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This page chronicles the history of Dustin Henderson, a major character in Stranger Things.

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. In addition, they would take part in the annual science fair, winning almost every year.

1983

The Campaign

November 6

On the evening of November 6th, 1983, Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and Will played Dungeons & Dragons in Mike's

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Dustin and Will race bikes at Mirkwood

basement. Mike, acting as Dungeon Master, summoned a Demogorgon, which ultimately defeated Will's character. While they looked for the missing dice, Mike's mother Karen insisted it was time for his friends to leave; and shortly after this, Lucas, Dustin, and Will cycled home. On the way, Dustin challenged Will to a bike race home for one of his X-Men comic books, and shortly after, Will went missing.

Searching for Will

November 7

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.

November 8

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.

November 9

Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and Eleven commenced "Operation Mirkwood", where Eleven led them through the woods to find evidence relating to Will. They eventually arrived outside the Byers household, where Eleven 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.

November 10

After Eleven 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 Eleven 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 led 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 psychokinesis, much to the amusement of the boys and their classmates. They continued to the Heathkit. With Eleven 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 Eleven labelled the Upside Down.

November 11

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 Eleven 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 Eleven upset, who vanished from the scene.

On the run

November 12

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 Eleven.

The Monster (episode)

Eleven, Mike, and Dustin hug.

While Dustin and Mike searched for Eleven, they were ambushed by the revenge-seeking Troy and his best friend James, who brandished knives. They were chased to the cliff-side 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 cliff-side before injuring the bullies, who fled in terror. Eleven, 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 Eleven 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

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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.

Showdown with the Demogorgon

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 her ability 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 Eleven and the boys, and they ran in panic to Mr. Clarke's classroom. The Monster broke in and attempted to kill them. Eleven intervened, using her ability to pin the Monster against a wall, while also immobilizing Mike to prevent his intervention. Eleven 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.

December

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

1984

Before the Storm

October 29

On October 29, Dustin, Lucas, Mike, and Will went to the Palace arcade. After losing a game of Dragon's Lair,
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Dustin plays "Dragon's Lair" at the Arcade

Dustin discovered that an unknown person using the alias “MADMAX” had beaten his high score on Dig Dug. Keith, an employee at the arcade, stated he would tell them the identity of MADMAX in exchange for a date with Nancy, though Mike refused.

October 30

In Mr. Clarke's class the next morning, the boys witnessed a new student, named Max, arrive. Because of her name's similarity to the alias used at the arcade, they suspected she was MADMAX. As they were spying on her, they noticed her drop something in a trashcan. After retrieving the note, they discovered it had “Quit spying on me creeps” written on it, indicating she knew they were watching her. After school, Dustin and Lucas again spied on her while playing a game at the arcade, coming to the conclusion that she was “incredible.”

October 31

The next day, the boys went to school dressed in their Ghostbusters costumes, only to discover that no one else had dressed up for Halloween. After debating on when to ask Max to go trick-or-treating with them, Dustin and Lucas decided to ask her after class. Once their class had ended, they approached and introduced themselves to Max. She wasn't pleased with the confrontation, calling them “stalkers”. When they asked if she wanted to go with them, she didn't answer, simply walking away instead. That night, as the boys were trick-or-treating, Max jumped out and scared them with her Michael Myers costume. She then joined them in their trick-or-treating.

When Dustin returned home from trick-or-treating, he heard a noise coming from the trashcan outside his house. Upon looking inside, he discovered a strange creature and placed it in his costume proton pack. He placed the creature in his turtle's tank and fed it a Three Musketeers candy bar, naming it D'Artagnan.

Discovering Dart

November 1

The next day, Dustin brought Dart to school, showing it to Mike, Will, Lucas, and Max. After discussing what type of animal Dart could be, Dustin concluded that he had discovered a new species. However, after noticing it resembled a slug he had thrown up the year before, Will realized Dart originated from the Upside Down. Before Dustin could show Mr. Clarke, Mike took Dart and urged everyone to meet again in the AV club room, excluding Max. When Dart started to emit a screeching sound, the boys opened the proton pack to witness it grow a pair of hind legs. Mike then tried to attack Dart, which caused it to flee and run loose throughout the school. Will eventually found Dart in a bathroom; it screeched, causing Will to run away. Soon after, Dustin arrived to retrieve Dart. When the others arrived, Dustin hid Dart under his hat and lied saying he had not seen it or Will.

November 2

Dustin fed Dart before leaving for school the next morning, telling it he would be back later. When Dustin arrived at school, he discovered Lucas, Max, and Mike —who had no knowledge of Dart's current location-- looking through a dumpster for Dart. Later, Mike explained to Dustin and Lucas that, on Halloween night, Will had a vision of a shadow-like creature. He then decided to visit Will while Dustin and Lucas try to find Dart, since catching him could provide a vital clue on what was going on with Will.

