Charlene Roberta "Charlie" McGee is a fictional character in the book and films, Firestarter and Firestarter 2: Rekindled. She was created by Stephen King. In the first film, she is portrayed by Drew Barrymore. In the second film, Skye McCole Bartusiak played the young Charlie and Marguerite Moreau played the 20 year old Charlie. In the upcoming 2021 remake of the adaptation, she will be portrayed by Ryan Kiera Armstrong.
Charlene "Charlie" McGee, a young girl possessing many potential abilities, amongst them most notably pyrokinesis—i.e., the ability to create fire with her mind. Charlie is a mutant; she was born with her abilities due to her parents: Andy McGee and Vicky Tomlinson having participated in a mysterious government-funded experiment during college. Both parents had been injected with unknown amounts of a drug known as Lot Six, which, among other things, had been proven to alter the subject's chromosomes and pituitary gland.
As a major effect of the Lot Six, Andy developed telepathic hypnosis, a mind control ability he calls the "push", the ability to create a state of extreme suggestion in the victim's mind or in other word's control someone's mind. Vicky developed minor telekinesis, the extent of her power being able to close a refrigerator door from across the room. Both of their powers are almost insignificant compared to the latent power of Charlie, who at one point is suspected of eventually being able to create a nuclear explosion from sheer will alone. It is also revealed that Andy's powers are self-destructive; prolonged use of the "push" causes him to suffer devastating headaches and brain hemorrhages.
The government agency that sponsored the original drug trials, The Shop, regarded the experiment as a failure, with one member stating that humans were simply not evolved yet to make full use of the drug. However, although they unanimously regarded Andy and Vicky as useless test subjects and dead ends, it was also unanimously agreed that Charlie was a groundbreaking development, and as a result, the McGee family was placed under surveillance for around seven years.
Due to a mistake made by Shop agents, Vicky was unnecessarily murdered and Charlie kidnapped. Using "the push" to stop the agents from pursuing him, Andy is able to rescue Charlie and the two live together for several years as fugitives, moving whenever Andy feels the Shop may be catching up to them. After several near misses with Shop agents, the McGees find temporary refuge - under false names and backgrounds - with Irv and Norma Manders, who were a friendly old-fashioned couple living on a remote farm. Irv realizes they gave false names and gets the real story from Andy. The farm is then besieged. Andy, angry at this endless running from the Shop, persuades Charlie to unleash her power. She does so, killing numerous agents, scaring others away, and setting the Manders' farm aflame. Due to this event, the McGees are able to elude the Shop for a short time, holing up at Andy's grandfather's lake cabin in Vermont for several months. However, the event also draws renewed interest into the project from the Shop, eventually leading to the introduction of John Rainbird, a dangerous Native American tracker, heavily-scarred Vietnam veteran, and agent of the Shop. After a number of months, the Shop moves in on the McGee cabin - as it turned out, they had found them after a mere week and kept passive surveillance over the months. Charlie is shot with a tranquilizer dart by Rainbird while an agent called Jules shoots Andy in the back of his neck, causing him to faint.
For six months, the McGee's are prisoners of the Shop, who perform extensive tests to study their powers. Both are drugged almost constantly, but the Shop chooses to stop drugging Charlie, afraid it might affect her powers. Charlie McGee resolves not to use her ability and is an unwilling prisoner for the majority of the time, Andy, however, breaks down and becomes an overweight, apathetic subject, living comfortably in the Shop complex. Although he cooperates with the scientists, Andy is disappointed and distraught to find that his push power has vanished, and he becomes addicted to the drug Thorazine, which the Shop is using to sedate and control him.
