- Warning: Major spoilers ahead for "Stranger Things" season four.
- The new season of Netflix's show includes flashbacks to events, spanning from 1959 to 1986.
- We've put all the new major events into chronological order with important scenes from past seasons.
The first season of "Stranger Things" told the story of secret government experiments on children gone wrong. Various kids were born with supernatural abilities, and imprisoned in the Hawkins National Lab (HNL) for testing.
When Eleven, an 11-year-old girl with "011" tattooed on her wrist, escaped the HNL in 1983, she encountered a group of boys who were looking for their friend Will, a fellow preteen who had been taken into an alternate dimension known as the Upside Down.
But now, in season four of the Netflix series, the timeline of events has been expanded all the way back to the 1950s. New scenes explained how and why Eleven accessed the Upside Down while inside the HNL.
With the following timeline, we break down exactly how the new villain in the Upside Down (Vecna) was created — and why he's been haunting Eleven and Hawkins since 1979.
Note: Events marked with an asterisk (*) have been estimated based on context clues within the show.
*1947: Henry Creel is born shortly after his father, Victor, returned from fighting in World War II.
We know from newspaper articles that Nancy and Robin found that Henry Creel was 12 years old when he killed his mother and sister, framing his dad for the gruesome murders in 1959.
That means he must have been born sometime around 1947, a couple years after WWII. Victor Creel was a soldier, haunted by a bombing he ordered on a family's house somewhere in Europe.
1959: Twelve-year-old Henry Creel murders his mother and sister. Henry's father Victor is imprisoned for the crimes.
As he later confessed to Eleven, Henry (AKA "One" or "Vecna") realized he had psionic powers (telekinesis, mind-control, the ability to make people see visions) when he was a young boy.
By the time he was 12, his mother had decided to call Dr. Martin Brenner to help figure out her son's strangeness. This enraged Henry, who later murdered his mother and sister using his supernatural abilities.
The effort Henry spent using his powers to kill his family left him in a coma. His dad, Victor, was taken away to Pennhurst and convicted for the death of his family.
But Henry hadn't died. Instead he had been secretly taken into Hawkins National Lab.
1959: Henry wakes up inside Hawkins National Lab under the care of Dr. Martin Brenner, who begins his experiments.
Henry told Eleven that Brenner didn't want to simply study his power — the doctor wanted to replicate them.
So far "Stranger Things" hasn't revealed exactly how Henry gained his powers. One plausible theory is that something Victor did during the war (perhaps involving nuclear weapons or chemicals) led to his child's genetic anomaly.
We know Brenner's team at the Department of Energy was trying to replicate Henry's powers by giving pregnant women drugs like LSD and leaving them in sensory deprivation tanks for long periods of time.
Brenner started tattooing the children he held in captivity, beginning with Henry as patient 001 — or "One."
*1972: Terry Ives gives birth to her daughter inside Hawkins National Lab, and Brenner "abducts" the baby.
Sometime in the early '70s, Terry Ives gave birth to her daughter, Jane.
According to Terry, she woke up without a baby and was told she had miscarried. But Terry suspected the truth and went public with accusations that Dr. Brenner had "abducted" her child and was using her superpowers to fight the Russians.
When Terry successfully broke into the Hawkins National Lab to try and find Jane, she was captured by Brenner's team and electrocuted until her brain function was all but destroyed.
Jane was raised, along with the other children, by Brenner as number 011 — or "Eleven."
*1976: Kali Prasad, or "008," escapes the lab.
As revealed in season two of "Stranger Things," only one child managed to escape Hawkins National Lab alive.
That was Kali, known in the lab as "Eight." Her powers were centered on creative illusions, a skill that likely came in handy when she made it out of the lab. She fled to Chicago and started life as an outcast who hunted down former HNL workers and killed them for revenge.
Though we don't know the exact year Kali escaped, we do know that she was no longer in the lab on the day Henry killed all the other children except Eleven.
September 8, 1979: Henry plots the Massacre at Hawkins National Lab, and Eleven sends him into the Upside Down.
Henry, now in his early 30s, was forced to work as an orderly at HNL, assisting in the experiments and overseeing the other supernatural children.
