Characters / Heathers

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The Romance

    Veronica Sawyer
Played by: Winona Ryder (Film), Annaleigh Ashford (Joe's Pub), Barrett Wilbert Weed (Hudson Theatre and Original Off-Broadway), Charissa Hogeland (Closing Off-Broadway)

The protagonist of the story; a cynical high school senior who's starting to regret getting In with the In Crowd.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Maybe not all of them, but Veronica sure does. Eventually deconstructed.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: On more than one occasion in the movie. Did she know she grabbed the wrong cup that killed Heather Chandler? When did she figure out about the "Ich Luge" bullets? Did she always know, did she find out before she shot Kurt or after? Was it a moment of panic or was she fully aware of what she was doing? J.D. thinks she wanted to kill them. It's possible Veronica isn't sure herself.
  • Anti-Hero: She is a pretty horrible person herself. She left behind her loyal friend to go in with the in crowd. She is shaken up, but only slightly bothered by the death of Heather Chandler - which she herself had caused. She clearly couldn't care less what happens to Heather McNamara with the two rapists when she ditches her for J.D. She makes plans to maim said two assholes, but over spreading a rumor about her, and not for raping her friend - plans that end up with their untimely deaths. And even after she realizes they're dead, she is mad about being tricked by J.D. a lot more than about killing two people. Downplayed in the stage show, where she becomes a lot more sympathetic and a lot less actively complicit in what J.D.'s doing.
  • The Atoner: Feeling the guilt once Martha tried to kill herself and the taunting of the ghosts of Heather Chandler, Ram and Kurt, she realizes once J.D. plans to blow up the high school and those in it for the pep rally, that she has to stop him once and for all. See The Determinator.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Or perhaps poisoning her with drain cleaner...
  • Beta Bitch: She alternates this position with Heather Duke, reluctantly.
  • Brainy Brunette: She was considered bright enough to consider putting ahead into high school out of the sixth grade, rather than attend junior high.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Played straight; she's the Smart Girl of the Girl Posse, and The Lancer to the red leader.
  • Color Motif: Blue, suitable for her melancholic temper, and her position as Heather Chandler's foil. Her outfits incorporate more and more black as the movie progresses, as she turns her back on her days in the color coded Girl Posse, and grows closer to J.D., seeing how Evil Wears Black.
  • Date Rape Averted: Three times! First at the college party, then at the cow tipping double date, and then with J.D.
  • The Determinator: She WON'T let her fellow students and the faculty of the high school die by J.D.'s bomb, and is determined to stop him. First by trying to appeal to that part of him who loves her, then trying to get his gun but wounding J.D., and finally ready to get the bomb far enough away to keep the others from dying even if SHE does (as sung in the Reprise of "Dead Girl Walking").
    His solution is a lie, no one here deserves to die
    Except for me and the monster I created!
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted; she's actually Faking the Dead.
  • The Fashionista: Monocles and kimonos are a staple of her leisure-wear...
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Among the four members of the Girl Posse, she is the Melancholic.
  • Heel–Face Turn: First, it seems she is pulling one while drifting away from the bitchy Girl Posse while getting involved with J.D. When he is revealed to be all kinds of Axe-Crazy, she eventually turns on him too, and starts following her own moral code. And kills him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the musical, she attempts one to save everyone in the school from being blown to bits, but J.D. chooses to take her place.
  • Honey Trap: As part of her and J.D.'s plan to humiliate Ram and Kurt, she lures them to the graveyard with promises of a threesome.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Subverted. She is highly intelligent, and was supposed to skip a year or two in school. She then converts her book smarts to people smarts, and becomes a member of the popular Girl Posse. Played straight at the beginning of the musical, though.
  • In with the In Crowd: Veronica's arc is a dark, dark take on this trope.
  • The Lancer: To Alpha Bitch Heather Chandler.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name is a combination of classic comic character, Veronica Lodge, and classic literary character, Tom Sawyer, symbolizing her role as the more mischievous and selfish best friend of Betty Finn (whose own name is a combination of Betty Cooper and Huckleberry Finn, the more noble best friends of Veronica and Tom).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The song "Yo Girl" has Veronica find out from Heather Duke that Martha tried to kill herself in an attempt to copy the popular kids "and failing miserably." Needless to say, she's horrified Martha almost joined Heather Chandler, Ram and Kurt.
    • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The spirits of Heather Chandler, Ram and Kurt taunt Veronica that she's "truly a Heather" and "earned that red scrunchie." After J.D. makes his Heroic Sacrifice she DOES take the scrunchie and says "There's a new sheriff in town."
  • Odd Name Out: She's the only Heather not named Heather.
  • Outlaw Couple: Played with in her relationship with J.D. She even lampshades this with talking about the Ur-Example, Bonnie and Clyde.
  • Karma Houdini: She kills three people, involved in the death of the fourth, and is merely singed by the end of the film.
  • Self-Harm: She burns herself with the car lighter the morning after Ram and Kurt die.
  • Snark Knight: Only Betty Finn is safe from her sharp tongue.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: She sticks one on Heather Duke.
  • True Blue Femininity: See Color Motif.
  • True Companions: "Seventeen (Reprise)" has them become Martha and Heather McNamara for Veronica.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Moreso in the musical, where she unintentionally ends up pushing J.D. in his dark path of destruction and murder.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Heather Duke and Heather Chandler. Although “best buds” might be a bit of a stretch.

