A theory from Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) lore suggests that if Stranger Things villain Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower) dies in season 5, Will Byers might die too. The very first episode of Stranger Things, “The Vanishing of Will Byers,” depicted Will (Noah Schnapp) being abducted and taken to the Upside Down. Though he escaped, the experience gave will a psychic-like connection to the parallel dimension’s Mind Flayer. Will developed “now-memories” and “beast sense,” which gave him the ability to see and feel what the Mind Flayer saw and felt. These abilities would manifest as a strange sensation on the back of his neck, whenever an Upside Down monster was close.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
In season 4, it’s revealed that Will’s connection is to Vecna, who created the Mind Flayer after being banished to the Upside Down by Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). In the season 4 finale, “Chapter Nine: The Piggyback,” Will returns to Hawkins and can once again feel Vecna’s presence despite his suspected death, sharing with Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), “I can feel him, and he’s hurt. He’s hurting. But he’s still alive… And he’s not going to stop. Ever… We have to kill him.”
Related: Who Will Kill Vecna In Stranger Things Season 5? Our Predictions
In D&D, the character Vecna is able to rip out his soul and put it in a horcrux-like object called a phylactery. This must be destroyed to actually kill Vecna, as he is not simply a corporeal being. With Stranger Things’ Vecna somehow surviving multiple attacks in season 4, he seems to exhibit similar immortal-like qualities. However, rather than an object, the Upside Down’s hive-mind – which connects Vecna to the Demogorgans, Demodogs, Demobats and Mind Flayer – acts as his phylactery. These other beings must be destroyed to completely defeat him. As the season 4 finale hinted, Will is still connected to Vecna’s hive mind, so if Vecna dies in season 5, Will might too.
How Will Byers Can Sever His Connection To Vecna
Unfortunately, it seems the only way Will’s connection to Vecna can be severed, is for Vecna himself to cast him out of the hive mind. In season 2, Will’s connection to the hive mind allowed him to see and feel Vecna’s thoughts and movements, allowing him to identify the Upside Down tunnels located beneath Hawkins. As per season 4’s finale, this power seems to have returned, allowed Will to spy on Vecna’s actions, effectively making it easier for the Hawkins gang to stay one step ahead of him. As such, Vecna may choose to sever his connection with Will. Additionally, while Will may act as a sacrificial hero and die to defeat Vecna, there is a possibility he could return; Eleven exhibited a new power in season 4 – the ability to resurrect someone. When Vecna killed her friend Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink), Eleven was able to harness her supernatural abilities to revive Max from the dead. If Will must die to kill Vecna, Eleven could potentially revive him afterward. This is, of course, assuming she herself survives.
This phylactery theory could also apply to Max, as her connection to Vecna is unknown as of season 4’s finale, though Matt Duffer has confirmed “Will’s going to be a big part and focus… of season 5,” (via Collider). It would be a full-circle moment for the show to book-end the series with seasons 1 and 5 revolving around Will’s connection to the Upside Down and saving his life. Contrastingly, season 5 could leave the Hawkins gang with no option but to let Will perish for the greater good. Regardless, Stranger Things season 5 – the show’s final season – will surely be an epic conclusion to the phenomenal Netflix series.
Stranger Things seasons 1-4 are available on Netflix.