‘Stranger Things’ season 4: Who is Vecna?

Image via Netflix / Stranger Things: Season 4

Stranger Things season 4 is seemingly leaning more into horror elements in an effort to up the ante for Hawkins residents, but after watching the latest trailer, every fan is probably asking the same question: Who is this Vecna creature haunting our youngster protagonists in the forthcoming penultimate outing?

Netflix recently announced the titles for season four’s nine episodes, and unsurprisingly, none of them reveal much about the plot beyond what we already know. One name has managed to stir the fandom into heavy speculation about this run’s ultimate villain, though, and we might have already snuck a peek at him in the recently released final trailer.

As most of you will already know, besides the few grown-ups who tag along for the story, Stranger Things mostly revolves around a group of teenagers who have an inclination for geeky stuff, particularly Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, the series premiere starts with the four of them (Will, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas) playing a session of the fantasy tabletop game.

That’s where the name for the series’ overarching villains, like the Demogorgons and the Mind Flayer, comes from, alluding to a race of tentacled creatures within D&D‘s Forgotten Realms that resemble the monster in the Upside Down. Now it seems that the latest offspring of that hellish alternate reality will be a humanoid creature that our protagonists will dub Vecna, named after a supervillain from the tabletop role-playing game.

In Forgotten Realms lore, Vecna is a powerful deity of evil who starts out as a human wizard from Oerth. Due to his exceptional power, Vecna rises to become one of the most powerful liches in history, terrorizing the multiverse and famously invading the Sigil to achieve true godhood. Vecna can also possess people, which could explain the strange things that are happening to Max in the trailer for season four.

It’s unclear just how much this Vecna will be based on his D&D counterpart, but this is the first time our heroes go up against a humanoid creature, and one that can apparently talk to them, no less. Based on the premise alone, Vecna could be a human indoctrinated by the Mind Flayer. But then, it could also be the other way around, given his godly status in the lore.

Even the possibility that the Mind Flayer has simply served as a goon for Vecna is terrifying to imagine, but I guess we’ll have to wait and find out the truth for ourselves when the first part of Stranger Things season 4, consisting of four episodes, premieres on Netflix on May 27.