As Stranger Things 4 gets ready to turn Netflix Upside Down later this month (that pun was unavoidable, sorry), the cast assembled in Brooklyn on Saturday night for the world premiere. The big news here is that they talked about this season’s new big bad, Vecna. Maybe “biggest bad” is the better phrase. After battling it out with the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer over the past three seasons, the Hawkins crew will now go face-to-face with the top-level ruler of the Upside Down as the show barrels towards its final season.
According to Stranger Things executive producer and director, Shawn Levy, “Vecna makes a Demogorgon look cuddly,” and he represents a threat unlike anything the show has grappled with before:
“Vecna is a psychological horror that I don’t think we’ve really seen,” [David] Harbour told Variety. “The Upside Down has been this wild west world where there are creatures running around, there’s violence, but we’ve never seen something as calculatedly psychologically evil as this. That’s exciting because he is a true big bad that we’ve needed in the series.”
The show also reconnected to its ’80s horror root by making Vecna a mostly practical effect as opposed to the show’s heavy, but necessary reliance on CGI for its previous creatures. Although, that made for some trippy moments on set, according to series newcomer Joseph Quinn.
“It was weird to see him on camera and he’s so terrifying, and then you see him off-camera with an iced latte,” Quinn said. “It’s quite a funny image.”
Interestingly, the actor playing Vecna has not been revealed, which has sparked numerous fan theories about his true identity. (It’s Alf. We’re calling it now.) It will be interesting to see exactly which of Vecna’s secrets will be revealed during the new season, but Stranger Things fans won’t have to wait long to find out. The first batch of episodes drops on May 27 with the back half arriving on July 1. It’s gonna be a creepy summer.