One Stranger Things Fan Theory Suggests Major Villain Twist For Main Character, And I Could Become A Believer

mike, eleven, and will at the roller rink in stranger things season 4 volume 1
(Image credit: Netflix)

Warning! Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 1 coming up! Go fight some Demo-bats and come back when you’re totally caught up!

The Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 1 ending has given fans a lot to think about in the few weeks since it finally debuted on Netflix as part of the 2022 TV schedule. From trying to remember where Eleven, Will, Hopper, and the rest of the gang were by the Stranger Things finale, to many of us worrying about Steve’s ultimate fate after all of those Demo-bat bites, viewers can’t stop considering what we’ve seen and what might come in Volume 2. One of those things involves the Big Bad, Vecna, and who might be helping him, which has led to a fan theory that suggests a big, fat villain twist for a major Stranger Things character: Will Byers. And, this theory could make me a believer.

What’s The Stranger Things Theory About Will Being A Villain?

I've been thinking over a number of aspects about Stranger Things in the wake of Season 4, Volume 1, including whether or not Vecna is the ultimate villain of the series. There have been rumblings that Will might not be as innocent in these Upside Down shenanigans as he’s always seemed (same for Eleven), but now one fan (who’s been rewatching the first season) has posted on Reddit with a very thorough explanation of their theory about how Will might end up being a very bad guy, and there are several convincing points to consider.

As you know, Vecna is actually Brenner test subject One, and began life as Henry Creel, who went on to kill his mother and sister and frame his dad, Victor, for the killings. The first thing this fan theory brings up is the fact that both Will and Henry are described by their parents as being unlike other kids and “sensitive,” meaning that we’re already going down a potentially dark path with Will. The theory posits that either the youngest Byers boy was already going dark without Vecna’s help (and this may have led the monster to locate him) or that Vecna was able to turn him shortly after kidnapping him.

The post also points out that we don’t really see things from Will’s perspective in the Upside Down, while we do with some of the Demogorgon’s other victims, suggesting that Will wasn’t really running scared the whole time he was there. Also, and probably most convincingly, is the sequence of events that led to Joyce being able to contact Will via the Christmas lights.

This starts with Joyce getting two phone calls of breathing that turn to animalistic growling and then electricity coming through the phone. The Reddit user notes that this seems to be Vecna stalking her to create fear, as we see him do in Season 4. After the second call, the lights begin to lead Joyce down the hall to Jonathan’s room, where the Demogorgon tries to break through, leading to a lot more fear from Joyce, who flees but then decides to return to the house. 

After Joyce buys the Christmas lights and strings them up all over the house, they lead Mike’s little sister, Holly, to the same spot, where she’s nearly snatched by the faceless Demogorgon. If Will is able to control the lights, the fan asks, why would he use them to lead people to a potential gate where the Demogorgon could get them? On top of that, when Joyce is most scared, after Will is finally able to tell her to run, that’s when the Demogorgon can finally break through. 

OK…Alright! Out of all the stuff I want to see when Stranger Things returns for Volume 2, Will being revealed as evil is not one of them, but these are good points, right? The fan who came up with this theory believes that Vecna has turned (or fully turned) Will to help his cause by stalking, terrifying, and isolating victims to then lead them to the most dangerous places so they can be used in Vecna’s ultimate plan. 

While he doesn’t have any supernatural powers of his own, we know that Will’s had a psychic (and, clearly, physical) connection with the Upside Down before, so if he’s ever close to a gate again that could return, leading the boy who’s feeling dismissed by his best friend to really do some damage on Vecna’s behalf.

I had already become pretty sure that Vecna has been behind all of the Stranger Things villains anyway, so him corrupting Will would be just another sign of his power. It’s possible that this potential twist will be addressed soon, as Stranger Things Season 4, Volume 2 hits Netflix on July 1.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.