Heathers might be the ultimate cult teen flick. After amassing a fanbase in the early 90s and beyond onscreen, it came to New York as a musical a few years back and completely exploded (just check Tumblr).
I read the libretto of the musical, then watched the movie. I noticed that there were quite a few changes made in the stage adaptation- most notably the combining of Veronica’s two friends into one. But the dynamic of her relationship with J.D. also struck me as interesting between the two.
Spoilers! The scene I’m thinking about is at the very end, when J.D. is trying to blow up the school. Onstage, Veronica decides to stop him, singing a brief reprise of “Dead Girl Walking” as she accepts her fate. She does the same in the film, just without the song. They meet in the boiler room, where Veronica ultimately wins as J.D. implodes the bomb without harming anyone else.
Onscreen, I was puzzled as to why Veronica and J.D. ever were together, as he had next to no redemption. This is actually where I think the stage version triumphs; it manages to humanize him. At the climax, he sings “I Am Damaged,” telling Veronica to do something good with her life.
Movie Veronica obviously loved J.D., but the relationship felt underdeveloped. But I get why stage Veronica fell for J.D., and he becomes a symbol for the complexities of human nature.