A thunderstorm creates a blackout in the facility, which sets in motion two very important events: John Rainbird is able to gain Charlie's trust by masquerading as a complex janitor with a troubled past, and Andy McGee, in a subconscious effort of will, manages to "push" himself into losing his drug addiction, thus regaining his mental power as well as the will to escape and live again. Andy uses his ability to manipulate the Shop personnel, notably Captain James Hollister (aka Cap), the head of the Shop, into helping him, while John Rainbird encourages Charlie to use her powers and participate in the Shop's experiments. Charlie's powers are developing along with the rest of her body; presumably, once she hits puberty, they will progress beyond pyrokinesis. Rainbird holds little concern for these tests: He only wants to kill Charlie when the Shop is done with her, so he might look into her eyes as she passes and see some understanding of what lies beyond life. He had earlier killed Wanless - who had become a liability - with the same intent, though also on Shop orders.
Andy is able to communicate with Charlie again for the first time since their capture by "pushing" Cap to pass her a note, as well as arrange various provisions for an escape plan. His plan goes awry when Rainbird discovers his scheme and meets them at their rendezvous point. Andy "pushes" Rainbird to jump from the rafters of the stables and is shot by Rainbird and dies, from a combination of stroke (due to the cumulative brain damage caused by using his "push" so much without rest) and bullet wound. Rainbird commands Charlie to look at him so he can see the life leaving her eyes. However, her powers have grown so strong that when he shoots at her, the bullet is vaporized (and so is Rainbird). In their last conversation before he dies, Andy tells Charlie to "burn it all down" so that the Shop can never do this to anyone else, breaking her complex that using her abilities was wrong. She incinerates Shop headquarters, killing dozens, and making her escape.
Charlie returns to the Manders, who take her in until she can recover. However, with new management, the shop's now actively hunting Charlie. Charlie leaves the Manders before the Shop gets her again. She goes to New York City and goes into the Rolling Stones newspaper office to tell them her story so the Shop can stop chasing her and she can have a normal life.
Ten years later after running from the Shop the last time, Charlie McGee is now 20 year old Tommy Andrews. On the road under an assumed name, she lands a job at a university library where she secretly researches to find a way to suppress her pyrokinetic abilities so she can do normal things, like have sex without burning something. At the same time, a man named Vincent works for a large influential research firm looking for people involved in a mysterious 1970s experiment as part of a supposed legal settlement. In truth, the corporation is killing off these people to eliminate evidence of past wrongdoing. Eventually, he locates the most elusive product of the experiment - Charlie McGee. Together the two uncover the scheme at the corporation and must work together to stop it. On the way, McGee discovers that her nemesis John Rainbird is still alive, and that he has a new group of charges - several boys with their own special abilities, including a young boy named Cody who is her equal. His ability is to suck up any type of energy.
Charlie eventually faces Rainbird in Rivermeed, Colorado and tells the young boys that everything that Rainbird has told them is a lie. The boys eventually believe her. Rainbird then comes up behind Vincent and hold a sharp, metal object to him telling Charlie to burn the town down. She refuses and Rainbird kills Vincent. Charlie, heartbroken, burns down the town using her full potential once again. After she does that, Rainbird tells her that he had wanted to create God and the closest he had come to was Charlie. She then kisses him and cremates him. Cody then starts to suck in Charlie's heat. At first Cody wants it all, but then her power must have been too much for him. He pushes it out of him and returns to the state that he was in before he met Charlie.
Charlie then visits Vincent's father to comfort him. In the end she leaves on a bus to Canada.
Charlie was born with pyrokinesis, but she also had powers that she inherited from her parents: mental domination, telepathy, telekinesis, and precognition. All of her powers were connected with her power to start fires.
She sometimes had a hard time controlling her abilities, especially when she was upset or angry. Also, as she got older it did seem like her powers were growing and she was also getting better control.
It is later stated that, when Charlie grows older, she may be able to cause nuclear explosions by sheer force of will, with some of the doctors responsible for the experiment believing that she may one day be powerful enough to crack the world in two.
Unlike her parents, Charlie doesn't receive any strain from using her abilities.
In the book, Charlie is described as having blond hair and blue eyes. She is very beautiful, looks like her mother, and tall for her age.
She is also very stubborn, intelligent, and strong. At first she didn't want to hurt anybody, but after her father's death, she decides, that she will only use her power on people if they are a threat.
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