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Stranger Things: Vecna was inspired by the Night King from Game of Thrones

Vladimir Furdik as the Night King in HBO's Game of Thrones and Jamie Campbell Bower as Vecna in Netflix's Stranger Things
Vladimir Furdik as the Night King in Game of Thrones and Jamie Campbell Bower as Vecna in Stranger Things. Pic credit: HBO/Netflix

If you tuned into Season 4 of Stranger Things and thought that Vecna looked slightly familiar, there’s a reason for that. He was inspired by the Night King from Game of Thrones.

Vecna is the big bad for Season 4 of Netflix’s 80s cult classic series. At first, he invades the minds of vulnerable teens much like Freddy Krueger did in The Nightmare on Elm Street horror movies.

He then causes them to die in a horrific way that involves many of their bones snapping.

As soon as viewers got a chance to see Vecna in the flesh, some Game of Thrones fans made the connection between Vecna and HBO’s epic fantasy series.

And, there’s a reason for that.

The Duffer Brothers wanted an iconic villain but also the Night King

According to a recent interview with Digital Spy, Stranger Things’ head of makeup effects, Barrie Gower, spoke out about Vecna and the inspiration behind him.

At first, Gower was very relieved that viewers had been impressed with Vecna, alleviating the stress and anxiety surrounding the character in the lead-up to Season 4 dropping. Then he revealed how the show’s creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, actually wanted a villain to rival the Night King.

“For Season 4, they were after an iconic villain, and I think they almost wanted a mix of those two approaches. I think they were basically after their own Night King for Stranger Things,” Gower said.

And, there’s a good reason why the Night King was the inspiration for Vecna.

Jamie Campbell Bower stars as Vecna in Season 4 of Netflix's Stranger Things
Jamie Campbell Bower stars as Vecna in Season 4 of Stranger Things. Pic credit: Netflix

Barrie Gower previously worked on Game of Thrones

Previously, Barrie Gower worked on Game of Thrones, where the Night King originated from.

The Duffer Brothers were fans of Gower’s work there and were looking for something similar in Stranger Things.

“They were fans of our work from Game of Thrones, and the character we did, the Night King. And they were also fans of recent work we’d done for Chernobyl for HBO, with all the radiation-burn victims,” Gower revealed.

Gower already had some drawings developed for Vecna when he joined the Stranger Things crew. He then worked with that to create the disturbingly humanoid creature of Vecna, complete with frosty-looking vines covering his body.

With a blend of prosthetics and CGI, Vecna was created, and the actor who portrayed him, Jamie Campbell Bower, was in costume for up to 20 hours a day.

However, Gower made sure that the actor was as comfortable as possible in the costume, even allowing an “undercarriage” in the costume that could be popped out in order for Campbell Bower to use the bathroom.

Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 is now streaming on Netflix. Volume 2 comes out July 1.

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