The 11-Vecna-Papa storyline is similar to that of Harry-Voldemort-Dumbledore.
Stranger Things 4, Vol. 2 will be released on Netflix on 7/1/22
*SEASON 4 SPOILERS BELOW*
This article will sound a lot like I'm hating on Stranger Things 4. Let me just make one thing clear here.
I am hating on Stranger Things 4.
Now, that doesn't mean I don't like the season so far, or the show as a whole. I do. But the main baddie (Vecna) and his origin story is just bugging me, mostly because of its striking similarity to one of the seminal villains of our time: Lord Voldemort of the Harry Potter franchise.
Papa, or Dr. Brenner, is the brains of the operation in Stranger Things. He's the one in charge of the school/institution geared towards developing the supernatural powers of youngsters, ala Dumbledore and Hogwarts.
One of his original students, Henry Creel, is a bit of an introvert who did not have the greatest relationship with his family growing up, to say the least. But he's got some wicked awesome powers. Sounds a little like a young Dumbledore and Tom Riddle, no?
Henry Creel eventually turns on the institution that helped develop his aforementioned abilities. However, in his quest for domination, he is undone by another pupil of Dr. Brenner, a pupil who originally thought Creel was trying to help her. He is defeated by a wunderkind whose powers, at least in part, come from Creel's. Such is the storyline of Henry Creel and 11, as well as Harry Potter and Tom Riddle, specifically in Chamber of Secrets.
Henry Creel, despite his apparent defeat, is far from done. What was once Henry Creel has now become something far more sinister and powerful. His human form is a thing of the past; Creel has morphed into a creature of pure evil, bent on destroying humanity. The only ones who stand in his way are Dr. Brenner and his team, 11, and her rag-tag group of friends. Remind you of Tom Riddle's evolution into Voldemort? And of Harry and Co.'s mission to stop him?
Oh, and Vecna and Voldemort both hate having noses and hair, for what it's worth.
I understand that certain storylines are somewhat inevitable. Everything's been done at one point or another (if you haven't read Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, I highly recommend it). It makes sense that the villain would have a connection to the hero, the villain had a twisted upbringing, the hero gets by with a little help from his/her friends, the wise old man character helped produce both the hero and villain, etc. But the main characters in Stranger Things 4, when compared to the main characters in the Harry Potter franchise, are bordering on a rip-off to me.
Once again, I'm still liking the season so far. The horror elements, storyline, and performances are all hitting the target in my opinion.
But I've seen a lot of it before. And done a little better. The Duffer Brothers seemed to pull a page or two out of J.K. Rowling's book when drawing up these storylines, literally and figuratively.