    Jason "J.D." Dean
Played by: Christian Slater (Film), Jeremy Jordan (Joe's Pub), Ryan McCartan (Hudson Theatre and Original Off-Broadway), Dave Thomas Brown (Closing Off-Broadway)

An outsider that Veronica takes an interest in after he pulls a gun on some bullies, and later gets romantically (and criminally) involved with.
  • Abusive Dad: His father is clearly unhinged and violent.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In the musical especially, he eventually takes his own life, lamenting what an animal he has become.
  • Ax-Crazy: He's your basic Troubled, but Cute high school rebel serial killer. This is him while rambling about blowing up the school:
    We'll watch the smoke pour out the doors!
    Bring marshmallows, we'll make s'mores!
    We can smile and cuddle while the fire roars!!
  • Axes at School: Carries a big gun with him his first day, and later rigs a "serious-as-fuck bomb in the boiler room, to set off a pack of thermals upstairs."
  • Badass Longcoat: He sports a long, black duster - always.
  • Big Bad: His murders drive the plot.
  • Birds of a Feather: He thinks he and Veronica fit this trope, but it turns out Everyone Has Standards.
  • Cute and Psycho: He's charming, brooding, charismatic, attractive, and absolutely bugfuck crazy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Very snarky, though more psycho than deadpan.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: His mother committed suicide when he was young, and he obviously misses her terribly.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The only people J.D. appears to have genuine affection for are Veronica and his late mother.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In "Meant to Be Yours," he thinks Veronica broke up with him because of the influence of the classmates, not because he was a maniac who was killing people. Thus he resolves to blow up the school.
  • Fatal Flaw: He admits he destroys things just like his father to where never could BUILD things like Veronica. So he makes the decision to get the bomb to safety and let Veronica do what he could not.
  • Freudian Excuse: J.D. had a really bad childhood, being the son of a sociopath who drove J.D.'s mother to suicide by walking into an exploding building in front of him. This goes a long way towards explaining his own budding sociopathy.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the musical, he trades his life for Veronica's in the end, because he believes she's worth it.
  • Love Makes You Evil: His relationship with Veronica and his inability to control his emotions is ultimately the driving force behind his actions. But at the same time...
  • Love Redeems: In the musical, he trades his life for Veronica's in an attempt to make up for his actions and to give Veronica a chance to live her life.
  • Manipulative Bastard: That's an understatement. He tricks the school into signing a Suicide Pact.
  • Missing Mom: His mother died in an explosion. Circumstances are debatable.
  • Mood-Swinger: Emphasized in "Meant to Be Yours", when he snaps back and forth between tearfully professing his love for Veronica and excitedly rambling about his plan to blow up the school in a staged mass suicide.
  • Not Good with Rejection: To say that he was upset over his and Veronica's breakup is the understatement of the millennium. He attempts to blow up the school because of this.
  • Only Known by Initials : J.D. is short for "Jason Dean," but is also a Shout-Out to James Dean and is 1950s slang for "juvenile delinquent."
  • Redemption Equals Death: In the musical, after Veronica brings his bomb to the football field in order to die for their sins, J.D. follows her and makes the sacrifice himself.
  • Sanity Slippage: While not exactly stable before his relationship with Veronica, he ultimately spirals into his path of destruction and murder as a result of his relationship with Veronica.
  • The Sociopath: A tragic example. He's initially seen as charming, but he's also reckless and has poor impulse control, manipulates and lies to people around him, doesn't consider other people's feelings beyond what they mean to him personally, and has a constant need for stimulation and gets off on the murders he commits. It's emphasized that his horrible life partly made him what he is, though, and ultimately in his own twisted sense of morality he believes that he's doing people a favor.
  • Trademark Favorite Drink: Slushies from 7-Eleven, which he uses as a substitute for drugs since they give him brain freeze.
    Freeze your brain...suck on that straw, get lost in the pain...
    Happiness comes when everything numbs...who needs cocaine?
  • Tragic Villain: Despite all that he does, the audience can't help but feel bad for him in the end. The musical especially, where it's strongly implied that he just wanted someone to care about him.
  • Villainous Crush: His love for Veronica is not in any way healthy, but he does love her.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In his eyes, he's turning this Crapsack World into a better place one murder at a time. Or one high school at a time...
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: A Serial Killer with a Freudian Excuse.
  • Yandere: A huge one for Veronica.

