It is not easy to come up with a villainespecially if the intent is also to make it in the public eye as monstrous as possible. And we’re not just talking about looks. Vecnathe villain of Stranger Things 4 that haunted Hawkins and the protagonists of one of the most beloved Netflix TV series of all time, is rather evilto put it mildly, and at the same time frightening: a real nightmare creature. But how did it come about for the authors of Stranger Things the inspiration that led them to the creation of Vecna? What were the references with which i Duffer Brothers did they relate so that they could “write” such a monster?
The origins of Vecna according to Ross Duffer
True, the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayerenemies of the protagonists of Stranger Things in recent seasons, they were scary. Faceless monsters moved by primal and destructive instincts that drove them to devour any unfortunate who came in their path. As for Vecna, however, the horror and revulsion it arouses are perhaps even greater because not only is he a horrible being, but he is also a sentient creature what a time it was a man and, apparently, also the “criminal mastermind” who has been behind the events that have marked Hawkins and his people from the very beginning.
Behind the conception of such a villain, scary and evil beyond belief, there were apparently some references to which the authors of Stranger Things they drew on references from their life and experiences. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ross Dufferco-creator of Stranger Things along with his brother Matt, said:
We have long wanted to create a villain who was much more psychological in the way he attacked our heroes.
For this it seems that the Duffer Brothers have drawn inspiration from characters like Freddy Kruegervillain of Nightmare on Elm Street, Pennywisethe evil clown in IT from Stephen Kingoi cenobites from Hellraiserall cited by Ross Duffer as examples.
Why did they work so well? Why did they terrify me during my growth? At one point, the villain simply became Vecna.
Ross Duffer explained, however, how the references from his childhood and that of his brother are so useful for shape their new villainbut that from them Vecna is then detached to take on a life of its own:
You try to analyze it, but at some point we stopped talking so much about references to try to tell the story, because I don’t think you can just make a collage of references. It will never work. Vecna then became part of this world and we had to figure out how to tell the story of him correctly.
The story of Vecna’s origins in the series
To tell the origins of Vecna the authors realized it was necessary have more time, so as to explore and understand how such a villain was generated. The story of Vecna is then told through an entire episode dedicated to him, or the seventh named The Hawkins Laboratory Massacre. In the same interview, Ross Duffer revealed that it was necessary appeal to Netflix to allow authors to use an additional episode to investigate the origins of Vecna.
We realized we needed a lot of time to get it right and that required a separate episode. We didn’t say, ‘It’s going to be a long movie,’ but that’s what it ended up being.
Stranger Things 4 it was actually a season with a significantly longer duration compared to previous seasons, with episodes of literally record length. And although it seems that some narrative passages have been sacrificed in the editing roomRoss Duffer said he was satisfied with the duration of the TV series, referring in particular to episode 7:
If it had been shortened by even 15 minutes, it would not have been a satisfying episode. So at one point we just said, ‘Well, it’s just a mega episode. If anyone wants to pause it, he can do it!
Also Jamie Campbell Bowerinterpreter of Vecna in Stranger Things 4, revealed some details regarding the construction of his character. Bower did indeed talk about how it was helpful for him to refer to Doug Bradleyactor who played Pinhead in the saga of Hellraiserin particular with regard to the pitch of the voice:
I went home, worked on it and did a lot of reference work. This deep, thundering voice comes out of the darkness… I loved it. It was great.