For whatever reason, he identified Eleven as the likeliest target for his manipulations and got her to remove a device Brenner had implanted in his neck. The device (called a "soteria," which we explained in our analysis here) had prevented Henry from using his powers or escaping the lab.
Once the device was out, Henry set out to kill every last person inside the lab — including over a dozen children.
When Eleven realized what Henry had done, she summoned an enormous amount of power and defeated the older man. Her psionic abilities were so advanced (even at the age of about 7 years old) that she opened a gateway between dimensions and banished Henry into the Upside Down.
1979: After Henry's attack, Eleven loses her memory and knowledge of how to summon her strongest powers.
Brenner said that the massacre at HNL set Eleven back, shocking her system to the point where she didn't remember how to use her strongest powers or anything about Henry.
In an interview with Variety, the Duffer Brothers also said that this is why Eleven's speech patterns changed from the 1979 flashbacks to herself in the early '80s. Her trauma was so intense that she even forgot how to form complex sentences.
*1981: Eleven, now the only child left in HNL, tests her powers on soda cans, a cat, and in the Void where she spies on a Russian man.
As the Duffer Brothers explained in an interview with Variety, the Massacre at Hawkins Lab was so traumatic for Eleven that she effectively blocked out all memories from 1979 and earlier. That's why her grammar was so limited again, and we saw in flashbacks that she had to be re-trained to use basic powers.
Brenner stopped trying to replicate the supernatural abilities on other children, making Eleven the sole test subject in the lab.
She was able to enter into some sort of subconscious Void and listen to people speak and see some of their surroundings. The Department of Energy seemed to be planning on using Eleven to spy on Russians (and maybe even remotely assassinate them).
But while she was in the Void one day, Eleven encountered a Demogorgon — one of the creatures who live in the Upside Down.
November 6, 1983: Eleven escapes HNL and a Demogorgon begins hunting in Hawkins. Will Byers disappears into the Upside Down.
The first season of "Stranger Things" begins in 1983.
Eleven was told by Dr. Brenner to "make contact" with the Demogorgon, possibly because he was keen to have her search alternate dimensions to find Henry again.
When Eleven touched the Demogorgon inside the Void, she became so terrified that her powers burst out of her, and a Gate to the Upside Down was opened inside the lab. Somewhere among the chaos of the Gate opening, Eleven escaped HNL through the drain pipe Henry had shown her years ago.
Meanwhile, the Demogorgon entered Hawkins and chased little Will Byers home. Will vanished into the Upside Down, and the Demogorgon continued hunting people in Hawkins.
November 1983: Eleven befriends Mike, Dustin, and Lucas. In order to save them from the Demogorgon, she once again banishes the creature (and herself) into the Upside Down.
Eleven, who is now 11 years old in 1983, experienced life outside HNL for the first time when Mike took her in.
After defeating the Demogorgon (which may have been acting on Henry's orders), Eleven vanished inside the Upside Down and then escaped — eventually going to live with Hopper in a secret cabin in the woods.
*1984: In the alternate dimension, Henry discovers the special particles and forms the Mind Flayer.
In the season four finale, Henry monologues to Eleven about what happened to him after she used her powers to transport him into a new dimension.
"I saw so many things," Henry told Eleven while recounting his exploration of the new realm. "And one day, I found the most extraordinary thing of all. Something that would change everything. I saw a means to realize my potential. To transcend my human form. To become the predator I was always born to be."
Henry had become interested in spiders at a young age.
"Like me, they are solitary creatures and deeply misunderstood," Henry said in episode seven of season four. "They are gods of our world. The most important of all predators. They immobilize and prey on the weak, bringing balance and order to an unstable ecosystem."
So Henry took inspiration from the spiders, and created a shadowy monster that the Hawkins teens call the Mind Flayer.
June 28, 1984: The Russians test their prototype gate-opener.
The third season of "Stranger Things" starts off with a scene in Russia. This sequence happened in the summer of 1984 — it was a flashback to what was happening before the main events in season two, which took place in the fall of 1984.
This machine test fails, but we know the team of scientists continued working on their secret project and moved to Hawkins to set up a new laboratory while all the events of "Stranger Things" season two were taking place.
The Russians likely learned about the possibility of opening inter-dimensional gates during their spying on the US Government as the Cold War was underway.
October 1984: Henry begins haunting Will Byers, this time with the Mind Flayer.
