Who is Vecna in Stranger Things 4? His true identity explained

29 May 2022, 10:04

Stranger Things Cast vs. 'The Most Impossible Stranger Things Quiz' | PopBuzz Meets


By PopBuzz

Here's your comprehensive guide to Vecna, Stranger Things 4's new villain. [Contains spoilers!]

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

A new season of Stranger Things can only mean one thing: It's time to meet a brand new, even more terrifying, even more dangerous villain.

We've faced the Demogorgon, we've battled the Demodogs, the Mind Flayer has been defeated... But Stranger Things 4 has now introduced Vecna – a villain that makes Hawkins' previous threats look like child's play.

Before Netflix even dropped the teasers, Vecna had already been teased in the episode titles, leaving fans screaming, crying, throwing up, and theorising what the hell one of Dungeons & Dragons' greatest villains might do to our fave characters...

Vecna is Hawkins' latest Upside Down threat, appearing to be connected to the creepy Creel House. In the trailers, it also looks like he traps Max in a terrifying dream-like dimension at some point. (Nancy ends up there too, in one brief clip.)

With all of that in mind, and plenty of questions floating around about his mysterious storyline, here's everything we know about Vecna in Stranger Things 4 so far...

WARNING: This article contains spoilers. Do not read ahead if you haven’t watched Stranger Things 4 Volume 1!

Stranger Things 4: Vecna explained
Stranger Things 4: Vecna explained. Picture: Netflix

Who is Vecna in Dungeons & Dragons?

Much like the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer, Vecna is also a fictional villain from the world of Dungeons & Dragons come to life in Hawkins.

Vecna is one of the greatest villains in Dungeons & Dragons history. He is a powerful wizard who became a lich. As well as casting spells, Vecna’s in-game abilities include:

  • The ability to paralyse others with touch.
  • The ability to alter reality and create visions.
  • The ability to sense whenever someone close by has disclosed a secret or a deeply personal thought.

In the game, he is missing his left hand and his left eye. In the show, his left hand is replaced by a Freddy Krueger-like claw and he has two very human-esque eyes.

Who is Vecna in Stranger Things 4?

Vecna is first introduced by name in episode 1, when he appears in Eddie Munson’s final D&D campaign, ‘The Cult of Vecna’. He's also referenced in the title for episode 2, 'The Curse of Vecna'.

In the show, Vecna is depicted as a human-like, undead creature that lives in the Creel House in the Upside Down.

The Duffer Brothers have explained that Vecna takes inspiration from some of the most terrifying horror movie villains of the ‘80s – particularly Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street and Pennywise from IT. Yep, nightmare fuel personified.

Who is Vecna in Stranger Things 4?
Who is Vecna in Stranger Things 4? Picture: Netflix

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for Vecna's storyline.

Do not scroll ahead if you have not watched Volume 1! Save this page and come back to it.

Stranger Things 4 spoilers ahead!
Stranger Things 4 spoilers ahead! Picture: Netflix

Vecna's origins explained: Where did Vecna come from?

Viewers don't find out Vecna's true identity until the very end of episode 7, when both Eleven and Nancy discover his shocking history and origin story.

If the eyes and the right hand weren't enough to convince you already, it's confirmed that Vecna was once human – and he has a very strong connection to Eleven and the Hawkins Lab.

How did Henry Creel/Peter Ballard become Vecna?

While reliving her memories in the Nina sensory deprivation tank, Eleven discovers that Peter Ballard, an orderly at Hawkins Lab who befriended her and taught her how to use her powers to their full extent, is not the caring man she thought he was. (Nor is his real name Peter Ballard, he is actually Henry Creel.)

While the viewers believed Eleven to have gone rogue and killed her brothers and sisters at the start of the show, it's revealed that it was actually Peter, who is confirmed to be 001. As Eleven witnesses the horror in the room, she completely overpowers Peter with her own powers and shreds him to pieces, opening the very first gate to the Upside Down and sending him through.

As Peter falls through, he is struck by lightning and burned, before turning into Vecna. The gate closes, trapping him in there.

Where did Henry Creel get his powers from?

This is one of the biggest questions that Stranger Things 4 Volume 1 leaves viewers with. The origin of Henry Creel's psychological abilities are not fully explained, but in Nancy's visions, Vecna shows her that he had the powers from a very young age.

