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Stranger Things Season 4 introduces fans to a new terrifying villain known as Vecna. However, many fans wonder what happened to the previous villain, the Mind Flayer, from seasons 2 and 3. Did the show sideline its biggest monster in the new season?

[WARNING: This article contains detailed plot spoilers regarding Stranger Things Seasons 1-4.]

'Stranger Things' Season 4 villain the Mind Flayer is only mentioned in passing. Here, the Mind Flayer's silhouette is seen in front of a red stormy sky.
The Mind Flayer | Netflix

Who is the main villain in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4?

If you were expecting the kids in Hawkins, Indiana, to face off with the Mind Flayer in Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1, don’t hold your breath because there’s a new baddie in town. Vecna, who claims the title of scariest monster yet, terrorizes the good people of Hawkins by feeding off their pain and sadness. We watch in episode 1, “The Hellfire Club,” as Chrissy gets sucked into Vecna’s Mind Scape before he throws her up against the ceiling, mangles her limbs, and causes her eyeballs to explode. 

By the end of Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1, we learn Vecna once walked among humans as Henry Creel. Henry murdered his mom and sister before authorities placed him in the care of Dr. Martin Brenner. Henry changed his name to Peter and suffered through a life of child experiments and torture at Hawkins National Laboratory before going on a rampage and murdering almost everyone in the facility. Eleven managed to survive and banished Peter to the Upside Down, where he transformed into the monster, Vecna.

Is the Mind Flayer still in Will Byers in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4?

In case you’ve forgotten, the Mind Flayer (previously referred to as the Shadow Monster) managed to possess Will Byers in Stranger Things Season 2. This allowed the creature to use Will like a spy. At the end of season 2, Joyce saves Will and exorcises the Mind Flayer from his body. When Eleven closed the gate to the Upside Down, everyone assumed that all of the occupants of the Upside Down died if they didn’t return to the alternate dimension. All seemed well in the world until the final show of Stranger Things Season 2 shows the camera pan out, and the Mind Flayer hovers menacingly over Hawkins Middle School from the Upside Down.

Despite Joyce’s success in removing the monster from Will, this left a connection between the two, and in Stranger Things Season 3, Will could sense when the Mind Flayer was near. In Stranger Things Season 4 Volume I, the kids only mention the creature a couple of times, and Dustin proposes that if the Mind Flayer wants to take over the world, it’s using Vecna as a way to open more gates.


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Is season 4 volume 2 the end of ‘Stranger Things’?

Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 2 premieres on July 1, 2022, with the final two episodes. The volume 2 teaser shows something that looks like the Mind Flayer flailing around in a tank, so it looks like we’ll at least get a peek at the monster in episodes 8 or 9. Plus, the Duffer Brothers announced in February that the series would end with season 5, which means there’s definitely still a chance the creature makes a comeback. Hopefully, Stranger Things gives us some more answers regarding the mythology surrounding the Upside Down and all the creatures that reside there.

Thankfully, we only have a few more weeks to wait.