Throughout season two, we see the Mind Flayer target Will for possession. Henry wants the Gate to stay open and expand, so he can send more and more creatures (like demodogs and Demogorgons) into the dimension where Eleven is now hiding at Hopper's cabin.
November 1984: Eleven uses her superior powers to once again defeat Henry and close the now-enormous Gate located at HNL.
After reuniting with her sister Kali and learning how to expand her powers, Eleven returned to Hawkins to save her new friends and family from the Mind Flayer.
She seals the Gate, though a small part of the Mind Flayer was trapped in her dimension (the piece that had possessed Will throughout the season).
December 1984: Eleven and the other kids attend the Snow Ball, but Henry is keeping a watch on them through the Mind Flayer in the Upside Down.
As the season of "Stranger Things" closes with a winter dance at Hawkins Middle School, we saw that the Mind Flayer (and therefore Henry) is still watching Eleven through dimensions.
July 1985: Henry once again terrorizes Hawkins using the Mind Flayer, and "bites" Eleven (causing her to lose her powers).
The small piece of the Mind Flayer that was left in Eleven's dimension managed to accumulate a physical body made out of exploded rats and humans.
Henry (again, through the Mind Flayer) possessed Billy Hargrove and terrorized Eleven and her friends as he's determined to find and kill her.
A Gate had been opened once again in Hawkins, this time by the Russians who had infiltrated the town and built a secret lab. Hopper and Joyce figured out how to close the Gate by shutting down the Russian machine.
Meanwhile, the Mind Flayer had managed to injure Eleven by "biting" her leg and leaving some of itself behind.
"I sought a means to open my own doors," Henry said in the season four finale. "I sought your power. So don't you see? Once again, you have freed me."
So the Mind Flayer's "bite" in season three somehow helped Henry strengthen his own powers, enabling him to begin the murder spree we see later in season four.
October 1985: Eleven and the Byers go into hiding in California.
Determined to get a fresh start for Eleven and the rest of the Byers family, Joyce moves out to California.
Eleven starts living as "Jane Hopper" — taking the first name her mother gave her and the last name of her adopted dad, Jim Hopper.
There Eleven starts high school and improves her grammar. But her powers were still frustratingly gone.
March 21, 1986: Henry kills Chrissy and begins hunting other teens in Hawkins.
At the start of season four, "Stranger Things" brings us to the spring of 1986 — nearly seven years after Eleven banished Henry into the Upside Down.
Once again plotting a way to get to Eleven and take over her dimension, Henry begins haunting and murdering select teenagers in Hawkins (Chrissy, Fred, and Max to start).
This is the first time we see what Henry looks like after so many years inside the Upside Down. He can physically tether himself to the "hive mind" of the Upside Down, and use his telepathic powers to make victims see visions and transport their subconscious into the Upside Down where he rules.
March 1986: Eleven undergoes a special procedure to help her recall her memory of Henry so she can re-access her powers.
Once again under the guidance of Dr. Brenner, Eleven (now about 14 years old) uses the NINA system to re-live her memories of HNL. She's finally able to remember being a younger girl and how she fought and defeated Henry. Her powers return.
March 1986: Henry's plan to "end" Hawkins succeeds when he opens a fourth gate and connects each of them, devastating the small town.
With each psychic kill, a new gate opens, eventually leading to the final scene where Hawkins is seemingly swallowed up by the Upside Down (something actor Noah Schnapp hinted could happen in an interview with Insider).
Henry called this "the beginning of the end."
We don't know where he went, or what his next move will be, but those are questions for the coming fifth and final season of "Stranger Things."
In the meantime, you can see all our burning questions here, and read a breakdown of all thebest details you might have missed in "Stranger Things" season four here.
Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.
