Unused Stranger Things concept art sees Vecna, the upside-down villain, getting even more disgusting ahead of his introduction in Season 4.
Warning: this article contains spoilers for stranger things season 4
Concept art of stranger things season 4 reveals alternate designs for Jamie Campbell Bower’s Vecna. Now that stranger things season 4, volumes 1 and 2 have become Netflix’s most-watched English-language series, audiences are familiar with Upside Down’s big bad, Vecna. Named after the Dungeons & Dragons’ spellcaster, the sentient monster invades the minds of its victims before murdering them in grotesque fashion. With each murder, Vecna opened a portal to the once-peaceful town of Hawkins, Indiana.
stranger things sThe Season 4 episode “Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab” revealed that Vecna is actually Henry Creel (aka One), the “friendly” medic who manipulated Eleven during his time as a subject. testing at Hawkins Laboratory. After Eleven removed the Soteria implanted in Henry’s neck, he launched into a telekinetic massacre. Eleven was able to subdue him and send him upside down while opening the first interdimensional portal. The alternate dimension environment mangled his body, which took on a look similar to Freddy Krueger’s Pinhead, game of thrones‘Night King and a spider. With so many inspirations, Vecna had many possible final designs.
Concept artist and director on strange things, Michael Maher Jr., recently shared some artwork from Season 4. The post provides insight into alternate Vecna designs that would have leaned more into how the Upside Down rotted parts of the villain’s skin. The result is even more disturbing than its final design. Check out the images below:
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In an age where villains like MCU’s Thanos and DC’s Steppenwolf are created using computer-generated imagery, Vecna was created with 90% practical effects. In homage to 1980s horror villains, series creators Matt and Ross Duffer have hired famed effects artist Barrie Gower (game of thrones) in 2020. Bower spent about six hours each morning in the makeup chair while prostheses were applied. Naturally, the intention to make Vecna’s design practical probably played a huge role in shaping its look and what the artists imagined on paper or on a computer screen. While it would certainly have been easier to use CGI to more closely fit this initial concept art, the character’s unsettling final look was worth it, as even star Millie Bobby Brown admitted to being afraid of Vecna.
Although the images shared by Maher prove that Vecna could have been even more disgusting than his last appearance, the face and eyes are completely different from what appeared on screen. In the end, as Maher pointed out, Bower’s final look allowed him to emote better while wearing the prosthetic makeup, making it all the more terrifying. In the end, his almost entirely hands-on character design was a game-changer in stranger things season 4, expanding the mythology and raising the stakes in a real Dungeons & Dragons tribute. After his fiery encounter with Eleven in the Season 4 finale, Vecna will likely look even more grotesque when audiences see him in the final Season 5.
More: Was the Mind Flayer controlling Billy part of Vecna’s plan?
Source: Michael Maher Jr./Instagram
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