‘Stranger Things’ Season 5 Releases First Look at New Villain

in Television

Promotional art of Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven for Stranger Things

Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things fans are waiting for the upcoming season 5 with no end in sight, but at least they can finally get a look at a new version of the show’s final villain.

Vecna's hand in the Upside Down from Stranger Things Halloween Horror Nights 2023
Credit: Netflix

Stranger Things has been a flagship series for Netflix ever since the supernatural thriller show debuted in 2016, instantly making young stars out of Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin, and Gaten Matarazzo and propelling the Duffer Brothers into the highest echelon of TV creators.

Each season of the show has expanded the universe of Stranger Things, which began as a relatively straightforward story of an interdimensional monster invading a small town in Indiana in the 1980s while a traumatized child with psychic powers made some nerd friends.

Season 2 brought in Mad Max (Sadie Sink) and the poor, doomed Bob Newby (Sean Astin), as well as new villains in the form of the Mind Flayer and its puppet, Billy Montgomery (Dacre Montgomery). Season 3 introduced the most 1980s of things, a shopping mall and Soviet invasions, while strengthening the bonds between Eleven (Brown) and her adoptive father figure, Jim Hopper (David Harbour). Season 4 brought back Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) and yet another villain in the form of the mysteriously grotesque Vecna/Henry Creel (Jamie Campbell Bower), while finally shedding some light on the origin of Eleven’s powers and the Upside Down.

'Stranger Things' artwork poster
Credit: Netflix

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Season 5 “Canceled,” Fate Confirmed

Now, Stranger Things season 5 and the Duffer Brothers have the momentous task of bringing it all to a satisfactory conclusion, not to mention doing it while the show’s young actors are still age-appropriate. The recently-concluded WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes put a huge delay on the production of Stranger Things season 5, leading to frustration from both actors ready to move on to the next project and fans looking to finally find out what is going to happen to the town of Hawkins.

In the meantime, the Stranger Things creators and Netflix have been attempting to stall fans with tie-in comic books, Eddie Munson prequel novels, and branded frozen pizza long enough to maintain some goodwill. The most ambitious of these in-between projects is Stranger Things: The First Shadow, a stage play prequel to the show currently being shown at the Phoenix Theater in London.

'Stranger Things: The First Shadow' poster
Credit: Netflix

While the stage play is primarily about the arrival of Henry Creel (portrayed by Louis McCartney) to Hawkins and a glimpse into the lives of the older cast of the show when they were young, it’s clear it is intended to be more of the first taste of season 5 than just a prequel, as well as a look at a new version of the Vecna we were introduced to in season 4 .

Matt Duffer has described the stage play as a “mega-episode” of season 5, while writer Kate Trefry told SFX Magazine, “There are referential sequences and imagery and callbacks and flashbacks to the events of the play in Stranger Things season 5 that will still make sense to you if you don’t see the play, but you’ll have a deeper understanding of them if you do…It’s in conversation with the seasons prior and the season to come. It really informs everything that you have seen and will see.”

The Creel family (Michael Jibson, Imogen Turner, Louis McCartney, Lauren Ward) arriving in Hawkins in rehearsal for Stranger Things: The First Shadow arriving to Hawkins, with Christopher Buckley as Bob Newby
Credit: Netflix/Manuel Harlan

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Star Officially Jumps Ship Amid Backlash

The Stranger Things stage play is being positioned as a true part of season 5 while also acting as a sequel, which makes it that much more exciting that we finally have a good look at Henry Creel/Vecna as he appears on stage. Check it out:

As directed by Stephen Daldry, it’s clear that Stranger Things: The First Shadow is going as far as a stage play can to recreate the ghostly imagery of the original show. The bottom right image of Henry Creel standing in front of a smashed mirror is a good look at the new villain of the show, who will be returning in his more familiar, tortured form in season 5.

Stranger Things: The First Shadow stars Shane Attwooll as Chief Hopper, Oscar Lloyd as James Hopper Jr., Kemi Awoderu as Sue Anderson, Chase Brown as Lonnie Byers, Christopher Buckley as Bob Newby, Ella Karuna Williams as Patty Newby, Ammar Duffus as Charles Sinclair, Gilles Geary as Ted Wheeler, Max Harwood as Allen Munson, Michael Jibson as Victor Creel, Lauren Ward as Virginia Creel, Isabella Pappas as Joyce Maldonado, Calum Ross as Walter Henderson, Maisie Norma Seaton as Claudia Henderson, and Patrick Vaill as Dr. Brenner.

Netflix has not yet announced a premiere date for Stranger Things season 5.

Will Stranger Things season 5 conclude the show on a high note? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

View Comments (2)