The stage is set for one last showdown with Vecna in Stranger Things Season 5 – but what if he isn’t the final big bad, and a more powerful villain is still to emerge?
In Season 1, it was the Demogorgon. In Season 2, it was Dart the Demodog and the Shadow Monster. In Season 3, the Mind Flayer escaped the Upside Down. In Season 4, Vecna reached into Hawkins and snapped its local teenagers like twiglets.
Vecna was Stranger Things’ scariest antagonist yet; he manipulated high-schoolers using their traumas, putting them in a trance while he snapped their limbs and ripped out their eyes. More than that, he’s also at the center of the show’s biggest mystery: how was the Upside Down created, and why does it want to kill Eleven?
The Season 4 finale ended on an epic, feel-bad note: Vecna is in hiding, Max is in a coma, and Hawkins has been torn apart by an interdimensional, seismic event. Soon, we may see another baddie.
Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4 to follow…
Vecna might not be the big bad of Stranger Things Season 5
Let’s clear up some quick spoilers: Vecna is Henry Creel, otherwise known as 001 in Dr. Brenner’s facility, who was transformed into a monster when Eleven inadvertently opened the gate to the Upside Down and banished him, seemingly forever. There, he discovered the earliest form of the Mind Flayer, and became the architect of all of Hawkins’ horrors.
In her video, she points out Vecna isn’t the most powerful villain in Dungeons & Dragons – that honor goes to Borys, the Dragon of Tyr, the most powerful creature in existence on Athas.
The TikTok also shows Will’s painting from Season 4, which featured knights taking on a three-headed, red dragon, which bears some resemblance to that feared dragon Borys.
Borys was introduced as part of the Dark Sun campaign setting in 1991. While Stranger Things has always been set in the ’80s, the show’s creators have teased a time jump – will it cross over into the ’90s, and if so, could that open the door to Borys?
Will Stranger Things Season 5 introduce a bigger villain than Vecna?
In an interview with IndieWire, the Duffer Brothers claimed they didn’t plan on adding any new characters into Season 5. “I just like shaking it up, so we shake it up by changing the plot or adding in a new monster,” Matt Duffer said.
“We’re doing our best to resist [adding new characters] for Season 5. We’re trying not to do that so we can focus on the OG characters, I guess.”
That said, Will’s painting can’t just be about his love for Mike, can it? Its imagery seems to tease further weaving of Dungeons & Dragons lore, and if it’s not Borys, there’s the possibility of other dragons.
In the game, Vecna is a once-human king who became a lich (an undead being trapped on another plane of existence), and is considered one of its most formidable villains. Players have to contend with paralysis, mind-control and reality-altering powers.
If Will’s painting does lead to the introduction of a dragon, it could also be an incarnation of Tiamat, the five-headed queen and mother of evil dragons; or perhaps even Tarrasque, “the most dreaded monster native to the Prime Material Plane” and “a killing machine,” according to the 2nd edition Monstrous Manual.
Stranger Things Season 5 doesn’t have a release date at the time of writing, but it’s not expected until 2024.