The Heathers

The Heathers are Westerburg High Schools most popular clique. The group consists of the three Heathers, aptly named Heather Chandler, Heather Duke, and Heather McNamara, and one non-Heather member, Veronica Sawyer. These four girls are among the wealthiest and most powerful students in their school.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Heather McNamara is blonde, Heather Chandler is dirty blonde (partial brunette), and Heather Duke is auburn (partial redhead).
  • Color Motifs:
    • Heather Chandler always plays red. And also wears red, carries a red backpack and decorated her locker with only red items. She sets the tone for equating the color red with power throughout the movie, given the Law of Chromatic Superiority.
    • Before taking over for Heather Chandler, Heather Duke was always dressed in green. She switched to red as soon as she can. But stays in green in the musical.
    • Heather McNamara is Yellow. She is the only one not to switch colors. She only dons black for the movie's several funerals.
      • Her cheerleader uniform is red and black, as well.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Heather Chandler is choleric, Heather Duke is sanguine (though she has some choleric shades) and Heather McNamara is a textbook phlegmatic.
  • Girl Posse: It sort of falls apart after the original Alpha Bitch dies.

    Heather Chandler 
Played by: Kim Walker (Film), Jenna Leigh Green (Joe's Pub), Sarah Halford (Hudson Theatre), Jessica Keenan Wynn (Original and Closing Off-Broadway)

