Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 4 finale of Stranger Things. If you’re not done yet with your binge, you might want to react to this interview like you would to one of Vecna’s grandfather clocks — in other words, run the other way!
Henry/One/Vecna’s not bad, he’s just drawn that way. So says Stranger Things heavy Jamie Campbell Bower as he speaks with TVLine about his sympathy for the devil, his complicated relationship with Eleven and the one shot that the Upside Down’s overlord would never take.
TVLINE | What’s your take — is Vecna a villain, or has he just been curdled by years of being misunderstood?
Well, as an actor, I always have to sympathize and learn to love the character that I’m playing, so for me, I think Vecna and Henry have a lot of truth in them. I don’t think he’s a monster, as it were. I think his experience has led him to become both disenfranchised and furious with his environment and with the world.
TVLINE | As powerful as One is, he never just ends Eleven. Does a part of him still sorta want a sidekick in the Upside Down?
I mean, she’s part of him. There’s a sibling relationship there. I think he respects her but probably also in a selfish way wants to preserve her because she’s part of him.
TVLINE | Albeit a part that he loves to hurt.
She is incredibly powerful, and I think in the latter stages of the story, he really is enjoying and relishing the opportunity to cause her as much discomfort as possible rather than just… [Snaps his fingers] He’s had enough time to sit and stew on everything that’s happened to him because of her that, given the opportunity, he’s going to draw this out as long as possible.
TVLINE | In the finale, El offers Henry a chance to just stop and be redeemed. Does that appeal to him on any level?
Absolutely 100-percent no way. No. That was never his plan. Even though some people have said, “If he had gotten out at the beginning, what would have happened? Would he and El have gone off to live happily ever after on some island somewhere?”
TVLINE | I’m thinking… no.
He’s always had designs to reshape, as he says, and remake the world as he sees it.