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Vecna[2] is the main antagonist from the fourth season of Stranger Things. He is portrayed by Jamie Campbell Bower as an adult and by Raphael Luce as a child.

A fearsome sentient creature aligned with the Upside Down, Vecna had humble origins as the human Henry Creel. After moving to a new home in Hawkins in March 1959, the young Henry discovered he had remarkable psychokinetic abilities, and could alter the perception of others. Motivated by a nihilistic and misanthropic philosophy, Henry used his powers to psychologically torture his family, eventually killing his mother and sister, and then framing his father for these crimes, which drove him to madness.

These events would draw the interest of Dr. Martin Brenner, who took him to Hawkins National Laboratory to be studied; Henry was designated 001, becoming the laboratory's first test subject. Brenner implanted Soteria into Henry's neck, a miniature device that suppressed his powers and tracked his every movement; in Henry's own words, he had become a 'prisoner'. In time, Henry became one of several orderlies who assisted Brenner and attended to the lab. Brenner would go on to replicate Henry's powers in a number of child test subjects, who also had their movements restricted to the lab's confines.

In 1979, Henry tricked test subject Eleven into removing the Soteria chip with her powers. In a fit of rage, Henry used his restored powers to brutally murder the other test subjects, and attempted to do the same to Eleven. However, Eleven stood her ground and ultimately overpowered him, sending him to the Upside Down, where he was gradually transformed into the being known as Vecna.

In 1986, Vecna resurfaced and began murdering a host of Hawkins residents, tormenting his victims with his curse power and using their deaths to open a series of new gates. Dustin, Nancy, Max and others began investigating the murders, nicknaming the murderer 'Vecna' after a character from Dungeons & Dragons.

History

Personality

Henry Creel was motivated by a nihilistic, misanthropic and egocentric philosophy; he desired to reshape the world to his own design, considering humanity a species of corrupted and power-hungry parasites who have no regard of the world and the other living being. As a consequence, he doesn't have mercy or empathy for other humans, and find himself gratified by killing, torturing and tormenting people, massacring almost all of his family and all the other test subjects. In general, he is sadistic, cruel and viscid with every human that he encounters, at the point that he is ready to do everything possible to eradicate all of humanity and re-create the world. However, his sadistic and predatorial nature go beyond every of his convictions: he tortures and torments emotionally unstable teenagers, making them revive their traumas and obscure past, all for his own enjoyment, before slowly massacring them by breaking their bones and gauging their eyes out.

Henry would prove to be highly manipulative and intelligent when he convinced Eleven to remove the 'Soteria' neck chip suppressing his powers. Although his kind demeanor proved to be a facade, he seemed to show genuine interest in furthering his friendship with Eleven; however, Eleven had no interest in helping Henry execute his plans and turned against him.

After Henry transforms into the being known as Vecna, he becomes even more malevolent, delighting in the torment that he brings to those that he curses. In his mindscape, corpses of his victims are displayed in a horrific fashion, showing that Vecna is proud of the unspeakable crimes that he has committed.

Powers and Abilities

  • Telepathy: As one of the most powerful psychics introduced thus far, Henry Creel is able to see into the minds of others and search their memories as a means to obtain personal and private information that he might later use to terrorize his victims. It appears that Henry has recently learned to connect himself to the Mind Flayer, which seems to enhance his abilities so greatly that he is now able to telepathically reach across time and space in order to haunt the residents of Hawkins, Indiana in spite of existing within a completely separate dimension.
    • Vecna while connected to vines in the Upside Down Creel House

      Mental Manipulation: Henry has demonstrated a limited variation of mind control. Whilst he does not appear to exhibit any influence over the actions or behaviors of his victims, he is perfectly capable of manipulating their perceptions and causing them to hallucinate. Furthermore, once he has frightened his victims to the point of complete vulnerability, he is able to entrance them within their own minds which physically manifests as the victim being paralyzed with their eyes glazed over and retreated towards the back of their heads. Mentally, the victim will experience the most vivid and powerful nightmare that is often set in a place of terror that personally holds much pain and trauma for the individual.
    • Illusions: Henry has the psychic ability to induce mental hallucinations that cause his victim(s) to sense and experience nonexistent phenomena that are not actually playing out in the physical world. Whilst his ability to manipulate one's perception of reality appears to be strongest in the "dream world", even in their waking state, Henry can create realistic daydreams that are completely believable to those he chooses to experience. Whilst he often creates scenarios that are unique and personal to his target (i.e. Chrissy's abusive mother banging on the restroom stall or Max's mother hanging laundry in the backyard), his signature illusion is causing his victims to see and hear the loud chime of an antique grandfather clock.
  • Astral Projection: Through his connection with the Mind Flayer, Henry is able to cast his consciousness from outside of his physical body to explore the private lives of the people living in Hawkins. It is currently unknown if Henry can project his consciousness beyond the borders of this one city, however, it is more than likely that he can given the numerous times that Jane Hopper has astral projected across state lines and Henry is believed to be equally as powerful, if not more so, than his "sister" Eleven.
  • Pain Inducement: Henry is able to inflict minor forms of physical injuries on his victims such as nosebleeds and severe headaches. Whether he is inflicting this pain intentionally or if this is merely a side effect of linking his mind to another remains unknown. However, because Henry seems to require a certain level of vulnerability from his victims in order to fully possess them, it is possible that this pain inducement is the first step to weakening his target in order to gain more and more power over them.
  • Psionic Connection: Henry has the ability to develop a deep and powerful psychic connection with his victims. It is through this connection that Henry is able to open multiple wormholes between the Upside Down and Hawkins, Indiana due to the powerful expulsion of energy that is released through the ritualistic murders of his victims.
  • Psionic Resistance: As demonstrated in Jane Hopper's memories, psychics can resist each other's influence if their will is powerful enough. However, this resistance can be overwhelmed by whichever psychic has the stronger willpower.
  • Telekinesis: Henry has the ability to control and manipulate solid matter with his mind. At first, this power was limited to lightweight materials, such as small animals and the hands on a grandfather clock, but through practice and training, Henry is now powerful enough to influence objects as heavy as fully grown adults and solid steel doors. Henry famously uses this power to levitate his victims in midair before breaking all of the bones in their body and crushing their eyes into the back of their skull.
  • Regenerative Healing Factor: It appears that since his banishment to the Upside Down, Henry has developed the ability to rapidly regenerate his cells at will. This enables him to quickly heal from any and all non-fatal injuries as proven when his tentacles were shown to fully recover mere seconds after Max slashed him. Therefore, minor damages like cuts and flesh wounds will rejuvenate almost immediately, whilst greater injuries like broken bones or gunshot wounds will presumably take longer to heal but will still recover significantly faster than it does most humans. Even more so, his healing powers have apparently made him immune to most, if not all, forms of toxins and disease due to the fact that he has survived several years in the Upside Down in spite of the atmosphere becoming toxic to humans after prolonged exposure.

