Who Is Vecna In ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4? Is He Related To Victor Creel?


The world of “Stranger Things” is divided into two prominent dimensions. A human dimension filled with love, hope, and endless possibilities to make things right, and then there is an alternate dark dimension, the ‘Upside Down.’ It can be called an evil domain where the sky is as red as hell itself, and the land is piled up with the remnants of the dead. The ‘Upside Down’ harbors the mutated monsters who have already plagued their lands and are now looking for new avenues to spread evil, and what could be a perfect playground for them than the human world? The first season of “Stranger Things” introduced us to a monster whom the teenage investigators named The Demogorgon, and in Season 2, we witnessed the wrath of the supreme leader, The Mind Flayer, who is probably the ruler and the most powerful creature of the “Upside Down” dimension. After the downfall of The Mind Flayer in Season 3, the Duffer Brothers have now introduced a more menacing and threatening antagonist for the finale of their beloved series. They call him “Vecna,” named after yet another evil character from the role-playing fantasy game, Dungeons & Dragons.

Much like the character from which it is inspired, Vecna’s physical attributes represent a lich, but it doesn’t prey upon the human body; instead, it captures their mind and soul. It targets men and women who have committed a sin in their past and are constantly running away from it. They consciously hold themselves responsible for another person’s misery yet are too afraid to face their flaws and fears. And that’s the weak spot that Vecna attacks. In the first episode of “Stranger Things,” season 4, he targets a teenage girl from Hawking’s High School named Chrissy Cunningham, who has been struggling with psychological trauma associated with her parents. Chrissy observes a clock in the woods, which is probably Vecna, telling her that her time for judgment has finally come. The second kid who becomes Vecna’s prey is Fred, who consciously holds himself guilty for leaving a person to die in an accident. Vecna also targets Billy Hargrove’s younger step-sister, Max Mayfield, who is traumatized after Billy’s death at the end of Season 3 and at the back of her head believes that she could have saved her brother, but she didn’t. She was standing there, watching him die, when the Mind Flayer attacked him. Fortunately, Max was saved by her friends, and she went through hell only to return home safely. The question here is, why was Vecna attacking these people and holding their minds captive in his domain?

What Was Vecna’s Motive?

According to Dustin Henderson’s working theory, Vecna was establishing a strong psychic connection with his victims in order to open multiple gates between the human dimension and the “Upside Down” in order to strengthen the powers of the Mind Flayer. His theory is based upon the fact that whenever an entity from one dimension makes psychic contact with another, a door opens, just like Eleven, who contacted a Demogorgon in Season 1, opened a portal to the ‘Upside Down.’ Furthermore, the Mind Flayer can only operate or take over the human world when the gates between the two dimensions are wide open, hence the entire hustle. Dustin believes that Vecna is some sort of five-star general of the Mind Flayer evil army, who has the power to open the door between dimensions so that he serves his master’s purpose. And thus comes the next question: how can Vecna open the interdimensional portals and have similar powers to Eleven?

What Was Vecna’s Real Identity? Is He Victor Creel’s Son?

At the end of ‘Stranger Things Season 4, Episode 7, an orderly of the Hawkins National Laboratory, reveals his true identity to Eleven. He shows her the markings on his hand that finally establish that he is no one else but the subject number ‘One,’ the first one to be experimented on for Project MKUltra, a covert project initiated by the US government to enhance the mind-control abilities of certain subjects in order to prepare them to fight the country’s cold war. Unlike Eleven and other kids in the experiments, One or originally named Henry was born with mind-controlling abilities. His history goes back to 1959 when his father, Victor Creel, a war veteran who fought the Second World War in Paris, returned to his homeland after 14 years. He received a small fortune (a house) from his wife, Virginia’s great-uncle, and the family settled in Hawkins, Indiana, to live a peaceful life thereafter, unaware of what horror awaits them.

Soon after the family shifted into their new house, Virginia and her daughter Alice (15 years old) started having nightmares, and Victor was the last to follow. He believed that some sort of demon was nesting in the house, unaware of the fact that it was his own son, Henry (12 years old), who was playing tricks with their minds. Even during childhood, Henry or One, was mentally unstable, but the people around him failed to understand his problems and just labeled him as “broken.” Henry felt like an outcast, and thus isolated himself from everyone around him. He found out that he had certain psychokinetic powers and started experimenting on animals around him. Victor told Nancy that he often used to find the dead bodies of animals around his house, and many believed that it was the work of a wild cat, but it was the sinister work of his son. Through his mind-controlling abilities, Henry started traumatizing his mother and sister and even killed them. He was about to kill Victor but exhausted himself and suddenly collapsed on the floor before he could finish the mayhem that he had started. Everyone in the small town failed to decipher what actually happened at Victor Creel’s house that day, and thus, to sum things up, the police blamed Victor for the brutal crimes and charged him with first degree murder. Henry was taken to the hospital, where Dr. Martin Brenner approached him and took him under his care to experiment on him, while on the other hand, Victor was told that his son had died in a coma.

