The show's crew breaks down the new big bad turning the town of Hawkins upside down.

Stranger Things has seen demogorgons, demodogs, Russian operatives, and a giant Mind Flayer terrorize the town of Hawkins, Ind. What new horrors await in the '80s setting of season 4? One word: Vecna.

Those who've fallen deep into the Forgotten Realms of Dungeons and Dragons, Mike and the gang's favorite pastime, might recognize the name. In the context of the fantasy role-playing game, Vecna, also known as the Whispered One or the Undying King, was a powerful lich. In non-geek speak, that's essentially an undead wizard.

"There's a lot of roots and vines and very organic shapes and fibrous muscle tissue and what have you," Barrie Gower, the show's production designer, said of Vecna's look during a virtual press presentation whilst filming took place on season 4 in June 2021.

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Vecna, the new demo-creature, is revealed in the latest 'Stranger Things' season 4 trailer.
| Credit: Netflix

To understand Vecna, you must understand the Creel House and what happened decades earlier in the 1950s with a man named Victor Creel. Take it as a sign that Robert Englund, the horror legend behind invader of dreams Freddy Krueger in Nightmare on Elm Street, is portraying Victor.

Victor seemed like your typical suburban family man when he moved to a new home in Hawkins with his wife and two kids, until strange things started to happen. The lights would flicker, animals would show up dead in their yard. Then one night, the man seemingly killed his family in gruesome fashion and has been in a psychiatric hospital ever since.

"What occurs in that house is pivotal to understanding what has been happening in Hawkins all of these years," noted Stranger Things co-creator Ross Duffer.

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Robert Eglund as Victor Creel in 'Stranger Things' season 4.
| Credit: Netflix

"Part of the drive and tension of this season is that we have this big new evil emerge in Hawkins and for the first time ever, Eleven [Millie Bobby Brown] is not there," Duffer added. "And not only is she separated by distance, but at the end of season 3, she's lost her powers, so even when she learns about what has happened in Hawkins, she is unable to help them in the same way she has before."

To bring this evil to life, Gower began with a life cast of the actor to ensure all the prosthetic work would be skin tight. He and his team then spent the next several weeks using fiberglass and epoxy resin molds to craft warped shapes around the form. "It's still very much a human beneath it, and we still have panels of flesh which are very pale, almost anemic looking," he said.

Vecna also comes with his own flying monkeys, of sorts — what the Duffer Brothers call demo-bats.

"We always like to introduce a new demo-creature, as you will, and so we were excited about introducing demo-bats," Matt Duffer explained. "Maybe one of them alone is not very dangerous, but when there's hundreds and hundreds of them coming to you at the same time, they're very, very deadly, and they also have the ability to act as spies, so you may not even see one in the tree, and it spies you, and then suddenly because everything is a hive mind in the Upside Down, every monster in there knows that you're there."

Fitting for a literal bat outta Hell.

Stranger Things will drop the first part of season 4 this May 27, followed by Volume 2 on July 1.

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