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You always say we should never stop being curious, to always open any curiosity door we find."
"Dustin..."
"Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?

–Dustin Henderson and Scott Clarke, The Bathtub


Dustin Henderson, portrayed by Gaten Matarazzo, is a major character in the first and second seasons of Stranger Things. He is best friends with Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair and Will Byers.

During the events of Season 2, Dustin played a major role in the plot by discovering and raising D'Artagnan, which he later discovered to be a juvenile demogorgon. He turned to Steve to deal with D'Artagnan, and later joined forces with the rest of the gang to save Will and all of Hawkins. He, along with Steve and his friends, assisted in burning the expanding network of The Mind Flayer, providing a distraction while Eleven closed the Gate for good.

History

Background

Dustin met Lucas, Mike, and Will when he arrived at their school in fourth grade, growing a strong bond with them and becoming best friends. They would often gather at Mike's house to play Dungeons & Dragons. The four boys had a great relationship with their science teacher Mr. Clarke, and they were members in the AV Club he ran. They would take part in the annual science fair, winning almost every year.

Season One

On the evening of November 6th, 1983, Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and Will played Dungeons & Dragons in Mike's basement. Mike, acting as Dungeon Master, summoned a Demogorgon, which ultimately defeated Will's character. While they looked for missing dice, Mike's mother Karen insisted it was time for his friends to leave; shortly after this, Lucas, Dustin, and Will cycled home.

The next day, Will did not show up to school, which perplexed Dustin, Mike, and Lucas. As they played with Mr. Clarke's newly delivered Heathkit, they were summoned by Principal Coleman to talk with Police Chief Hopper. Hopper confirmed to the boys that Will was missing and asked about Will's way home the previous night.

The boys investigated their friend's disappearance that evening and accidentally encountered an escaped Eleven, who they allowed to stay in Mike's basement, making a pillow fort for her to sleep in.

The next day, Dustin and Lucas noticed Mike was not at school as he was busy looking after Eleven at his house. After school, Dustin and Lucas came to Mike's house, discussing Eleven and what could have happened to Will. Lucas was determined to tell Karen about Eleven, but Eleven used her telekinesis to prevent him from leaving the room. Later that evening, Eleven attempted to explain Will's situation with a visual analogy; she flipped their Dungeons & Dragons board upside down, on top of which she placed Will's player piece followed by the Demogorgon piece. This gave Dustin, Lucas, and Mike a vital clue as they continued to theorize about what happened to Will.

Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and El commenced "Operation Mirkwood", where El led them through the woods to find evidence relating to Will. They eventually arrived outside the Byers household, where El said Will was hiding. This statement confused the three boys. After seeing police cars race by, the group followed in pursuit on their bikes. They witnessed Will's body being dragged out of the local quarry; this lead the boys to feel distraught and angry with Eleven, who they believed was lying.

After El tampered with Mike's radio to project the sound of Will quietly singing, Mike decided to show this to Lucas and Dustin, who wondered if Will had become a ghost. After further discussion, the boys decided to bring El to their school so she could use the Heathkit to communicate with Will, which was much more powerful than the boy's portable radios.

After dressing Eleven in a pink dress and blonde wig, the boys brought her to the middle school. Mr. Clarke told the group that they had to attend an assembly for Will's death before they could use the radio. During the assembly, the bully Troy made crude jokes about Will, which angered Mike and lead him to confront him after the assembly. Troy attempted to hit Mike, but Eleven froze him in place and made him urinate on himself using biokinesis, much to the amusement of the boys and their classmates. They continued to the Heathkit. With El tapping into the device, they overheard Will talking to his mother Joyce through a temporary portal to the Upside Down. However, the radio overheated and caught on fire. After returning to Mike's basement, the boys theorized that Will was stuck in the Vale of Shadows, a "dark echo" dimension of death and decay, which El labelled the Upside Down.

At Will's funeral, the boys discussed the possibility of alternate dimensions with Mr. Clarke. He described

Dustin-compass

Dustin explaining how compasses work.

scientific ideas and concepts, utilizing the metaphor of the flea and the acrobat. He mentioned that a gate between dimensions would have adverse affects on the electromagnetic field in their dimension. Later that day, Dustin experimented with a compass, noticing that the needle did not point towards true north, and the boys guessed that there must be a gate nearby influencing the electromagnetic field like Mr Clarke had said.

