A new Stranger Things theory suggests Vecna isn’t the real antagonist after all, and the real villain has been in plain sight all along.

Stranger Things 4 marked a decidedly darker turn for the series as the Duffer Brothers unleashed the show’s Big Bad, Vecna, on both Hawkins and audiences worldwide. Vecna is the Upside Down’s most terrifying villain yet and is depicted as a skeleton-like humanoid monster complete with black vines protruding from his skin. As Netflix‘s Stranger Things 4 unfolds we get to learn more about his human origins as Henry Creel, as well as his history at Hawkins National Laboratory where he first meets Eleven before she effectively banishes him to the Upside Down. Although partially thwarted at the end of season 4, it’s clear Vecna is still very much alive and poised to return next season.

Photo of Vecna from Stranger Things 4
Image screenshot from Stranger Things official YouTube channel @strangerthings

New Stranger Things theory suggests Vecna is just a ‘puppet’ for the real villain

Stranger Things 4 made it clear Vecna is very much the main antagonist of the series, however, a new fan theory may cause you to rethink that narrative.

According to a new theory on Reddit, Vecna isn’t the main villain at all, and the real evil mastermind of the series is actually the Mind Flayer.

As we learn from season 4, Vecna used his powers to warp the Mind Flayer into a vessel under his own control. This grants him power over the demo creatures as they were previously connected by a hivemind controlled by the Mind Flayer.

However, the theory suggests that this narrative is a tad underwhelming and too linear. Instead, it posits that the Mind Flyer, an ancient entity that exercises supreme control of the Upside Down and its countless demonic creatures via a psychic link, is a far more intimidating and threatening antagonist.

The Mind Flayer could reveal itself as the main antagonist in Season 5

The theory states that in Dungeons & Dragons lore (D&D is the fantasy role-playing game which heavily influences the show), the Mind Flayer is a very intelligent and deceiving entity, and often allies with other beings only to betray them later on. With that in mind, the theory suggests the Mind Flayer is actually duping Vecna, or using him as a ‘puppet’, as it orchestrates events behind the scenes.

The fan goes on to speculate that Henry Creel (aka Vecna) was given a fragment of the Mind Flayer’s power when he was a child. This power seeped into his mind, prompting him to foresee a future where he would morph the Mind Flayer into a spider-like entity. ‘He [Creel] thinks he’s in the driving seat when in reality the Mind Flayer has passively influenced him into carrying out its own plans.’

The theory concludes that at some point in season 5, the Mind Flayer would reveal itself as the true villain of the season, perhaps removing itself from him [Vecna] and commanding its legion of demo creatures onto him to discard his no longer needed puppet. One reason for the Mind Flayer’s sudden betrayal of Vecna could be his burning at the end of season 4. We have seen with Will in season 2 that if his hosts become too hot he will leave them. Perhaps he will see him as an unsuitable vessel and abandon him, rendering him unable to be a part of its hivemind.’

However, the fan accepts there are some flaws to the theory, particularly in terms of how a portal could have been opened for the Mind Flayer to infiltrate the overworld.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting theory, and Vecna essentially getting double-crossed would serve as a particularly powerful plot twist. We’ll have to see how things play out when season five eventually arrives.

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