How did Eleven send Vecna to the upside down? ›
In Eleven's true origin story, she faces off against One after the latter threatens to destroy humanity. She is able to rip open a door to the Upside Down and sends One through, where he eventually becomes Vecna.How did Vecna create the upside down? ›
Then, using his powers, Vecna proceeded to dominate the shadowy creature and bend it to his will. One theory -- such as the Screen Rant article -- has suggested that the Upside Down was hive minded before Vecna got there. So, when he took over the Mind Flayer, he took over the entire dimension.When did Eleven get Vecna in the upside down? ›
The first known gate is the temporary one Eleven opened in 1979 that she sent Vecna through. Eleven opened the first permanent gate in 1983 after making physical contact with a Demogorgon/Vecna while in a deep psychic state.How did Vecna get through Stranger Things? ›
Luckily, Mike can talk to her through the layers of trances. He finally (finally) tells El he loves her, and she draws deep into her power and pushes Vecna off of Max, holding him off until Steve and Co. can attack his physical body and destroy the mind palace.How are Eleven and Vecna connected? ›
In a fit of rage, Henry used his restored powers to brutally murder the other test subjects and workers, and attempted to do the same to Eleven. However, Eleven stood her ground and ultimately overpowered him, sending him through a gate to the Upside Down; there, he gradually transformed into the being known as Vecna.Why is Will connected to Vecna? ›
Will now occupies a very unique role: he's connected to Vecna, but not part of the Hive Mind, meaning he isn't hurt when other parts of the Upside Down are. This connection may well prove to be Vecna's undoing, giving the team insight into his plans and a heads-up before he acts.Was Barb killed by Vecna? ›
Using past traumas to break down his victims, Vecna brought Nancy to the pool where Barb was killed by the Demogorgon and revealed her mangled corpse. Vecna then taunted Nancy with her own feelings of guilt - that she was responsible for Barb's death and had forgotten about her.Who was Vecna before? ›
What is Vecna's origin story on Stranger Things? In episode 7, Vecna is revealed to be Henry Creel (played as a youngster by Raphael Luce), the son of Victor Creel (Robert Englund) and his wife Virginia (Tyner Rushing) shown in the 1950s flashbacks.Is Vecna 11's Dad? ›
The theory claims that Vecna is Eleven's father. It first showed up on a podcast called Just The Nobodys, which was posted to TikTok. At first glance, the theory is pretty out-there, but there's actually enough evidence to give it credence.Does Vecna hate 11? ›
Vecna has reasons to hate Eleven. He has a reason to want to get back into his own reality. He even gives a reason to want to assimilate and kill everyone on earth. It's likely that Vecna is meant to be the overarching villain of Stranger Things—and it's likely that's been the plan since the very beginning.
What did Eleven Remove from Vecna? ›
He reveals what looks to be a tracking device implanted in his neck. As a thanks, Eleven uses her powers to remove the chip, which leads the orderly to reveal his true identity as 001. 001 was born Henry Creel, the son of Victor Creel (played by A Nightmare on Elm Street's Robert Englund).Who has Vecna killed? ›
Vecna's first big credited kill was Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien). He followed that murder with canonically terrible driver Fred Benson (Logan Riley Bruner) and basketball star Patrick McKinney (Myles Truitt).Why did Vecna choose Max? ›
Of course, the real reason Max became Vecna's victim was because creators the Duffer brothers and producer/director Shawn Levy wanted to showcase Sink's talent and really allow her to get some meaty material to work with this season.Why does Vecna need 4 kills? ›
Ultimately, it is revealed in Stranger Things season 4's finale that the reason why Vecna was killing Hawkins teenagers was to create a massive gate that merges the Right Side Up with the Upside Down - and he specifically needed four bodies to do so.How do they know Vecna is one? ›
The final scene of Volume 1 shows a shot of Vecna, and a close up of the 001 tattoo on his arm, confirming that Henry Creel, a.k.a. Number One, became Vecna.Who is more powerful 11 or Vecna? ›
So, in Season 4, Stranger Things brought back the flesh and blood monsters by introducing the very-pratical Vecna, who was not only terrifying, but he was also more powerful than Eleven, hence why Dr. Brenner was so afraid of him. The first reason that Vecna was stronger than Eleven is simple.Is Eleven a clone of Vecna? ›
Since the midseason finale confirmed that One is Vecna, it stands to reason that, as his clone/sister, Eleven could've potentially inherited the same thirst for mayhem and destruction.How did 001 survive in the Upside Down? ›
Eleven used her remaining strength to disintegrate the Demogorgon, and in the process, vanished in a cloud of dust. However, Eleven had not disintegrated like the Demogorgon, but was instead transported to the Upside Down. She quickly escaped by using the gate the Demogorgon had left behind in the corridor wall.When did 11 send 1 to the Upside Down? ›
September 8, 1979: Henry plots the Massacre at Hawkins National Lab, and Eleven sends him into the Upside Down.How old was 001 when he became Vecna? ›
We know Eleven was born in 1971, which means her mom got pregnant with her during the tests, sometime in 1970. A 1959 flashback in the mid-season 4 finale reveals a 12-year-old One (Jamie Campbell Bower). That puts One, a.k.a. Vecna, as 24 when Eleven was born.