Weaknesses

  • Exhaustion: Similar to the physical muscles that are found within the human body, excessive use of his psionic abilities without proper rest or treatment will result in deadly levels of fatigue and weariness. Henry explained to Eleven how he almost died after using too much of his power as a child which surrendered him into a coma for two to three weeks.
  • Music: It appears that the soundwaves that are created by the rhythmic frequencies of musical sources can reach sensitive centers of the human brain that basic vocabulary cannot. As such, the barrier between the real world and the dream world where Henry imprisons his victims is temporarily opened. This process will disillusion his victims whilst also providing them a means to escape.
  • Soteria: A scientific device of unknown technology that apparently neutralizes all forms of psychic energy.
  • Willpower: Psychics with a stronger force of will can overpower Henry and attack him with their own abilities.

Description

Vecna was a human being who has been transformed by The Upside Down in an unknown manner. He retains the psychic abilities that Henry Creel once possessed; the ability to reach into the minds of others, as well as the power of telekinesis.

When connected to tendrils in The Upside Down, Vecna is able to see into the minds of people living in Hawkins. His victims are, so far, teenagers with vulnerable minds. His choice of victims appears to be random, but it is likely that they are chosen primarily due to one trait shared among them all; they reject and hide from a part of themselves (Chrissy; Bulimia, Fred; Murder, Patrick; Alcoholism, Max; Losing Billy), which is a habit that Henry Creel despised about human beings.

Victims

Deceased

Sufferers of Vecna's curse

Main article: Vecna's curse

Other

Survived

Sufferers of Vecna's curse

Main article: Vecna's curse

Other

Appearances

Season Four appearances
The Hellfire Club Vecna's Curse The Monster and the Superhero
Dear Billy The Nina Project The Dive
The Massacre at Hawkins Lab Papa The Piggyback

Quotes

As Henry Creel

To Eleven:

  • "The truth is just the opposite. You are better than they are. Superior. It is why you frighten them."
  • "He found his strength in a memory from his past. Something that made him sad. But also, angry."
  • "Well, well, look who decided to join us. Someone's a sleepyhead this morning."

As Vecna

To Chrissy:

  • "It’s time... for your suffering to end."

To Max:

  • “Nothing will happen to you... Nothing that you don’t deserve!”

To Fred:

  • "Join me."

Behind the scenes

The human version of the character was first revealed on November 20, 2020 via the show's official social media accounts along with several other new characters.[7] In the announcement, the character was named Peter Ballard. This was later revealed to be an alias most likely used not to give away important story elements. Henry was originally described as, "a caring man who works as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital. Tired of the brutality he witnesses day after day, will Peter finally take a stand?".

In January of 2021, Jamie Campbell Bower was first spotted filming at the studio alongside other cast members.[8]

The transformed version of the character was officially revealed on April 12, 2022 via the show's official trailer.[9]

Conception and design

The Duffers have named classic horror antagonists Freddy Krueger, Pennywise, and Pinhead as the primary inspirations for Vecna. Concept artist Michael Maher worked with the Duffers to develop Vecna’s design.[2]

Production

Wanting to pay homage to the first season and return to practical effects, the effects for Vecna were 90% practical. Makeup artist Barrie Gower, who has previously worked on Game of Thrones and Chernobyl, created the prosthetics for Vecna. The vines protruding from Vecna’s back are CGI.[2]

Gallery

View Gallery.png For this subject's gallery, see Vecna/Gallery.


Trivia

References

Locations The Upside DownCreel HouseCurse gatesGatesHawkinsHawkins National LaboratoryLover's LakePublic LibraryHawkins Middle SchoolHawkins Tunnel SystemMothergateTrailer Park
Entities D'ArtagnanDemobat (species)The DemogorgonDemogorgon (species)The FlayedHospital MonsterThe Mind FlayerRussian DemogorgonThe Spider MonsterHawkins Tunnel SystemVecnaVines
The Flayed Billy HargroveHeather HollowayBruce LoweTom HollowayJanet HollowayDoris Driscoll
Visitors Robin BuckleyJoyce ByersWill ByersElevenSteve HarringtonDustin HendersonBarbara HollandJim HopperMax MayfieldEddie MunsonBob NewbyShepardLucas SinclairMike WheelerNancy Wheeler
Miscellaneous Upside Down EggDungeons & DragonsThe VoidThe KeysVecna's curseVecna's Mind Lair
Articles may contain spoilers.
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