The Duffer Brothers reveal that Jamie Campbell Bower’s villain Vecna has been developed since season 1 of Stranger Things in a recent interview. Bower joined the series as the powerful psychic turned monstrous mastermind of the Upside Down in season 4. Stranger Things season 4 debuted on May 27th, 2022, with the fifth and final season currently in development.
During the shocking events of Stranger Things season 4, audiences were given a new glimpse at Eleven’s (Millie Bobby Brown) past that answered many mysteries about the sci-fi series. Throughout season 4’s flashbacks to the Hawkins Laboratory, the young psychic is mentored by a kind orderly (Bower), who would ultimately be revealed to be Henry Creel, the original subject of Dr. Brenner’s (Matthew Modine) experiments. Creel, who was numbered 001, then murders Eleven’s fellow subjects and the researchers, leading to the young girl banishing him to the Upside Down. With Bower donning an impressive, highly-detailed costume to represent the scarred Creel, it was revealed that he had been the mastermind behind the show’s monsters. As the show’s ultimate villain takes to the stage for the final season, the Duffer Brothers have explained the character’s surprisingly early development.
In an interview with IndieWire, the two showrunners were asked how long Vecna had been part of the show’s master plan. Ross Duffer revealed that the character had been conceived during the show’s early seasons. Duffer explained that while the character had yet to become what audiences would see, the idea of using 001 as an antagonist had been in development since the first season, preventing expanded materials like books and comics from exploring the character. The showrunner stated season 4’s writing let them finally define Henry as a character. Check out Duffer’s response below.
“It’s not like there was someone called Vecna, but it was going to be about Number One. And I remember even talking about in the early days, they’ll do spin-off comic books or things like that, going “You can do other numbers, just stay away from One.” We knew we wanted this entity controlling everything, but it wasn’t really till we’d gotten into the season that we figured out all the details. That it was Henry, that this is how his powers are going to work and operate, and all of that.”
After being revealed as masterminding Stranger Things‘ events, Bower has teased Vecna’s season 5 goals following his victory in season 4, where he opened a colossal gate to the Upside Down in the center of Hawkins after previously relying on Demogorgons, Mindflayers, and other monsters to make his way back into the human world. Bower stated that now that Vecna has bridged the two dimensions, he seeks to make the world a better place through twisted methods, seeing humanity as inherently flawed. Bower’s statement aligns with the character’s motivations in season 4, where Creel explained to Eleven that he believed humanity disrupted and warped the natural order of things with their mistruths and laws.
Vecna’s debut marked a major turning point for Stranger Things, as not only did his reveal show an intelligent, evil, force was behind the series’ events, but Vecna’s final battle with Eleven and her friends gave the cast their most high-stakes challenge yet. One that they ultimately lose. With Vecna set to have a major role in the show’s final season, many fans may be surprised to learn that the character had been a secretive factor in the show’s production since the beginning, allowing them to look back at previous seasons with a new perspective.