|Date(s):||1988 (film), 2014 (musical)|
|Country of Origin:||United States|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Heathers is a American black comedy teen film and cult classic released in 1988. A one-season television series reboot of the movie premiered in 2018 on Paramount Network.
Heathers: The Musical is a rock musical adaptation of the 1988 movie. Written by Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy, it debuted in concert in 2010 and onstage in 2013. In the musical fandom, character designs are usually based on the 2014 Off-Broadway run.
The Heathers fandom is split between fans of the film and fans of the musical. Though there is a lot of overlap, the musical's release 25 years after the film's release means older fans tend to distance themselves from the musical. The first fic posted of the film was to FanFiction.net on April 29th, 2001, and the first fic posted of the musical was to Archive of Our Own on July 11th, 2014.
The most popular ship is Jason Dean/Veronica Sawyer, followed by Heather Chandler/Veronica Sawyer and then Heather McNamara/Veronica Sawyer. The only canonical ship in either the movie or musical is Jason Dean/Veronica Sawyer, though Martha Dunnstock/Ram Sweeney is semi-canon in the musical and one-sided (on Martha's side) in the film.
For a long period of time, the film was available to watch on YouTube, though has been recently taken down due to copyright issues. It is very easy to find bootleg recordings of the musical on YouTube or in fan-spaces such as Tumblr, though it is difficult to find bootleg recordings that feature Jessica Keenan Wynn, the original Off-Broadway actress and most popular actress for Heather Chandler.
Criticism of the musical
- Combination of Betty and Martha: Though in the film, Betty Finn and Martha Dunnstock were separate characters, in the musical, the two were combined. There has been some controversy over this as some fans believe it defeats the point of the film, and removes some realism.
- Characterization of Jason Dean: Jason Dean is the main antagonist in Heathers. Some fans have critiqued the musical's portrayal of him as a much more relatable figure, with more reasonable motives.
- Characterization of Heather Chandler and Heather Duke: Some fans have critiqued the musical for portraying the Heathers as less relatable, with the exception of Heather McNamara. Heather Chandler is notably villainized, with a scene in the film where she is pressured into having sex with a university student (She is in high-school) before spitting into a mirror being removed from the musical. Heather Duke is also villainized, being extremely bitter towards Veronica in the musical, where she was friends with her for the majority of the film.
- Characterization of Heather McNamara: In the musical, Heather McNamara is portrayed as a much more wholesome figure than in the film, and the nicest of the Heathers. In contrast, in the movie, she is just as rude as the other Heathers - Notably more rude than Heather Duke.
- Explicitness of "Dead Girl Walking": Some fans critique how sexual the song "Dead Girl Walking" from the musical is, citing it's explicit lyrics and the on-stage actions during the song (where Jason Dean and Veronica Sawyer imitate sex while removing their jackets and shirts).
- Heathers (TV series): Heathers (TV series) is a black comedy television series, created by Jason Micallef, that premiered on October 25th, 2018, on Paramount Network. It is a modern-day reboot of the 1989 film. It received negative reviews from critics and was extremely unpopular in the fandom, with most fans considering it as having completely deviated from the original point of Heathers. One huge criticism of the show was it's portrayal of the Heathers as LGBTQ+ and people of colour - The show was seen as catering to a homophobic and bigoted audience, with the intention of portraying queer people and people of colour as politically correct snowflakes who bully and oppress heterosexual white people.
- Riverdale: The 51st episode of Riverdale, "Chapter Fifty-One: Big Fun", released on March 20th, 2019, is a musical episode that covers multiple Heathers songs. It was extremely unpopular in the fandom, with many considering the lyric changes and representation of the characters an insult to the musical. The general unpopularity of Riverdale also contributed to the episode's unpopularity in the fandom.
- TikTok: Between 2019 and 2021, multiple Heathers songs rose to prominence on TikTok - Most notably Big Fun, with 2.8 million videos as of January 2022. This made many fans angry, with posts on Tumblr and TikTok calling for the gatekeeping of Heathers rising in popularity.