The group followed their compasses, believing if they went 'North', they would be lead to the Gate. However, Eleven was manipulating the compasses for the boys' safety because she considered it too dangerous to enter the Upside Down. When the boys realized that El had been doing this, they argued about her; Mike was more sympathetic and trusted her, while Lucas was critical of her help. The two boys ended up fighting; Eleven used her powers to push Lucas off Mike and into the air, injuring him. This angered Mike and left El upset, who vanished from the scene.

A rift grew between Lucas and the two other boys, who continued to argue about Eleven. Lucas attempted to once again find the Gate while Mike and Dustin searched for El.

The Monster (episode)

Eleven, Mike, and Dustin hug.

While Dustin and Mike searched for El, they were ambushed by the revenge-seeking Troy and his friend James, who brandished knives. They were chased to the cliffside overlooking the quarry. Troy threatened Mike, telling him he would cut out Dustin's teeth unless Mike jumped from the cliff. Mike decided to jump, but as he did, Eleven returned and intervened. Using her telekinesis, she levitated Mike back to the cliffside before injuring the bullies, who fled in terror. El, Dustin, and Mike reconciled before returning to Mike's.

The three returned to Mike's house, but they had to leave quickly when Lucas informed them over the radio that the 'bad men' were coming. The four reunited as they cycled away, evading Dr. Brenner and the agents of Hawkins National Laboratory.

The group reached a deserted field, where Lucas, Mike, and El reconciled. After they realized the laboratory was still looking for them, they hid in an abandoned bus. Chief Hopper found them, taking them to the Byers

Dustinphone

Dustin calling Mr. Clarke to ask about sensory deprivation.

household to meet with Joyce, Will's brother Jonathan, and Mike's sister Nancy. Together they broke into the middle school, creating a makeshift sensory deprivation tank which El could use to enhance her psychic abilities. They learned that Will was alive, barely surviving in the Upside Down.

While Hopper and Joyce infiltrated the laboratory and Nancy and Jonathan set a trap for the Monster, the four kids remained at the school.

As part of an agreement with Hawkins National Laboratory to gain passage through the Gate, Hopper revealed El and the boys' location to laboratory officials. Agents broke into the school, capturing El and the boys. Eleven killed most of the agents, using biokinesis to make them bleed to death; however, this "drained" her of energy and strength, causing her to collapse. Without her protection they were recaptured; but the Monster, attracted by pools of blood spilling from dead bodies, burst through the school wall via a temporary portal. The surviving agents were understandably distracted, releasing El and the boys, and they ran in panic to Mr. Clarke's classroom. The Monster broke in and attempted to kill them. El intervened, using biokinesis to pin the Monster against a wall, while also immobilizing Mike to prevent his intervention. El looked back at her friends, telling Mike goodbye before turning to face the Monster. She used her last remaining power to disintegrate the Monster, a process which appeared to make herself also disintegrate. The boys frantically looked for her in the classroom, but she was gone.

Dustin, Mike, and Lucas were the first visitors aside from Jonathan to see Will in the hospital. They caught up with Will, telling him about the events which transpired in his absence.

One month later, on Christmas Eve, the four boys once again played Dungeons & Dragons. This time, Mike summoned the Thessalhydra, but his friends' characters triumphed over the enemy.

Personality and Traits

Dustin was an observer and a protector of the unity within the friend group. He frequently resolved the conflicts within the group by drawing their attention to what was going on around them. He had a neutral, level-headed approach to Eleven and the supernatural events unfolding around them; in some ways, he was a negotiator between the open-minded Mike and the sceptical Lucas. Dustin is also the most scientifically inclined of the group (despite his love of fantasy) and may be the most intelligent of the quartet- notwithstanding his bad judgement in keeping Dart as a pet.

Relationships

Non-Familial

Mike Wheeler

Dustin met Mike along with Lucas and Will in the fourth grade, way after the three had initially met. Due to this, Dustin doubted whether he was on the same level of friendship with Mike that Will and Lucas were. However, Mike very much considered Dustin to be one of his best friends, along with Will and Lucas. Dustin was level-headed with Mike, being supportive of him and Eleven while also willing to call him out for any questionable behavior.

