Heather Duke is the second female antagonist and the true main antagonist in the cult classic film Heathers. She is initially portrayed as the timid and shy bookworm, but later becomes as, cocky and vain as Heather Chandler. Heather Duke takes over as leader of the Heathers after Heather Chandler's "suicide", but is later stripped of her power by Veronica Sawyer. Heather Duke's signature color is green, symbolizing her envy of Heather Chandler, but was later changed to red as she acquired the red scrunchie. She was portrayed by Shannen Doherty.
Heather Duke has reddish brown hair (usually worn down) and blue-green eyes, and for the first half of the film, wears dark shades of green. However, after Heather Chandler's "suicide", she is convinced by J.D to be the new leader of the Heathers, and he gives her Chandler's red scrunchie as symbolism of passing over power. Once that event has occurred, for the rest of the film, she wears red and ties her hair back with the former leader's scrunchie.
At the beginning of the film, she is portrayed as shy and reserved, as well as lacking self-esteem (due to her bulimia). She also demonstrates an almost master-slave relationship with Chandler as seen in Chandler's ability to control verbally her body movements and even her digestion. Its not clear whether this control over Duke that Chandler has is the completely the result of Duke's fear of her or if the dynamic is more involved, though fear is definitely an aspect of their relationship. Chandler is mean to all the girls, however aggressiveness seems to be strongly directed at Duke, and Duke's reaction is always one of submission and acceptance.
Though not initially revealed outright, it is clear that Duke envied the power and prestige Chandler possessed and only maintained her persona of innocence with Chandler's presence. Her affinity for green could been seen as a subconscious indicator of her envious nature even if it was not verbalized directly. This color scheme could also be seen as reflective of her reptilian like transformation into the new Chandler upon her death. Her envious nature and desire to become Chandler can also be seen when her colors change to red (i.e. the power scrunchie) and as she takes the items from Chandler's locker after veronica opens the police taped space. It is not clear whether Duke was even aware of this or not prior to Chandler's death, her jealousy of what Chandler was became apparent after her death through the sudden drive to transform into Chandler.
Rise and Fall of Power
Following the death of Heather Chandler, Heather Duke rose to power taking over as the influential tyrant of Westerburg High School after manipulation from J.D., and with it came the bullying of students that she so hated. She, along with others, bully Heather McNamara until she attempts suicide and using her newfound influence to get students to sign a petition wrote up by J.D. in return for pictures of her and Martha in their childhood, likely another attempt from Jason at blackmailing her. Heather Duke quickly loses her power after a singed Veronica takes her red scrunchies and proclaims, "Heather my love, there's a new sheriff in town.'
Heather Chandler and Heather Duke do not seem particularly close, though it is clear through little clues that Heather Duke would like to take her leaders power but is too timid to make a serious attempt. Heather Chandler is extremely cruel to Heather Duke and bullies her quite often throughout the film which creates a lot of rage within her. Heather Duke wishes many times for Heather Chandler to die and thanks God when she finally does. Heather Duke takes over Heather Chandler's position as lead Heather after her predecessors death.
Heather McNamara and Heather Duke do not seem particularly close but did not seem to have a problem with each other until later in the film when Heather Duke takes over as the leader of the Heathers. At that point, Heather Duke begins to relentlessly bully Heather McNamara just as Heather Chandler had done to her, likely out of jealousy that the yellow Heather had been treated better than her. This causes Heather McNamara to attempt suicide but she is stopped by Veronica Sawyer.
Veronica Sawyer does not appear to particularly like Heather Duke much, though Heather Duke seems to enjoy having Veronica around. They listen to Hot Probz together every time it is on. Veronica resents Heather Duke for bullying Heather McNamara and takes over Heather Duke's position as leader of the school at the end of the film.
Not much is told about Martha Dunnstock and Heather Duke's past friendship other than that they were very close in their childhood. Heather is now embarrassed of this relationship due to Martha being at the bottom of the school food chain.
- "Veronica, why are you pulling my dick?"
- "Color me stoked, girl."
- "Some people need different kinds of convincing than others."
- "Fuck it"
- "I'm sorry...I forgot"
- "[Veronica:] Why are you such a mega bitch?! [H. Duke:] Because I can be."
- "Just another geek trying to imitate the popular people and failing miserably."
- "Me, and Martha Dumptruck... How did you find this?"
- "Is that pate?"
- "She's going to cry!"
- "Veronica! You look like hell!