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Stranger Things 4 Volume I answered several questions hovering over our heads for the past six years and some new ones that popped up with the teasers and trailers for this new season. One of the biggest questions asked revolves around Vecna and his identity. Let’s take a look at Stranger Things 4 villain Vecna’s identity.

[WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Stranger Things 4 Volume I.]

'Stranger Things 4' villain Vecna's identity is a big question for fans. Here's Vecna in a production still from the new season.
Vecna | Cr. Courtesy of Netflix

‘Stranger Things 4’ SFX artist Barrie Gower said Vecna had been ‘stuck in the Upside Down for 20 years’

In April 2022, several outlets interviewed Ross and Matt Duffer and discussed Stranger Things 4, including the mention of this season’s Big Bad – Vecna. The Duffers recruited Barrie Gower, the special effects guru behind creatures like the Night King from Game of Thrones, to create Vecna’s look. In an interview with Polygon, Gower mentioned how Vecna had been stuck in the Upside Down for 20 years.

This threw some fans into a spiral as their previous theories of Billy Hargrove somehow being the twisted and gnarled Vecna were shattered. Of course, other theories popped up in their place, with people thinking Brenner, Hopper, and even Will somehow had a connection to the monster.

Henry Creel and Peter Ballard are the same person

Jamie Campbell Bower plays Peter Ballard in Stranger Things 4. The showrunners successfully kept him out of almost all the marketing material they used for the series. His character description described him as a “friendly orderly,” and we learned creators bumped him up to a regular cast member.

When we first meet Peter, he does give off friendly orderly vibes. However, there’s something sinister about how Bower speaks in the role. He tells Eleven a story about Number One. When she asks about One, Peter says it’s best to save that story for another day. Finally, Eleven regains her memory of Sept. 8, 1979, and when she does, we also see Peter’s backstory and learn Vecna’s identity.

Peter tells Eleven about his childhood while Vecna shows Nancy his. In a shocking twist, we learn that Victor Creel’s son, Henry, didn’t die as he believed. Instead, Henry caused everything. He murdered his mom and his sister, he caused the horrible visions for Victor, and he killed all the animals that Victor found in the yard.

When authorities accused Victor of the murders and sent him to Pennhurst, they placed Henry in the care of Dr. Martin Brenner. At some point in his lifetime, Henry changed his name to Peter, or someone changed it for him. 


‘Stranger Things 4’ Episode 1 Recap: ‘The Hellfire Club’ Features Straight Nightmare Fuel

‘Stranger Things 4’ villain Vecna’s identity isn’t that simple

Henry eventually became Peter, but how did Peter transform into Vecna? According to Peter, who we don’t know if they’re an unreliable narrator or not, Brenner tried to “recreate him.” It’s safe to assume the mechanism in his neck wasn’t a tracker and instead something to keep his powers tempered. 

Peter’s reason for the massacre at Hawkins Lab is flimsy at best, but it still leaves us with questions. Did Henry possess these powers from birth? And if so, does that mean he’s one of the only “organic” kids with powers? 

Earlier in Stranger Things 4, in “The Monster and the Superhero,” we hear Owens’ wife protest at the soldiers taking a lockbox. She claims the box is filled with “Peter’s” old school projects. Every part of the Duffers’ story seems intentional, which feels too coincidental to be a throwaway line. If authorities placed Henry in Brenner’s care, did Owens take over at some point? Plus, if Owens knew how badly Brenner treated the kids in the lab, why would he subject his son to that?

So, while we know Vecna’s identity on a surface level, it appears to be more complicated than what Stranger Things 4 showed us in volume I.

Stranger Things 4 Volume I is currently streaming on Netflix.