  • Alpha Bitch: An epic one at that, at least until she dies.
  • Asshole Victim: While clearly a terrible human being and a raging bitch, she might not have deserved to die. Especially not in such a vile, blue way.
  • Deadly Prank: It kills her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: So snarky, it hurts.
    Veronica: Doesn't it bother you that everyone thinks you're a piranha?
    Heather Chandler: Like I give a fuck. Everyone here wants me as a friend or a fuck. I'm worshipped at Westerburg, and I'm only a junior.
  • Evil Is Hammy: In the musical, she hams it up in "Candy Store".
  • Famous Last Words: "Corn...nuts!"
  • Gratuitous French: "Veronica. Jesse James. Quelle surprise."
  • Hidden Depths: Manipulative, ruthless bitch that she is, Heather herself is dealing with some issues of her own, mostly being pressured into having sex with a guy she dislikes in order to assure her status. It seems the main reason she gets so mad at Veronica at the party is because Veronica herself won't be pressured into sex. (Coerced sex seems to be an expected part of 80s high school "popular people" society.)
    People think that because you're beautiful and popular, life is easy and fun. No one knows that I had feelings, too. I die knowing no one knew the real me.
  • Iconic Item: Her red hair scrunchie, which Heather Duke swipes from her after her death, symbolizing her new position as leader of the remaining Heathers. At the end, Veronica swipes this from Heather Duke, saying "There's a new sheriff in town."
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: She wears primarily red and is the most dominant of the Heathers. Her red scrunchie in particular becomes a symbol of power.
  • Rich Bitch: In her own words, she likes "looking hot, buying stuff they cannot, drinking hard, maxing Dad's credit card".
  • Villain Song: The musical puts her front-and-center in "Candy Store".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Veronica.
    Heather Chandler: You were nothing before you met me. You were a bluebird. You were a brownie. You were a Girl Scout Cookie. I got you into a Remington party, and what's the thanks I get? It's on the hall carpet. I got paid in puke!
    Veronica: Lick it up, baby! Lick! It! Up!

    Heather Duke 
Played by: Shannen Doherty (Film), Christine Lakin (Joe's Pub), Kristolyn Lloyd (Hudson Theatre and Closing Off-Broadway), Alice Lee (Original Off-Broadway)

  • Alpha Bitch: After the original one dies, Heather Duke takes over. She is in no way better than her predecessor.
  • Always Second Best: How she views Heather Chandler. It's implied she sees Veronica this way too.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: How she becomes one herself.
  • Big Eater: She's bulimic at the start of the film, then after Heather Chandler's death she starts "digesting food." Eating a chicken wing in the locker room, for example.
  • Beta Bitch: Originally shares this role with Veronica.
  • Bookworm: She's shown reading in several scenes and her bookishness is even adapted as the 'theme' of her (J.D. induced) 'suicide' in Veronica's dream.
  • Brainy Brunette: Averted. She's kind of a ditz.
    • Her 'ditziness' is only referred to by Heather Chandler and she displays a pretty impressive amount of emotional intelligence and manipulative prowess, not to mention her above bookishness- so played straight, actually.
  • Butt-Monkey: For Heather Chandler, amplified in the Musical.
    Heather Duke: Honey, what'chu waitin' for—
    Heather Chandler: (pushes her) SHUT UP, HEATHER!
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Subverts the usual by being the one to take over for red.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The more confident she becomes, the snarkier she gets.
    Veronica: Why can't you just be a friend? Why do you have to be such a mega-bitch?
    Heather Duke: Because I can be. Do you think if Betty Finn's fairy godmother made her cool, she'd still hang out with her dweeb-ette friends?
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the movie, she initially comes off as the more sympathetic Heather of the three, even having a slight camaraderie with Veronica, only to take Chandler's place and become increasingly malicious. After the other Heathers mocked her bulimia, Heather Duke goes after Heather McNamara when Heather Chandler dies, by cruelly exposing and mocking the surviving Heather's suicidal contemplation.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Complete with the appropriate color motif.
  • Heel–Face Turn: She seems to undergo one in the final number of the musical. It's implied she might be in the middle of one by the end of the film, too.
  • The Lancer: To Heather Chandler and to Veronica.
  • Lawof Chromatic Superiority: In the movie and some musical productions, she takes up the red color as well as Heather Chandler's red scrunchie when Heather Chandler dies.
  • The Starscream: To Heather Chandler.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Seems to be following in her predecessor's footsteps with Veronica by the end of the movie.
    Veronica: Heather my love, there's a new sheriff in town. (kisses her)
  • With Friends Like These...: Heather McNamara took part in Heather Chandler mocking Heather Duke's bulimia; after taking over as Alpha Bitch, Heather Duke solidifies her status by cruelly exposing and mocking Heather McNamara's suicidal contemplation.

