The Stranger Things Actor Playing Vecna Knew His Secrets From The Start

Note: Spoilers for "Stranger Things" season 4 below.

So far in "Stranger Things," Vecna, who is an allegory for depression, is the most powerful villain to emerge from the Upside Down.

Vecna's origin story is the best-kept secret in all of Stranger Things." Named after the Dungeons & Dragons character, Vecna is a frightening, imposing figure that harbors a shocking secret identity — one we don't learn about until the final few episodes of the fourth season. Series co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer evidently had the mystery under wraps. Still, they trusted the actor portraying Vecna, Jamie Campbell Bower, enough to inform him of the role he plays from the very beginning.

The character had humble origins as a young boy named Henry Creel, who discovered he had psychokinetic abilities. Unlike Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who uses her powers to protect herself and her friends, Henry used his to torture his family psychologically, and he eventually killed his mother and sister, framing his father for his crimes. Henry was also the original child studied by Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) and eventually worked in the Hawkins National Lab with the other children the scientist experimented on. After Eleven accidentally opened a gate to the Upside Down and sent Henry there, the slow but gradual process of his transformation into Vecna began. Initially, it might seem Bower's character is just a friend to Eleven at the Hawkins Lab, but to viewers, it is later revealed that he's the one she always should've been wary of. It turns out Bower knew his character's secrets from the beginning, as he revealed during a roundtable interview attended by the /Film team.

The Duffer Brothers told Bower everything

Ahead of the premiere of "Stranger Things" season 4 volume two, /Film had the pleasure to attend a roundtable interview with Jamie Campbell Bower himself. When /Film asked the actor if he was aware of his character's origin story when he signed on for the role, Bower answered in the affirmative:

"Stupidly, they trusted me with everything. I mean, there were certain details that I wasn't given because the scripts weren't given all in one go. Well, obviously we had them all before we started shooting. But yeah, I was drip-fed them as they were ready. But Matt and Ross [Duffer] told me everything in our first meeting that I had with them in L.A."

Secrets are hard, especially when they're yours

Playing Vecna with all those prosthetics is no easy feat — and Bower does so effortlessly. Funnily, it appears  it was easier for the actor to sit through eight hours of grueling makeup than it was for him to keep his character's reality a secret.

It wasn't an easy secret for Bower to harbor — he was, after all, the season's primary villain. The actor described knowing Vecna's reality as a "burden," but he was grateful he didn't "mess it up," despite knowing all the secrets. He went on:

"There were a few things that I tapped into, I think, that later on became real. Where I was like, 'Oh, okay, I am right. This did happen. And he is this person, or he is the creator of this.' And so, yeah. They gave me everything, which was a heavy cross to bear, I'll tell you that much. It was a right old burden. But yeah, thankfully didn't mess it up."

Jamie Campbell Bower feels lucky (via BBC) about the significant role he plays in one of the biggest sci-fi shows in the world, and his performance has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for his fans. The actor is known for his work in "Twilight" and "The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones." His admirers are over the moon to see him finally play a role that allows him to display his many, many talents.

All episodes of "Stranger Things" season 4 are now streaming on Netflix.