Speak the name ‘Vecna’ to a dedicated D&D player and you’ll likely get a reaction, but now if you say it to a fan of Stranger Things you’ll be likely to get the same since the dreaded lich’s name has been taken on by the horrifying figure that appears to run the Upside Down, or is at least dominant within the confines of the alternate universe. This figure is actually far more forceful than any of the others since he can reach across the dimensions and kill people, unlike the Demogorgon or the Mind Flayer, who have to be there in physical form to do much of anything. In other words, the barrier doesn’t have to be open for Vecna to cause damage and confusion in Hawkins. But it’s fair to wonder if he’s been guiding the creatures of the Upside Down, and it’s even enough to wonder if he created them during his time there. This line of inquiry is made possible since having seen Eleven’s past, one can easily surmise that she wasn’t responsible for the massacre that was seen in the initial episode of season 4.
Some have even wondered if she was responsible for the Upside Down and its creation. But it appears as though Eleven was more or less responsible for throwing One, the person who would become Vecna, into the dimension when the two of them squared off, to begin with. How these memories would simply disappear isn’t too hard to imagine, since such a traumatic occurrence at such a young age might have made her mind shut down for a time to keep her from reliving this moment again and again. Or perhaps there’s another explanation. But it does stand to reason that Vecna would have been in the position to start probing for ways to reach the material world once again, and it would explain why the Upside Down mirrors Hawkins in such a way, and why we’ve never seen the decrepit world as anything but the cursed town.
It makes sense if one thinks about it since One would have drawn upon the images of the world that he remembers, and fashioned the world around him in the image of Hawkins, a twisted and blighted place that would mirror the person running it. When Eleven banished him into the dimension, One was struck repeatedly by random lightning strikes, which scoured his flesh and gave him the hideous appearance has now. But years later, after he’s had a chance to stew and allow the hatred to build, it makes a lot of sense that he would continue to obsess about Hawkins and that he might start experimenting with new ways to affect the place he came from. It might even be smart to think that he would have been trying to sense Eleven and perhaps target her as he continued to integrate himself with the Upside Down. His control of this place feels as though it was hard-won and isn’t something to be taken lightly. The way he’s connected to the Upside Down and can affect the world beyond it is creepy and eerie, but it’s effective at the same time.
Reasoning that he’s seeking out any psychic impression that might help him would be a great explanation as well since it would explain why he would branch out from Eleven’s personal circle. It does stand to reason that the two teens he killed were outliers who might have been enticing to him thanks to their past, and thinking that they strengthened him in a way thanks to their hidden pasts makes sense as well. The overall feeling is that Vecna might have taken a while to tie in completely to the Upside Down, and in the meantime might have been growing enough in power to send out minions that were created from his will and whatever materials he could find. But at one point he found it necessary to make his way back into the world in one way or another, and the connection he found was what allowed him to start tormenting the people of Hawkins in such a horrific fashion. Any echoes that were left of Eleven the town, and there were likely plenty to pick from, would have probably been enticing enough for him to go after those that had shared any time with her.
To think that Eleven is responsible for all of this is kind of like the same debacle that’s been seen with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, only in reverse. The brief relationship between Eleven and One was enough to help her along, to make things a little bit easier for her. But when One showed his true colors it was more than Eleven could take, and she inadvertently created a villain that would eventually become a truly horrifying terror that would no doubt love a rematch.