Who did Vecna turn out to be? ›
It's revealed that Vecna is actually Victor Creel's son, Henry. After realizing he has powers while feeling alone in his own home, Henry decides to attack his own family and kill them to test his power. Victor is framed for the murders at Creel House, while his son is taken away.Does Will 11 destroy Vecna? ›
Does Eleven defeat Vecna? Eleven didn't kill Vecna, but that doesn't mean she won't beat him in Stranger Things season 5. “Piggybacking” into Max's consciousness gave her a chance to fight him, but it's hard to say if it was ever possible for her to kill him without being in proximity to his physical body.Did Vecna kidnap Will? ›
Vecna was the one who originally kidnapped Will in season 1.Who was the 4th person Vecna killed? ›
Max Mayfield (Technically)
She tells Lucas than she cannot see nor hear and doesn't want to die. But she does. Her heart stops, making her the fourth death in Vecna's plan.
Though Eddie manages to occupy the Demobats until the battle is over, he succumbs to his wounds. He dies in Dustin's arms in the Upside Down, and his body is never recovered.Who was the last person Vecna killed? ›
Vecna's final kill of season 4 was technically Max but as you'll know if you've finished episode 9, Max is not actually dead. Despite Vecna breaking all of Max's limbs and rendering her blind, he did not manage to kill her while she was in a trance.What is Vecna's full name? ›
His name is Henry Creel and you should not call him Peter. You can, but it's weird. The shock twist in episode 7 of Stranger Things 4 revealed that Eleven and Vecna (aka Henry Creel or 'One') have a long history with each other, which could well come to a head in the plus-sized final episodes next month.Who taught Vecna? ›
Orcus, the demon prince of undeath, taught Vecna a ritual that would allow him to live on as a lich. Beyond death, he became the first and greatest of all liches. Even though his body gradually withered and decayed, Vecna continued to expand his evil dominion.Is Vecna a she or he? ›
Much like the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer, Vecna is also a fictional villain from the world of Dungeons & Dragons come to life in Hawkins. Vecna is one of the greatest villains in Dungeons & Dragons history. He is a powerful wizard who became a lich.Is Vecna Victor's child? ›
Vecna was the original child studied by Dr. Brenner and the son of Victor Creel. He's the infamous Number One, but had his powers blocked and worked as an aide in the Hawkins National Lab.
Who is Vecna mother? ›
Vecna and his mother, Mazzel, were born to the untouchable caste in the Flan city of Fleeth. She trained him as a wizard in the arcane arts for many years before the city burned her as a witch, and Vecna escaped.Is Vecna lonely? ›
Labeled as different and difficult, Vecna had been known as Henry Creel by his family. He was a lonely, isolated child who sought solace with spiders.Is Vecna straight? ›
So, until Will picks up the pace or Robin goes vegan, there's only one reigning queer icon in Stranger Things. And that, of course, is Miss Vecna. Or Henry Creel, if you're straight.Why is Vecna obsessed with clocks? ›
The clock's prominence in Stranger Things 4 has to do with its connection to Vecna. Time is an importance aspect of his character. That's why the sound of a ticking clock can be heard when he starts to haunt his intended victims. It's why they see the clock.Why does Vecna have tentacles? ›
Vecna has human-like arms and legs, referencing the human he was thousands of years ago (although his left hand is missing and is a powerful magical artifact in the game), but his head is a frightening skull, and he's missing his left eye.Does Max get Vecna curse? ›
But while Vecna was finishing her off Eleven and the rest of the Hawkins crew managed to defeat him. Unfortunately, the damage by Vecna's curse was not to be undone and Max lay with Lucas, blind with broken limbs. Max would have died and was dead for a whole minute, but Eleven brought her back to life.Who burned Vecna? ›
What happened to Vecna? Although Nancy, Robin, and Steve's ground offensive successfully incapacitated Vecna — they both shot him out a window and burned him extensively — by the time they got outside he had vanished, leaving just a soot mark on the Upside Down ground.Who was Vecna's 2nd victim? ›
|1||Gate location: Munson trailer||Deceased|
|Gate location: Unknown road|
Ultimately, it is revealed in Stranger Things season 4's finale that the reason why Vecna was killing Hawkins teenagers was to create a massive gate that merges the Right Side Up with the Upside Down - and he specifically needed four bodies to do so.Did Vecna break Max's bones? ›
The fan-favorite character ended the season in a coma with her bones broken and eyes blinded at the hands of Vecna.
