The actor talks to ET about joining the Netflix series as the villainous character.
Warning: Spoilers for the Stranger Things season 4 finale.
If there’s one newcomer who has made a lasting impact on Stranger Things, it is Jamie Campbell Bower who joined the Netflix series as the villainous Vecna aka Henry Creel aka One, who wreaked havoc on Hawkins, Indiana, in season 4.
“First of all, I was genuinely overwhelmed with gratitude to be a part of the show,” Bower tells ET’s Will Marfuggi. “It really was a very strange and just beautiful experience, the whole process of getting the role, meeting Matt and Ross [Duffer] and working with the cast and the crew. I’ve got nothing but beautiful love to say.”
Not only did the 33-year-old English actor have a great experience onset, but “relished” in getting to play such an epic role in the latest, massive installment of the hit series. “I always loved characters that have truth and grit and, you know, honesty to them,” he says. “I saw a lot of honesty in Henry, in One and in Vecna, too. For me, as an actor and as an artist now, I’m always looking to go as far as I can. And this was an opportunity to do that.”
Bower adds, “It was just amazing, a total joy.”
The actor also recognizes the fact that audiences not only think Vecna is the scariest villain to join the series, but one of the scariest things they’ve seen on TV in a long time. “I giggle often,” he says. “I’m British, so I’m often terrible at even, you know, receiving praise at all. But it takes a village, right? And to be able to be a small part of bringing something like this to life is a privilege and it’s an honor.”
Of course, when he auditioned for the series, he didn’t know the full scale of the character he was going to play. It wasn’t until after meeting the creators that he got clarity on his character’s many arcs. “It was at that point, when I met them, that things started to come out and they started to tell me, you know, who this person was and what I was gonna be doing. I was just buzzing.”
By the end of season 4, the full scale of Vecna’s terror was revealed as he took on the gang, first killing Eddie (Joseph Quinn) then nearly ending Max’s (Sadie Sink) life. But before he could fully enact his revenge of Hawkins, he was brought down Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and the others as his body was lit on fire, blasted with a shotgun and tossed out the window of his old home.
Looking back on filming that final showdown, Bower says, “It was amazing.”
“We were all together on that last day and that was, that was, I think, the very last day of shooting as well,” he recalls. “I remember watching that shotgun scene particularly and I stood by the monitor with Matt and Ross, cause often I would like to watch what my other team members are doing cause I find it fascinating. And she looked so cool. I turned to the boys and I was like, ‘That’s amazing. She looks so dope. That’s so sick.’ And they were like, ‘Right?’ So, that was really lovely to watch somebody else, you know, look badass on camera.”
He adds, “It was, you know, it just felt right. Everything felt right for the character.”
Of course, Vecna’s body is nowhere to be found before the finale ends, suggesting that he’ll be back to wreak havoc another day, especially as the Upside Down finally broke through, into the real world. But when it comes to Vecna’s return in season 5, Bower says, “I couldn’t possibly say. You’ll have to hold your breath.”