Upon returning home, Dustin, feeling guilty of lying to his friends, attempted to question Dart where Will is, but discovered the glass of Dart's tank had been broken, with the only thing in it a slimy
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Dart eats Mews and turns to Dustin.

husk. Following a trail of blood, he discovered Dart, now much larger, eating his cat Mews. When Dart opened its mouth, revealing its flower petal-like shape, he realized Dart was a baby Demogorgon.

November 3

The next day, Dustin lured Dart out of the house with a trail of meat and locked it in the storm cellar. Unable to reach anyone, he eventually decided to go to the Wheelers' residence to find Mike. However, neither Mike nor Nancy were home. As Dustin was about to leave, Steve arrived in order to apologize to Nancy. Seeing him as the only option, Dustin urged Steve to come with him and to bring his spiked bat. On the way to his house, Dustin explained Dart to Steve, who initially believed that what Dustin found was some sort of lizard. When they entered the cellar, they discovered that, not only had Dart molted again, but it had also escaped through a tunnel it had dug in the earth.

Showdown at the Junkyard

November 4

The following day, as Dustin and Steve were preparing to look for Dart, Lucas finally contacted him. He told Lucas that he'd explain everything later and to meet him at the junkyard. On the train tracks, Dustin explained he had kept Dart in hopes of impressing “a girl”. Steve then gave him relationship advice, telling him to “act like he doesn't care”. He also disclosed his hair-styling secret: Farrah Fawcett hairspray. They eventually arrived at the junkyard where they were soon joined by Lucas and Max. Together, they fortified the abandoned bus and created a trap to lure in Dart.

As the group were waiting in the bus, they suddenly heard a screeching sound. The sound's source was revealed to
Demodogeon

A demodog prepares to attack the group

be Dart, who was joined by several other Demodogs. As the pack attacked the bus and nearly overwhelmed them, they suddenly stopped, leaving the junkyard. Following the Demodogs, they realized they were heading to Hawkins Lab.

Arriving at the lab, they discovered Nancy and Jonathan, who were looking for Mike and Will. They were all forced to wait outside the lab, due to the lab's power being out. Eventually, the power came back and the group was finally able to get passed the gates. They reunited with Joyce, Hopper, Mike, and Will, and together they all escaped the lab.

At the Byers' house, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, and Max speculated about the shadow monster's weakness. When they realized that the shadow monster controlled everything in a hive mind, they compared it to the Mind Flayer, a monster from Dungeons & Dragons that similarly controls the minds of its victims. They also speculated that, if they killed the Mind Flayer, they would kill everything it controlled. But Hopper dismissed the idea and reminded them that they do not know how to kill it. Mike then proposed that, in order to discover the Mind Flayer's weakness, they'd have to take Will someplace he couldn't recognize and try to get through to him.

Everyone gets ready to face the apparent Demodogs

The group prepares to defend themselves

After making the backyard shed unrecognizable, they attempted to interrogate Will. While the Mind Flayer had taken over a majority of Will's mind and body, a part of Will managed to subconsciously signal to them in Morse code. Deciphering his message, they discovered the way to stop the Mind Flayer is to close the Gate. Soon after, the phone in the Byers' kitchen rang, giving away their location.

Burning the tunnels

November 5

As the house was being surrounded by a pack of Demodogs, the group armed themselves. Before the pack could
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Dustin and Lucas reunited with Eleven

attack, however, Eleven surprisingly arrived and eradicated them. She finally reunited with Mike and his friends, Dustin and Lucas. Together, the group came up with a plan: Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy would exorcise the Mind Flayer from Will's body while Eleven and Hopper would go to the lab and close the gate. While waiting at the house, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, and Max decided they'd distract the Demodogs by burning the tunnels so Eleven and Hopper could safely reach the Gate. Before they could begin their plan, Billy arrived looking for Max. Steve tried to intervene, but the two ended up in a fist fight. With one of the syringes used to sedate Will, Max was able to puncture Billy's neck, making him lose consciousness. Using Billy's car, Max drove the group to the pumpkin pat
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Dustin confronts and attempts to distract Dart

ch where the entrance to the tunnels was located. As they were making their way through the tunnels, Dustin was sprayed in the face with some sort of spore-spray by a growth on the ceiling. Making their way to the hub, they doused the entire area in gasoline and set it ablaze. On their way out of the tunnels, Mike fell behind and was caught up by a vine. As the group helped him out, they encountered Dart. Recognizing Dustin, Dart did not attack and was easily distracted by Dustin giving it another Three Musketeers bar, allowing the group to escape.

The Snow Ball

December 15

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Nancy dances with Dustin

On December 15, Steve dropped Dustin off at the Snow Ball; Dustin had made a disastrous attempt to style his hair like Steve's, which his friends remarked upon humorously. He asked several girls to dance, but was rudely rejected by all of them. Seeing him alone and devastated, Nancy asked him to dance and explained to him that, while girls at his age tended to be very judgmental about appearances, he would "drive them nuts" in a few years.

References

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