Look out Hawkins, something wicked this way comes! The fourth season of the Duffer Brother’s critically-acclaimed “Stranger Things” series will be hitting Netflix soon. After waiting for almost four agonising long years, we’re finally reunited with our adorkable band of misfits and freaks. Over the years, we’ve grown up with them and have seen them overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. They’ve battled the vicious Demogorgon in the first season and the demonic, and infinitely creepy, Mind Flayer in the second and third season.
Now, however, their most dangerous adventure yet begins as they face off against sinister human forces wishing to use the power of the Upside-Down for their own nefarious purposes…and something else entirely. A creature whose power far outweights that of the gang’s previous two foes. It’s time for Vecna to rise!
Besides knowing that he’s connected the Upside-Down, what else can we gather about this enigmatic monster? Is he after El? What evil plans does he have for Mike and friends? Get ready 80’s kids and nostalgia freaks because we’re going deep and breaking down everything you need to know about the next big villain in the fourth season “Stranger Things”, Vecna!
Horror In Hawkins
So the most obvious clue to Vecna’s identity and origin is in his name. So far in the “Stranger Things” universe, we know that the fantasy table-top game “Dungeons and Dragons” plays a major role in understanding the creatures of the Upside-Down. The Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer not only bear similar names to their “Dungeons” counter-parts but also similar powers and abilities as well. In the “Dungeons” universe, Vecna was once a human who became a lich, an undead creature, before attaining godhood.
Vecna is able to paralyse victims with his touch, see and hear through his followers and manipulate reality. The Duffer Brothers also drew inspiration for Vecna from horror film icons like Freddy Krueger from “The Nightmare on Elm Street”, Pennywise from Stephen King’s “It” and Pinhead from “Hellraiser”. Interestingly, Matt Duffer states that this season was heavily inspired by the “Nightmare” films. He has also stated that we’ll be spending a lot more time in the Upside-Down this season.
With all this information in mind, it’s probably safe to assume that Vecna was at some point a human character, much like his “Dungeons” version and Krueger. Then, something happened that turned him into a creature of the Upside-Down. One whose able to paralyse his victims and warp reality in some way. The biggest clue here is Matt Duffer’s line about the “Nightmare” films. Freddy Krueger is able to manipulate reality of his victims by invading their dreams.
The “Dungeons” version of Vecna is able to see the world through his followers. We know that characters like Will Byers and Billy Hargrove have had their minds controlled by the Mind Flayer. Perhaps Vecna has followers of his own in Hawkins seeking to enact their master’s will. Vecna could have invaded their minds, similarly to Freddy Krueger, and be using them to merge the waking world with that of the Upside-Down. Afterall, Matt did say we’d be staying a lot of time this season in the dark mirror dimension.
Have we already met Vecna?
Now comes the big question: Is Vecna somebody we’ve seen from the previous seasons? We believe the answer is yes and that he’s none other than Dr. Martin Brenner. The man responsible for El’s traumatic past in the Hawkins National Laboratory and the one who made her open the door into the world of the Upside-Down. We last saw Brenner being attacked by the Demogorgon in the first season. We technically didn’t see him die on-screen though, so there’s a chance he could have survived that attack.
Furthermore, we also have confirmation that the actor who played Brenner, Matthew Modine will be returning to the show this season. He could very well just be there for some minor flashback scenes involving El’s time at the Hawkins National Laboratory and nothing more. We don’t think so though because of one of the major reason: Papa. The second to last episode of the season is called “Papa”. Now, there are only two people El has called Papa thus far and they are Brenner and Hopper.
There’s a possibility that the reason why the episode is named “Papa” is because it’s the one in which El finally gets to reunite with Hopper, or at least one heavily focused on their relationship. That being said, it doesn’t quite feel right that the set up to the season finale revolves around a reveal we already know. Keep in mind that this season is split up into two volumes. So, it’s more likely that we’ll see Hopper and El be reunited in one of the episodes’ of the first volume. A more exciting twist near the end of season finale would be the major reveal that Vecna is actually El’s first Papa all along, Brenner.
Brenner always did wish to harness the power of the Upside-Down for his own ends and he is the man who has done the most to hurt El and her friends. Like his “Dungeons” counterpart, Brenner could have “died” in the first season and be reborn as as god within the realm of the Upside-Down. This season draws heavily from the “Nightmare” films with Vecna meant to be seen as a sort of Freddy Krueger-like monster. What bigger boogeyman could there be for El than the man who experimented on and tortured her for years?
Will Vecna Die This Season?
Good news, “Stranger Things” fans, Netflix has already renewed the series for a fifth season! The Duffer Brothers have announced that it would be the show’s final season as well. Will Vecna live long enough to appear in the show’s final season? The answer: probably yes. The Mind Flayer was the main antagonist throughout both the second and third season of the show. So unless another big bad is hidden in the background, Vecna seems set to be El, Mike, Will, Dustin, Lucas and Max’s final foe. Still, there’s only one way to find out though.
Be sure to tune in for the first volume of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” Season 4, Vol.1 on the 27th May and for Vol.2 on 1st July!
This article is a product of speculation based on publicly disclosed information released by the Duffer Brothers and Netflix.