Yep, Stranger Things 4's Latest Villain Is Another Dungeons & Dragons Character
He might be the scariest one yet.
Nothing says “spring break” quite like an inter-dimensional demon — at least, that’s the case with the crew from Stranger Things. In the past, Eleven and her buddies have overcome a Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer, but the latest demonic villain torturing them in Stranger Things 4 is the scariest yet. Just like the other horrors in the show, Vecna from Stranger Things 4 comes from Dungeons & Dragons, and his backstory in the game helps explain much more about him.
Dustin, Mike, and the rest of the Hawkins gang were pretty quickly able to figure out that Vecna was the baddie behind the mysterious string of murders that popped up at the start of Season 4. After all, they had just been involved in a D&D campaign all about Vecna, run by the Hellfire Club’s leader, Eddie. It’s not until later in the season that the squad uncovers the more important details about Vecna’s identity, powers, and reason for terrorizing Hawkins — and to keep things relatively spoiler-free for the time being, this post won’t go into those specifics — but knowing about Vecna’s D&D origins offers a ton of insight into the show’s latest villain.
For those who are unfamiliar, Vecna is a main antagonist in the Forgotten Realms D&D campaign. As Eddie described on the show, Vecna was a powerful lich with a cult of obedient followers. (A lich is an undead spellcaster, almost always associated with evil due to embracing dark magic to overcome mortality.) Vecna was a very special lich, not only because he gained the powers of a deity, but also because he was said to be the first mortal to ever become a lich.
Stranger Things’ portrayal of Vecna clearly drew from his D&D background. In particular, Vecna was obsessed with learning the secrets of others and using that information to torment his victims, much like how the show’s version of Vecna targets teenagers harboring traumatic secrets. He was also known to travel between universes, much like how Stranger Things’ Vecna attacks his prey from the Upside Down.
Of course, the show took some liberties with Vecna. Most notably, the original D&D Vecna is pretty well-known for losing his left hand and left eye, whereas the Vecna on Stranger Things is fully intact. Still, the writers definitely did their homework when bringing Vecna into the Stranger Things world, and fans can expect to learn a lot more about him when the final two episodes of Season 4 drop on July 1.