taken back with the other animals and quickly adopted out, some of them to life-threatening environments.
Back at their lair, Barnabas tells Peter he actually never knew Peter’s father, and that he blames Peter for no one wanting him. After reading about young, mischievous Peter in Bea’s book, children don’t want an old rabbit like Barnabas.
Peter and Thomas McGregor find common ground (once Thomas finds he can “hear” Peter) and Thomas accepts he has been hard on the young bunny. They work together to find the adopted pets, saving them from some perilous situations. The rescues are as action-packed as Nigel Basil-Jones would have wanted in Bea’s souped-up stories: Jeremy Fisher narrowly misses becoming a biology experiment, Pigling Bland is almost an Easter roast, while Felix D’eer is about to be mounted on a wall in a Scottish hunting lodge. mrs Tiggywinkle turns out to be a smart shooter, firing her own prickles at the chef chasing them to retrieve his pig.
Peter and his friends return home to the Lake District, and Peter apologises to his fellow bunnies. Thomas makes a trite (and very movie-friendly) remark about families coming in all shapes and sizes, and Bea laughs at him. A few months later, Bea and Thomas have a baby girl.
In the mid-credits scene, the cockerel (rooster!) who had the earlier existential crisis when he missed sun-up and realised the sun did not rise because of his crowing, decides that instead he’s the reason the water sprinklers come on in the morning, and once more has meaning in his life.
Read my 4-star review of Peter Rabbit 2.