Warning: This article contains spoilers for Stranger Things season 4, vol 1.
As Stranger Things season 4 finally revealed another big bad of the Upside Down, Vecna, it brought a lot of hints that could target Will as the next Stranger Things villain. Will Byers was, in many ways, the core focus of season 1, as the show explored the mystery of the missing Hawkins boy, who was actually trapped in the Upside Down. The 12-year-old suffered intensely whilst he was there, as his mother and his friends scrambled to uncover what was really happening in Hawkins. As they uncovered the truth about the monsters, it cemented just how much Will had gone through. However, once discerned as the big victim of the show, a dark theory actually points to Will arising as the show’s new villain, perhaps even an accomplice to Vecna.
Vecna, once known as Henry Creel, showed signs of telepathic powers at a young age, and mad with power, killed his family and demanded to order the world his way. This led him to Brenner, who tried for years to replicate Henry’s powers, and thus made Henry, Number One. Unable to control One’s rageful powers, Brenner kept him close, making him an orderly and giving him a power-inhibiting chip. However, One manipulated Eleven into removing this chip, and then went on to massacre most of the Hawkins lab, before being unknowingly banished to the Upside Down by Eleven, who opened up a gate to it.
From then, Number One became the horrifying Vecna, and began his reign of terror. His time spent in the Upside Down corrupted him beyond belief, and he began psychologically manipulating the teenagers of Hawkins before brutally killing them. With the Stranger Things narrative splitting off in 4 different directions, it means that some of the young heroes aren’t even yet fully aware of him and the horror he can inflict. Because of Will’s past experience with the Upside Down, this leaves him particularly vulnerable to the villain, and it might lead him down a dark path.
Will Byers Already Has A Big Connection To The Upside Down
The central story of Stranger Things season 1 was Will Byers going missing in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana. Despite the concerns of Will’s mother, Joyce, that something else was afoot, the police were skeptical about the seriousness of his case. As it turned out, Will had been hunted by a Demogorgon and found himself in the Upside Down, a deadly alternate dimension of Hawkins. Where a lot of the Demogorgon’s victims were immediately killed, Will managed to hide, and did so successfully, spending an impressive 6 days in the Upside Down. Nearly a week spent in the Upside Down, and being the first to survive and leave it, as far as we know, means that Will has a strong and indisputable connection to the alternate realm. Upon Nancy’s discovery, going to the Upside Down is technically time travel as it’s stuck in time in 1983; the exact date that Will went missing, which further links the two together. Seeing how even a small amount of time there can alter someone’s mind, the time spent there must have had some sort of adverse effect on young Will’s psyche, which may be revealed in a villainous way later down the line in Stranger Things.
Will’s Story Has Parallels To Henry Creel & Vecna
Intriguingly, Will and Henry bear some resemblance in terms of characterization. From the very first season of Stranger Things, Joyce describes her son as a sensitive child, and this is very much emphasized continually throughout other seasons. Of the group in particular, Will is by far the quietest and most introspective, spending a lot of time alone drawing. This is a key comparison between him and a young Vecna, aka Henry Creel. Henry was also described as being sensitive by his father, was shown spending a lot of time keeping himself to himself, and apparently enjoyed drawing. It was his sister, Alice, who was more boisterous and outwardly enthusiastic, whereas Henry was a lot more solemn. Further, in D&D lore, Vecna is a wizard, which is exactly the same class as Will’s character, ‘Will the Wise’.
How Will Could Become An Upside Down Villain In Stranger Things’ Future
It is already well-established that Vecna takes those with a lot of inner trauma. Chrissy seemed to have body dysmorphia as a result of her mother taunts, and Fred suffered huge survivor’s guilt from a dangerous car crash. Further, Max has some issues with her step-dad and her home life more generally. Most of all, she saw her stepbrother, Billy, suffer a gruesome death at the hand of the monstrous Mind-Flayer at the end of Stranger Things 3. Will, as aforementioned, spent 6 whole days in the Upside Down, barely surviving and constantly having to hide from the deadly Demogorgon that hunted him, which would of course disturb even the bravest person, let alone a child.
More than this, Will has always been the outcast of the group. He was missing for the majority of Stranger Things season 1, and season 2 saw him coping with the trauma of being in the Upside Down, which made him grow distant. This was only made worse when he was possessed by the Mind-Flayer. Season 3 saw him constantly mention just wanting to play D&D with his friends, clearly craving some normality to diminish the horrors he had witnessed. Yet, his friends dismissed the game as babyish, despite Dustin and Mike joining the Hellfire Club, a club revolving around Dungeons & Dragons, in season 4. This rejection and distance from his closest friends only add to Will’s trauma, making him ripe for Vecna. .
There’s also a good point to be made in the fact that his friends have already forgotten his birthday, and likely wouldn’t know Will’s favorite song to save him, leaving him in Vecna’s hands. Vecna is open to accomplices, as already demonstrated when he tried to recruit Eleven. Thus, with Vecna seeing how Will already survived the Upside Down valiantly, and his similarities to young Henry, it could mean that the dark wizard might see something more in him.
Why Will Becoming A Villain Would Make Sense For Stranger Things
Will, arguably, has the most firsthand experience with the Upside Down out of the group, thus if anyone could become corrupted by it, it would be him. He was there for nearly a week, and he has been possessed by the Mind-Flayer before. This would make it easy to explain a possible villain arc for him, as he has the most viable explanation for giving into the Upside Down forces, because he had the most exposure to them. It would also add a new dimension to the show, as so far, the group has only had to defeat truly evil, larger-than-life monsters. Will turning into some kind of Vecna creature, or simply being a Right Side Up agent that sabotages Eleven and the group, would mean that the Stranger Things kids would have to defeat something more difficult than a monster; a friend.
Next: How Long Has Vecna Been In The Upside Down?
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