Tropes & Fanon
- Veronica's Sexuality: In the Fanon, Veronica is widely considered bisexual. This is primarily based on her characterization in the musical, with many fans considering her queer-coded. Her shorter hair compared to the rest of the Heathers, disregard for makeup and fashion, and general personality, are all seen as queer-coded. The main evidence in the Canon for this is the ending scene in both the musical and film, where Veronica kisses Heather Duke on the cheek while taking Heather Chandler's scrunchie away from her. Heather Duke's stunned reaction has also led to a lot of the fandom headcanoning her as lesbian.
- Transgender/Intersex Heather Duke: One of the most popular headcanons for Heather Duke is that she is transgender/intersex, with many fans citing her body dysmorphia and self-esteem issues as eveidence for this. There is not, however, any solid evidence for this and this is not rooted in canon.
- Heather Chandler and Heather McNamara's Friendship: Though Heather Chandler and Heather McNamara's relationship is not explored much in either the musical or movie, Heather Chandler's preferential treatment of her over Heather Duke has led to one of the most popular headcanons in the fandom - That Heather McNamara and Heather Chandler are childhood best friends. This features heavily in most Heather Chandler/Heather McNamara fanfiction.
- Betty Finn moving away: Due to the musical's combination of Betty Finn and Martha Dunnstock into one character, the most popular Fanon explanation for including her in any fanfiction is that she was childhood best friends with Veronica and Martha, but moved away and returned to Westerburg at the start of their year. She is also typically headcanoned as queer.
- Nobody Dies: "Alternate Universe - Everyone Lives/Nobody Dies" is one of the most common tags on Archive of Our Own, and is the basis for the majority of fanworks. In these works, Heather Chandler is not killed by Jason Dean and Veronica Sawyer, and either survives the attempt or is never attacked (usually with Veronica visiting her house instead of Jason's, and apologizing to her rather than having sex with him). Jason Dean then never goes on to kill Kurt Kelly or Veronica to kill Ram Sweeney. This changes the course of the plot, and is usually the basis for fics where Heather Chandler and Veronica Sawyer end up together.
- Ghost AU: This is one of the most common AUs in the Heathers fandom, where Heather Chandler dies, but becomes a ghost, then being present with Veronica as she goes through high school. In some fics, she is revived or becomes a demon. This is usually the basis for fics where Heather Chandler and Veronica Sawyer end up together.
- Crossover with Be More Chill, Dear Evan Hansen and Mean Girls: Due to similar settings, themes, and musical styles, there is considerable overlap between the Heathers: The Musical fandom and the Be More Chill, Dear Evan Hansen and Mean Girls fandoms. As such, crossover works between the four are not uncommon.
- Jason "J.D." Dean/Veronica Sawyer - canon
- Heather Chandler/Veronica Sawyer
- Heather McNamara/Veronica Sawyer
- Heather Chandler/Heather McNamara
- Heather Duke/Heather McNamara
- Heather Duke/Veronica Sawyer
- Kurt Kelly/Ram Sweeney - more common in the musical fandom
- Martha Dunnstock/Ram Sweeney - semi-canon in the musical
- Chandler by Elisa Higgins, a Heather Chandler & Jason "J.D." Dean fic. This is the first fic ever published of the film. (2001)
- Seventeen by Orphan account, a Jason "J.D." Dean/Veronica Sawyer fic. This is the first fic ever published of the musical. (2014)
- "They're all girlfriends" AU by sir_fret, a Heather Chandler/Heather Duke/Heather McNamara/Veronica Sawyer fic series. (2018)
- Dead Girl Walking and the Demon Queen by RynWill, a Heather Chandler/Veronica Sawyer fic. (2017)
- She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not by VintaasDez, a Heather Chandler/Veronica Sawyer fic. (2017)
- Beautiful by breathedout, a Heather Chandler/Heather Duke/Heather McNamara threesome fic. (2013)
- Heathers (1988) on AO3
- Heathers: The Musical on AO3
- Heathers in Plays/Musicals on Fanfiction.net (link includes mature stories)
- Heathers (movie) on Fanfiction.net (link includes all-ratings)