Stranger Things: Could Dustin become a super villain?


Stranger Things 3 premieres on July 4 on Netflix. There’s a lot more of the Hawkins, Indiana story to tell. But as the kids of The Party start to get older, is it possible that one of them could turn into the ultimate villain of the show?

Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) has been a fan favorite since Stranger Things premiered in July of 2016. He’s immensely loyal to the members of The Party. Dustin is also very selective of who he allows to be a party member. He’s the everyman of the show that most people identify with in some way.

These are also the perfect traits to build up a character before they turn heel. Have you ever felt that way about Dustin before? DC Comics did!

In Old Harley #3, which hit comic shops on January 2, Dustin is depicted as a super villain alongside Four-Face, General Cold, Queen Snake, and Prometheus. Some of those names may seem to be a bit off. That’s because Old Harley takes place well into the future of the DC Comics timeline.

While he only appears twice, and is only referenced as “That kid from that one show,” Dustin is among a group known as The World’s Greatest Villains. He sports a baseball bat, which is no match for Old Harley’s right handed roundhouse punch.

Yes. That sounds bat crap crazy. But this is Harley Quinn. That’s how she rolls. In a completely non-committal way, Stranger Things and Dustin Henderson are now part of the DC Comics canon. And, I think Dustin has followed a path that led him to his true super villain destiny.

You’re Overthinking This, Bro

No. Come down this rabbit hole with me. As I mentioned, Dustin is very protective of The Party. The core members are Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin).

When Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) comes into the picture, Dustin is the most skeptical of her. She does do trippy things when her nose bleeds.

But there’s something deeper. Mike becomes interested in Eleven. Will is missing and presumed dead. These aren’t just heavy moments in a young kid’s life. They’re a threat to his friendships.

That is something that’s so easy to identify with. I’ve met the wrath of full grown adults who point blank told me not to steal their friends.

There’s a belonging in close friendship that is very comforting and helps form your identity. That sense of belonging can quickly turn into something that you feel belongs exclusively to you.

When Max (Sadie Sink) shows up in Stranger Things 2, Dustin is immediately in awe. Here is someone who is into all of the stuff that he’s into and more. Plus, she seems to be better at a lot of it.

He gets butterflies in his tummy and hopes for something more, only to watch Max and Lucas develop a relationship.

Stranger Things-Gaten Matarazzo-Courtesy of Netflix

So, not only does Dustin lose out at love, but he also is losing another friend to romance. Plus, Will was metaphorically missing with his soul possibly presumed dead. Will really needs a break this season.

Dustin’s best friend in Stranger Things 2 was Dart the Demo-Dog. That seems loving, but Dustin does rather easily cover for Dart when he eats the family cat. Even though that’s only marginally suspect, he does end up having to watch Dart die.

Despite the fact that his D&D knowledge, walkie talkie network, and strong moral compass serve him so well in all 17 episodes of the show, Dustin is consistently in a no hold’s barred fight to the death with evil. What if a party member were to actually die?

What if another party member was the cause of death? What if, in order to end this battle once and for all, Dustin chooses the quick and easy path of the big bad?

The Party is Dustin’s identity. If it was shattered in a horrifying way, I think it would shatter Dustin. If this seems far fetched, I have two words for you: Willow. Rosenberg.

Yellow Crayons for the Win

In season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) fought a hell god, died protecting her sister, and ended up going to the UPN Network, uh, I mean heaven. How do you top that off in season six?

Have Buffy battle three nerds that used to be loosely associated with their circle. End it with a beloved member of the Scooby Gang being murdered and avenged by the moral compass of the group and best friend, Willow (Alyson Hannigan).

Dustin and Willow are very similar. They are both defined by their close group of friends also known as The Party and The Scoobies. They’re both unlucky at love as witnessed by the arcs with Max and Xander (Nicholas Brendon).

They metaphorically lose friends to romance with Mike and Lucas & Xander and Buffy. They’re both great with mystical stuff like D&D and Wicca. They even both have school based mentors Mr. Clarke (Randy Havens) and Giles (Anthony Head).

Willow goes full apocalypse when the love of her life, Tara (Amber Benson), becomes collateral damage in a war that never seems to end. Ultimately she is redeemed by Xander and yellow crayons. It’s complicated. Check out the show.

Our young Dustin may be headed for some dark times. If Eleven, now Jane, ends up having to sacrifice herself, it would devastate The Party.

It would also leave them unprotected against the Unites States Department of Energy and the Upside Down. If another member of the Party dies, especially Mike or Will, that may be the moment that consumes Dustin and spits him out as one of The World’s Greatest Villains.

With D&D, walkie talkies, and Three Musketeer bars having failed him, Dustin picks up a bat and goes full Negan from The Walking Dead. He’ll bash your brains in simply for surviving longer than his friends did. Will Lucas or Max be able to save him? Will Mr. Clarke call him a rank amateur? David Harbour is Hellboy now. Maybe he can help?

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We live in complex times. Comic and cinematic universes are merging like the dimensions in Counterpart. But one thing is for sure. I’ll be streaming all of Stranger Things 3 the night it comes out to see how this all plays out for our heroes.

Are you excited for Stranger Things 3? Do you think Dustin is capable of being a big bad?Let’s discuss in the comments!