Stranger Things season 4 introduced Vecna, the most dangerous villain in the series, but how much of him is CGI and how much is practical effects?
Stranger Things season 4 introduced its most dangerous villain to date: Vecna, who used to be Henry Creel/001 before Eleven sent him into another dimension. Vecna has a very specific look that fits with the one of the Upside Down, but how much of him is CGI and how much is practical effects? After a long wait due to various delays as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Stranger Things returned with its highly anticipated season 4, which not only answered the biggest questions left by season 3 but also revealed some of the Upside Down’s biggest secrets.
Stranger Things season 3 left the audience with various cliffhangers, such as Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) losing her powers and Jim Hopper (David Harbour) supposedly dying, so by the time season 4 began, the main characters were scattered across three locations: Hawkins, California (as the Byers and Eleven moved out), and Russia, where Hopper was imprisoned. While the ones in Russia found a way out of prison and the country while also fighting a Demogorgon and the group in California went after Eleven, who was taken by Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) and Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) to help her regain her powers, the Hawkins crew tried to solve a mysterious wave of murders that turned out to be connected to the Upside Down through Henry Creel/001/Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower).
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Related: Why Did Vecna Reveal His Identity To Nancy, Specifically?
The biggest twist and reveal in Stranger Things season 4 was that the monster they called Vecna, Henry Creel, and Hawkins Lab’s 001 subject were the same person, and he was a very dangerous man as he was as powerful as Eleven in his human form, but in the Upside Down, his powers went beyond what he could ever imagine. Jamie Campbell Bower played a grown-up Henry/001 but he also played the terrifying Vecna, whose peculiar look and more were possible thanks to a combination of practical effects and CGI.
Stranger Things’ Vecna Is Mostly Prosthetics & Makeup
The reveal of Jamie Campbell Bower also being the one who played Vecna underneath all that makeup and prosthetics was as shocking as that of Henry Creel being 001 and Vecna. The official Twitter account of Stranger Things shared a behind-the-scenes video showing the full transformation of Bower into Vecna (which made way for a meme, too), and the whole makeup and prosthetics process took around six hours. In an interview with IGN, the Duffer Brothers confirmed that Vecna is “90% practical [effects]”, which made it a lot easier for the actors on set to react to the character as they literally had Vecna right in front of them, rather than working against a green screen and talking to a tennis ball on a stick. To bring Vecna’s look to life in the most realistic and functional way possible, Stranger Things counted on the talents of make-up artist Barrie Gower and his team, who had previously worked on Game of Thrones, thus why Vecna’s resemblance to the Night King.
How Much Of Vecna Is CGI
Although Jamie Campbell Bower went through a tedious process to become Vecna and brought the character to life in the most terrifying way, Vecna also benefitted from CGI, though not as much as previous Stranger Things villains, such as the Mind Flayer. Although the crew behind Stranger Things season 4 hasn’t opened up about what exactly the 10% of CGI in Vecna was about, it most likely was used for small details in his look like the nose, as well as the tentacles around his body when he’s in the Upside Down. CGI might have also been used to enhance certain details in Vecna’s physical appearance as needed, but at the end of the day, most of him was achieved through the magic of practical effects.
Next: Vecna & Mind Flayer Connection Fully Explained
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About The Author
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Adrienne Tyler is a features writer for Screen Rant. She is an Audiovisual Communication graduate who wanted to be a filmmaker, but life had other plans (and it turned out great). Prior to Screen Rant, she wrote for Pop Wrapped, 4 Your Excitement (4YE), and D20Crit, where she was also a regular guest at Netfreaks podcast. She was also a contributor for FanSided’s BamSmackPow and 1428 Elm. Adrienne is very into films and she enjoys a bit of everything: from superhero films to heartbreaking dramas, to low-budget horror films. Every time she manages to commit to a TV show without getting bored, an angel gets its wings.
When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to learn a new language, watching hockey (go Avs!), or wondering what life would have been like had Pushing Daisies, Firefly, and Limitless not been cancelled. Breakfast food is life and coffee is what makes the world go round.
Guillermo del Toro said “hi” to her once. It was great.
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