We love a glimpse behind the curtain of the Stranger Things design process, and recently we've been treated to some truly fascinating (horrifying) alternate character designs for Vecna. Earlier this month, we shared some concept art in the form of stills but the artist has now treated us to a series of videos that show just how terrifying Vecna could have been.
Storyboard and concept artist Michael Maher Jr shared the early Vecna 3D mockups on TikTok (below), along with some insights into why the designs didn't make the cut, from how hard they would have been to shoot to a lack of expression in the face. (We wonder if they paid attention to our character design tips when making their final decisions.)
@michael_maher_jr ♬ Stranger Things - Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein
There are a series of videos to explore, showcasing different Vecna concepts, which all have their own spine-chilling features such as mantis-like arms and legs (above) that, according to Maher, would separate to make a wider profile. Apparently that one was ditched due to "practical problems" and I can't say I'm sorry about it. There are also designs that feature "mouldy rot from living in the Upside Down" and "a tumours gangrene that would eat away the flesh". Shiver.
Maher also shared an alternate version of how Vecna's Mind Lair could have looked. With a spinning vortex and a creepy web of vines, the set design ideas are complex and eerie – see it below.
@michael_maher_jr ♬ Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) - Kate Bush
Of course, the designs have caused quite a stir on TikTok, with Stranger Things fans dissecting what could have been in the comments for each video. "I like the more human version we got," one user commented. Others, though, weren't convinced by the final version, asserting "all of these are better than what we got" and giving specific opinions like "the last one with spikes would actually scare me".
You can check out more of Maher's Stranger Things concept art on his website (if you're feeling brave). I love it as much as these Stranger Things posters, which could contain a big secret about the show.
Feeling inspired? Grab the best 3D modelling software and get creating.