    Heather McNamara 
Played by: Lisanne Falk (Film), Corri English (Joe's Pub), Elle McLemore (Hudson Theatre, Original and Closing Off-Broadway)

  • Because You Were Nice to Me: When Veronica saves her from her suicide attempt, Heather McNamara bonds more to Veronica. The Musical takes it one more step in "Seventeen (Reprise)", when she takes Veronica's hand after the "new sheriff in town" reaches out to her.
  • The Cheerleader: Subverted. She is one of the nicer people in the film, though she's initially introduced as part of the corrupt force of the Heathers.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: She always wears yellow, which suits her position as the most inferior lackey in the Girl Posse.
  • Date Rape: It is unclear if Kurt or Ram got their way with her after Veronica takes off with J.D. She's pretty clearly trying to fight Ram off in the cow pasture.
  • Dumb Blonde: She is one ditzy blonde.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: In contrast to mean blonde Heather Chandler.
  • Heel–Face Turn: It's pretty downplayed, seeing how she was always a pretty nice person who was subject to some Toxic Friend Influence.
  • Hidden Depths: Is revealed to actually have severe anxiety over the three recent "suicides" of her peers, as well having to put up somewhat of a Jerkass Façade as one of the esteemed Heathers, so much so that she attempts suicide from it. Her song "Lifeboat" from the musical further exemplifies just how lost she's been all this time.
  • Interrupted Suicide: By Veronica.
  • Kick the Dog: After she is led to mock Heather Duke for her bulimia by Heather Chandler's Toxic Friend Influence, she in turn gets cruelly ridiculed for her suicidal anxieties (once Heather Chandler, Ram and Kurt die) by Heather Duke.
    • Pet the Dog: Veronica runs after her and stops her from succumbing to those anxieties. Heather then realizes Veronica genuinely cares for her. In The Musical, she hugs Veronica warmly after Veronica stops her suicide attempt. She also takes Veronica's outstretched hand in "Seventeen (Reprise)" and joins her and Martha in singing.
  • Token Good Teammate: The nice and kind member of The Heathers.
  • True Companions: "Seventeen (Reprise)" has Veronica invite her to join Martha and Veronica. She accepts and joins them in singing.
  • Weak-Willed: Note this exchange...
    Veronica: If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?
    Heather M.: (beat) Probably.
  • Verbal Tic: A less severe one than most examples, but she often ends her sentences with "...and stuff."

Other Students

    Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney 
Kurt Kelly played by: Lance Fenton (Film), James Snyder (Joe's Pub), Evan Todd (Hudson Theatre and Original Off-Broadway), Dan Domenechnote  (Closing Off-Broadway)
Ram Sweeney played by: Patrick Labyorteaux (Film), PJ Griffith (Joe's Pub), Jon Edison (Hudson Theatre, Closing and Original Off-Broadway)

    Martha Dunnstock 
Played by: Carrie Lynn (Film), Julie Garnye (Joe's Pub), Katie Ladner (Hudson Theatre, Closing and Original Off-Broadway)

