Hawkins, Indiana has been terrorized by all sorts of creatures since Will Byers was taken into the “Upside Down”. From Demogorgons, to the Mind Flayer, to various other Lovecraftian monsters, the ante has been upped with each subsequent installment of Stranger Things. Season four is no different, as a new big bad is tormenting and murdering the children of Hawkins in horrific fashion. As coined by Dustin Henderson, Vecna has proven to be an imposing force for the Stranger Things crew to go up against. What makes the creature even more terrifying is that it’s the first humanoid foe that’s been a primary antagonist for the series. Previous denizens of the Upside Down have been created with VFX, but Vecna is an impressive work of prosthetics and practical effects, which gives the character an ominous and forboding presence whenever he’s on-screen.
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When developing the main antagonist for season four, the Duffer Brothers wanted to have a walking, talking monster that could break down its victims psychologically before going in for the kill. To do that, prosthetics wizard Barrie Gower was brought in to design Vecna. In a recent interview with Variety, Gower recalled that the Duffers came to him and his company BGFX because of their work on another standout television villain:
“With season four, they were after a new, big iconic villain. They decided that they wanted their own version of the Night King, an iconic figure, and they thought ‘Well, why don’t we just contact the guys who made the Night King?'”
The Makeup Process Helped Vecna’s Actor Dive Deep Into His Character
The Duffer Brothers wanted to go all out for season four of Stranger Things, and their investment paid off given how good the prosthetics and makeup look for Vecna. It reportedly took more than seven hours to apply the full Vecna outfit to actor Jamie Campbell Bower, which, as he told Variety, ended up helping him get more into the monster’s mindset:
“I came in character, wearing the character, so I’m sitting in the makeup chair very still, not really talking to anyone. Music is a big help for me. I had a few records that I was just constantly spinning on repeat as I’d been building the character I’d had on anyway, so there was that, sort of, subconsciousness that was coming through.”
As revealed in “Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab”, Vecna is actually Henry Creel, the son of Robert Englund’s Victor Creel, and is also the first child that was experimented on by Dr. Martin Brenner. Bower not only gets the chance to play the monstrous Vecna, but also to flesh out the character’s backstory through various flashback scenes with Eleven. As a result, the main villain of season four has much more depth than the previous CGI monsters that primarily served as the antagonists for the first three Stranger Things seasons. Vecna has already put together an impressive body count, and we’ll have to wait until July to see if Eleven and the rest of her Hawkins family can put down the latest threat from the Upside Down.