Dr. Martin Brenner wanted to control Henry and use him as a weapon for his country, which was fighting a cold war against its adversary. He wanted to replicate Henry and create an army of super-soldiers to give the USA an extra edge in the war, and thus, when Brenner failed to control Henry, he used him to re-create more kids like him who had similar powers, and thus began the covert government program, Project MKUltra, in Hawkins National Laboratory. Eleven’s mother, Terry Ives, who volunteered for the government program, was injected with Henry’s DNA (probably) so that her offering, Jane Ives or Eleven, would be born with the same mind-controlling abilities, and it really happened. All these kids that were born under Project MKUltra were made captive in Hawkins National Laboratory, where Brenner parented them in order to mold them as per his own wishes. On the other hand, Henry, the rebel, was fixed with a device called “Soteria” that took away his power and turned him into an ordinary orderly.

How Did Henry Transform Into Vecna?

Isn’t the feeling of being abandoned the best recipe to mold a perfect antagonist? Since Henry gained consciousness, he felt like an outcast. He was different indeed, but according to society’s predetermined standards, he was called broken. He hated these rules and hated the men who tried to control him, be it his father, Victor Creel, or self-proclaimed papa, Dr. Martin Brenner. When Henry failed to fit in with other children, he pursued his own journey of self discovery and found his solace in the solitary creatures or the predators of the human world, like a spider. He believed that these predators brought balance and order to an unstable ecosystem and thus claimed himself to be one of the predators of the human world who would exterminate the most destructive pest, i.e., the humans themselves. However, he was too weak to fulfill his purpose or follow his madness and thus waited for the right moment to give wings to his desire. He even told Eleven that all the humans that he had killed became a part of his mind and thus helped him grow stronger, which further explains why Vecna was targeting so many teenagers in the human dimension.

While being imprisoned in the Hawkins National Laboratory, Henry or One manipulated Eleven and instilled in her a hatred for Brenner so that she would rebel against him and help Henry get rid of the device that was blocking his powers. Once he was free from “Soteria,” he finally revealed his true nature and brutally murdered almost everyone in the Hawkins facility to take his revenge. For a very long time, Eleven blamed herself for these deaths, as in her memories, she often saw herself smeared in blood, but in reality, it was Henry who committed these atrocities.

At the end of ‘Stranger Things’ season 4, episode 7, it was revealed that Eleven faced Henry in a battle and used his past traumatic experiences to amplify the powers that helped her to outnumber her nemesis. In the end, she not only defeated Henry but also opened a gateway to the ‘Upside Down’ dimension and sent him straight into hell. Because of the excessive use of power, Eleven got exhausted and lost a chunk of her memory, forgetting about Henry and the people he murdered. Henry, on the other hand, was probably captured, controlled, or mutated by the Mind Flayer, who turned him into the predator he always wanted to become, a lich, or as called by Dustin, Vecna. But even though he transformed into a monster, he didn’t really forget who he was. In the ‘Upside Down’ dimension, he took shelter in his father’s house, which was why Nancy found the house identical when Max drew the pictures of it after her thrilling escape from Vecna’s captivity.

Both Eleven and Vecna had the same mind-controlling abilities, and it was because of this reason why Vecna, or Henry from the ‘Upside Down’ dimension, was able to make psychic contact with the humans and seize their minds in order to open gates between two dimensions, just the same way Eleven did in the case of Demogorgon in Season 1. The only missing link here is that if the Mind Flayer had this ultimate weapon in the form of Vecna at his disposal, then why didn’t it use it earlier?

Nevertheless, in the ending episode of Strange Things Season 4 Part 2, we are likely to witness an ultimate battle between Eleven and a more threatening and menacing Henry, i.e., Vecna. And as it is the finale of the series, then the final battle will probably also be the end of the Mind Flayer, which will probably give narrative closure to the characters and the world they live in.

See More: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4-Part 1: Ending, Explained – Did Eleven Get Her Powers Back?

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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