Lucas Sinclair

Dustin met Lucas in the fourth grade. The two generally got on well. They were sometimes unified in their doubt or disbelief when confronted with strange events and possibilities. However, they would occasionally argue.

Will Byers

Dustin met Will and his friends when he joined their school in the fourth grade, quickly becoming close friends. Dustin was determined to stay cool and collected while searching for the missing Will as he realized that he needed to be level-headed​ if he wanted any chance of saving his friend. Dustin wanted the group of kids to stick together no matter what, as he knew that together, they would make the most progress.

Eleven

Dustin's initial attitude to Eleven lay somewhere between Mike's open-mindedness and Lucas's skepticism. He became considerably kinder to her after discovering she had “superpowers”, although he retained a degree of indifference towards her. After the incident with Lucas, he was quick to call her out on a questionable use of her power, though he later admitted that it was “awesome”. While it's unclear if he saw her as a member of the “party” at that point, he did assist Mike in looking for Eleven after she had ran away. After Eleven saved him and Mike from bullies, he proudly declared that she was their friend and thoroughly cared about her from that point on.

Steve Harrington

In season two, Dustin and Steve form an unlikely bond while trying to hunt down D'Artagnan. Dustin tells Steve about his attempts to win the heart of Max, where Steve gives advice on how to approach women, and how to style his hair. Steve also drives Dustin to the Snow Ball Dance, and gives him a pep talk before Dustin enters the dance.

Nancy Wheeler

As his friend's older sister, Nancy only has occasional interactions with Dustin. The first exchange we see them having is when Dustin offers Nancy a slice of pizza while she is on the phone, only for her to slam the door in his face. Dustin claims that Nancy 'used to be cool.' At the end of season two, Nancy dances with Dustin at the Snow Ball Dance, after Dustin was rejected by other girls at the dance.

In Season 2, at the Snow Ball, after seeing Dustin being rejected and ridiculed by girls, Nancy takes pity on Dustin and brings him to dance with her, attracting the attention of the girls who rejected him. Nancy tells Dustin that he is her favourite out of all of her brother's friends. She also tells him that girls at his age are 'dumb', but he'll 'drive them nuts' in a few years. They share a touching moment together, having a friendly slow dance.

Appearances

Season One appearances
The Vanishing of Will Byers The Weirdo on Maple Street Holly, Jolly The Body
The Flea and the Acrobat The Monster The Bathtub The Upside Down
Season Two appearances
MadMax Trick or Treat Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate

Family tree

 
 
 
 
Unseen and Unnamed Character Family Tree icon
Mr. Henderson
 
Claudia Henderson Family tree icon 001
Claudia Henderson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dustin Henderson Family Tree icon 001
Dustin Henderson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Memorable Quotes

  • "Mike! I found the chocolate pudding!"
  • "Abort."
  • "Shit."
  • "She tried to get naked!"
  • "You better run! She's our friend and she's crazy!"
  • "Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?"
  • "Man! These aren't real nilla wafers."
  • "Our friend has superpowers, and she squeezed your tiny bladder with her mind!"
  • "Sometimes, your total obliviousness blows my mind."
  • "Do you eat kangaroos for breakfast?"
  • "Lando Calrissian."
  • "I don't need my baby teeth, Mike!"
  • "Mental."
  • "Son of a bitch. You're really no help at all, you know that?"
  • "She won't be able to resist these pearls... grrr."

Trivia

  • Dustin did not grow in adult teeth until approximately age thirteen because he has cleidocranial dysplasia, a genetic disorder involving bone growth.
  • Dustin plays Dungeons & Dragons as a Dwarf.[1]
  • Dustin's home first appeared on-screen in season two.
  • In the original pilot script, Benny Hammond is at a couple of points referred to as "Benny Henderson", which could suggest that Benny and Dustin were originally planned to be part of the same family.
  • Dustin is the only member of the AV club that does not have siblings.
  • Out of all the younger characters, Dustin curses the most.
  • He often gets constipated, as confirmed by his Mother

Gallery

View Gallery

Click the above image to view the gallery for Dustin Henderson.


References

  1. "Behind The Scenes Of Stranger Things - Lully Of Truth 293"


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