  • Ascended Extra: In the musical, where she replaces Betty Finn as Veronica's best friend, and she even gets her own song ("Kindergarten Boyfriend").
  • Break the Cutie: Arguably, both versions, the musical more so.
  • B.S.O.D. Song: "Kindergarten Boyfriend".
  • Childhood Friends: In the musical, she and Veronica know since... diapers.
  • Composite Character: In the musical, her character is combined with Betty Finn's. She kept her name, and her crush on Kurt/Ram, but gained Betty's perky personality. She also replaces Betty as Veronica's best friend before joining the Heathers.
  • The Quiet One: Film version. She says only one line at the very end.
  • Shrinking Violet: Film version, mostly. When Ms. Fleming starts her little get together in the cafeteria, Martha hides under a table. The musical version has a tendency to cower behind Veronica at certain points.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Not as pronounced as J.D., but holding a crush on a boy you kissed once in kindergarten and who has treated you horribly ever since isn't exactly healthy. Although it is played more for pity than horror in this case.
  • When She Smiles: Film version, after Veronica asks if they can see a movie together. Less so in the musical where she is The Pollyanna.

    Betty Finn 
Played by: Renée Estevez

Veronica's old friend before joining the Heathers.


"Big Bud" Dean played by: Kirk Scott (Film), Eric Leviton (Joe's Pub), Rex Smith (Hudson Theatre), Anthony Crivello (Closing and Original Off-Broadway)
Mr. Sawyer played by: Bill Cort (Film), Kevin Pariseau (Joe's Pub), Daniel Cooney (Hudson Theatre)
Mrs. Sawyer played by: Jennifer Rhodes (Film), Jill Abramovitz (Joe's Pub), Rena Strober (Hudson Theatre), Michelle Duffy (Original Off-Broadway), Molly Hagernote  (Closing Off-Broadway)

"Big Bud" Dean (J.D.'s father) and Mr. and Mrs. Sawyer.
  • Abusive Parents: Bud to J.D.
  • Adults Are Useless: All the parents have a "hands-off" approach to their kids. They also don't seem to notice that their children are out all night murdering people.
  • Adult Fear: When Veronica fakes her suicide her mother is the one that finds her, and it's devastating.
  • Hate Sink: "Big Bud" Dean, especially in the musical. Him being an abusive father alone puts him in this category in the film, but the musical further implies he drove his wife to suicide, and that he has singlehandedly molded J.D. into the Tragic Villain he is.
  • Ironic Echo: The first two conversations Veronica has with her parents.
  • Promoted To Parent: Played with. J.D. and his dad have a Running Gag where they talk to each other as father and son, roles reversed.
    Bud: Gee pop, I need some help with my homework.
    J.D.: Not right now, tiger, I'm a little busy.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Veronica's mom delivers an epic one to Veronica.
    Treated like human beings? Is that what you said, Little Miss Voice of a Generation? Just how do you think adults act with other adults? You think it's all just a game of doubles tennis? When teenagers complain that they want to be treated like human beings, it's usually because they are being treated like human beings.
  • The Sociopath: Bud's managed to channel it into his job as a Demolitions Expert.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Mrs. Sawyer always has pate at the ready.

    Pauline Fleming 
Played by: Penelope Milford (Film), Jill Abramovitz (Joe's Pub), Rena Strober (Hudson Theatre), Michelle Duffy (Original Off-Broadway), Molly Hager (Closing Off-Broadway)

  • Adults Are Useless: And she's probably the most useless of the lot.
    Call me when the shuttle lands.
  • Hippie Teacher: It's not clear what subject she teaches, but her classroom has an informal seating arrangement, including a spray of cushions to sit on.
    Will we be tested on this?

    Father Ripper 
Played by: Glenn Shadix

The priest who leads the bizarre funeral services.
  • Comic Relief: Bizarrely, the priest's scenes are some of the funniest in the film.
  • Large Ham: His sermon style -
    "On the outside, Heather Duke was the vivacious young woman we all knew her to be......BUT HER SOUL WAS IN ANTARCTICA!!!"
  • Rule of Three: We see him deliver three eulogies: Heather's, Kurt and Ram's, and Heather Duke's dream funeral.
  • Totally Radical: Invokes this when talking about that "Righteous dude, Jesus."