Why does Vecna feed on trauma? ›
Brenner (Matthew Modine) states in the Stranger Things episode "Papa" that Vecna "consumes" everything about his victims, Vecna targets traumatized victims because it builds for him a well of sad and angry memories to draw from. With each victim, he can become gradually more powerful.Did Vecna let Max escape? ›
What broke through to Max was the happy, loving memories of her friends, particularly Lucas and Eleven, and these were what truly allowed her to break free of Vecna's grasp and escape.What does Vecna do to his victims eyes? ›
Whenever victims become entranced or possessed by Vecna, their eyes form a milky glaze, until they meet their demise as Vecna plucks their eyeballs out.Do Vecna victims feel pain? ›
Once he takes control of the mind, he traumatizes them by showing the visions of their dark past. He takes them to unknown places and gives them a glimpse of himself. The pain of his victims doesn't end here. Every single one of his victims experiences nose bleeding and severe headaches as well.Is Vecna painful? ›
On top of that, Will Byers confirms that Vecna is, in fact, alive. Byers has a deep connection with Upside Down, so he can always sense the existence of Mind Flayer or Vecna. After returning to Hawkins, Will can sense that Vecna is injured and in pain, but the demon from Upside Down isn't dead.How did Eleven create the Upside Down? ›
In the "Stranger Things" timeline, the earliest we see the Upside Down is during Eleven's time in the Hawkins National Laboratory when an experiment guided by Dr. Brenner results in her accidentally opening the gateway between our world and the hellish dimension on the other side.How is Vecna stronger than Eleven? ›
The first reason that Vecna was stronger than Eleven is simple. He was older and more experienced. He was the original subject in Project MKUltra, and using his DNA, Dr. Brenner was able to make or alter the other children so that they would also have powers.What did Vecna want with Eleven? ›
What did Vecna want with Eleven? Here's why. Instead of simply killing Eleven and being rid of her for good, Vecna wanted her to watch him kill Max and destroy Hawkins in the Stranger Things season 4 finale.How did 008 survive in Stranger Things? ›
Kali is said to have escaped from the lab after she managed to grow her powers and used them to flee.Who is Eleven's real dad? ›
According to the Stranger Things novel Suspicious Minds, Eleven's real father has been identified as Andrew Rich, Terry Ives's old boyfriend. Terry Ives, portrayed by Aimee Mullins, has been confirmed as Eleven's biological mother.
Is Vecna 11's dad? ›
The theory claims that Vecna is Eleven's father. It first showed up on a podcast called Just The Nobodys, which was posted to TikTok. At first glance, the theory is pretty out-there, but there's actually enough evidence to give it credence.Is Vecna half human? ›
Vecna was born as a human, centuries ago as a member of the untouchable caste in the Flan city of Fleeth on Oerth. He was initially trained by his mother, Mazzel, in the art of magic, before she was executed by the government of Fleeth for practicing witchcraft.How many kills does Vecna? ›
All in all, Henry Creel/Vecna has directly killed at least 28 people, give or take. Not including Max, of course, who remains alive but in a coma.Does Vecna hurt Max? ›
The fan-favorite character ended the season in a coma with her bones broken and eyes blinded at the hands of Vecna. Max technically died for one whole minute before Eleven revived her friend, but Eleven's powers weren't enough to bring Max fully back to life.What did Vecna do to his parents? ›
Instead he decided to “break free” by killing his mother and sister and framing his father for the murders. His horrible plan nearly worked, too. But while he grew stronger and more powerful with each kill, he was “still a child” and didn't know the limits of his powers.