Viewers then find out that Henry was the one who committed the Creel House murders, killing his mother and sister, but growing too weak (much like El when she uses the full extent of her powers) to kill his father. His father survived, and the blame fell to him.

Henry did not die, as Victor said he did. He was taken by Dr. Brenner and became the very first test subject: 001. Brenner's program started with Henry, and all the other lab kids were basically experiments to try and replicate his powers.

Brenner eventually planted a chip into Henry/Peter/001's neck, keeping his powers under control. When he successfully convinced baby Eleven to remove the chip, his powers were unleashed allowing him to carry out the lab massacre.

How did Peter Ballard become Vecna? How did Henry Creel get his powers?
How did Peter Ballard become Vecna? How did Henry Creel get his powers? Picture: Netflix

How does Vecna kill people in Stranger Things 4? What happens to his victims?

All of Vecna’s victims have one thing in common: They’re all harbouring some kind of deeply personal trouble. Whether that be depression, grief, guilt, or an eating disorder. A week before their hallucinations start, the victims all experience headaches, nosebleeds and nightmares.

The victim then starts hearing ticking, with the ominous Creel House clock appearing nearby. The victim will then start to hallucinate and see visions of dead relatives or their worst fears come to life.

The victim will then end up in a trance. On the outside, they will remain unable to move but their eyes begin twitching and gloss over. In their dream-like state, they will find themselves trapped and soon realise that Vecna is approaching them.

Once Vecna grabs their head within in the dream, their body on the outside world begins to float. Vecna then crushes their skull in the dream, breaking and mutilating their body in the real world, and eventually exploding their eyes.

Does Vecna kill Max in Stranger Things 4?
Does Vecna kill Max in Stranger Things 4? Picture: Netflix

How does Vecna choose his victims?

It's not immediately clear how Vecna chooses which person he will target next. It appears as though Vecna enters a dream-like state himself where he's able to hear the thoughts and confessions of everyone in the town – kind of like when Eleven goes into the void. He then targets his next victim and their real world symptoms begin.

In 1986, Vecna appears to be targeting the teenagers of Hawkins, much like how Pennywise kills children.

However, back in the '50s, he targets both Creel parents and young Alice Creel. (We now know it was Henry Creel – who went on to become Vecna – who carried out the murders.)

As of episode 7, in the timeline's present day, Vecna has not targeted any adults... yet.

Is Vecna connected to Victor Creel?
Is Vecna connected to Victor Creel? Picture: Netflix

How is Vecna connected to Victor Creel?

In episode 2, Nancy interviews Eddie's uncle shortly after Chrissy's death at the trailer park. Eddie's uncle mentions Victor Creel's name, suggesting that he was the one who did the killings. Nancy and Robin then investigate Creel, and uncover his shocking link to Vecna.

Shortly after Victor Creel and his family moved into the Creel House in the '50s, strange happenings begin within the halls and gardens of the house, which Victor blames on a demon. Shortly after killing his wife, Vecna then targets Victor, showing him visions of his traumatic time as a soldier. Victor survives because the radio was playing his favourite song.

As of episode 4, it's clear that Victor and Vecna are not the same person. Victor has been in Pennhurst Mental Hospital since that night, as no one believes his story about a demon killing his family.

Victor's experience ends up helping the Hawkins gang understand what kind of threat Vecna is, where his lair might be located, and how to escape him when he catches you.

Why does Max float in Stranger Things 4?
Why does Max float in Stranger Things 4? Picture: Netflix

How does Max escape Vecna?

Across the first 4 episodes of the season, viewers watch as Max slowly falls deeper into Vecna's curse. At the end of episode 4, while sitting at Billy's grave, Max enters a trance and finds herself trapped in the dream world that Vecna has placed her under.

In the real world, Dustin, Lucas and Steve attempt to try and snap Max out of it but they're unsuccessful. Nancy and Robin then reveal what they learned from Victor: The victim's favourite song is able to pull them out of their trance.

The boys place Max's headphones over her ears as she begins to float up into the air. In her trance, Max hears the song and is able to run from Vecna back to safety.

Read more about Stranger Things here:

WATCH: Jinkx Monsoon talks about her iconic return to Drag Race and paints a self-portrait

Jinkx Monsoon Talks Her Iconic 'Drag Race' Return & Paints A Self-Portrait | Portrait Mode