Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things 4.
The demogorgons and the Mind Flayer have taken a backseat in Stranger Things 4 as a brand-new villain has risen up out of the Upside Down to terrorize Hawkins. Namely, Vecna, a so-called dark wizard who “curses” his victims by terrorizing them with visions fueled by their own trauma, until they are so frenzied he kills them through a psychic connection. Not only are Vecna’s powers nightmare-fuel, he also has a terrific character design that recalls the great horror movie antagonists of the ’80s.
Fans have been rating Vecna highly for the past week since season four dropped — even finding him to be an unexpected thirst trap — but he’s gone up even higher in folks’ estimations now that they know the truth about him. FX artist Eric Garcia recently took to Instagram to share a fascinating set photo of star Jamie Campbell Bower in his full Vecna costume — which has resulted in fans realizing for the first time that Vecna wasn’t just CGI but a practical creation. We repeat: Vecna is real.
Let’s hear it for the Stranger Things make-up and effects team.
You can’t beat the practical route.
Bower must have the patience of a saint.
Asking the big questions.
Volume one’s final episode reveals that Vecna is actually Henry Creel aka One, the original superpowered child in Hawkins who was hideously transformed when he was banished to the Upside Down by Eleven. Bower has explained that it was him in the suit and performing the character’s voice throughout the season. The Twilight actor confirmed to IGN that pretty much all of Vecna was practical, excepting his tentacles, which could only be realized digitally.
We’ll find out if El and her friends can defeat Vecna for good when Stranger Things 4 concludes with two further feature-length episodes on July 1.