Vecna is just the latest in a series of perfect nightmare-inducing monsters from the Stranger Things team. So it’s very cool to see what might have been when it comes to the creepy design. Michael Maher Jr. is a concept and storyboard artist who worked on seasons two through four of the series. He recently shared multiple versions of Vecna that didn’t make the final cut on his TikTok channel.

Vecna, mid-transformation, looks up

In one particularly gross version, Vecna’s skin drapes over his face and falls off in chunks. They ultimately scrapped this design because it didn’t allow enough expressive behavior to come through. Other options didn’t hide the character’s identity well enough or were deemed too hard to shoot. It’s a range of truly terrifying options, but we think the Duffer Brothers made the right choice in the end. 


Early Vecna design – this one had mantis-like arms and legs that would separate and make a wider profile. Due to practical problems it didnt make the final cut. #strangerthings4 #vecna #millybobbybrown #strangerthingsedit

♬ Stranger Things – Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein

Maher shares more storyboards and concept art for the many creatures of Stranger Things on his website. He also served as a VFX supervisor, which means he must have been very busy in Stranger Things 4. Vecna’s squelchy vines didn’t animate themselves, after all. There’s even a video with behind the scenes footage showing how visual effects overlay to make the final product. It’s quite the peek behind the curtain for such a major property.

The background music for Maher’s TikToks is either “Running Up That Hill” (of course) or a musical version of Eddie begging Chrissy to wake up. This sets the appropriate scene as we learn more about how the team fleshed out the whole sordid tale of Henry/One/Vecna.


Early Vecna design – this one featured patches of skin that would fall off from long exposure to the Upside Down. #strangerthings4 #vecna #millybobbybrown #strangerthingsedit

♬ Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) (Bryce Miller/Alloy Tracks Remix) – Journey & Steve Perry

Another cool insight from Maher’s social media posts is that the mynocks that chew on the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back inspired this season’s Demobats.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.