Stranger Things: Who Actually Kidnapped Will Byers in Season One? (2023)

By Olly Dyche

With most of season four of Stranger Things releasing, we take a look at who or what could have kidnapped Will in season one of the Netflix series.

Stranger Things: Who Actually Kidnapped Will Byers in Season One? (1)

Warning: This Article Contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Stranger Things Season 4 Vol.1.The latest season of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, created more questions than it answered. With the final two episodes dropping on the streaming service on July 1st, many fans couldn't wait and needed their Stranger Things fix, with many binge-watching the show from the very beginning. Since then, many fans have noticed that Vecna, the latest villain of the show, may have been around this whole time, specifically in one of the most pivotal moments in the show. Fans are pointing to the new big bad for the abduction of Will Byers, with a lot of compelling evidence supporting it. A video that recently went viral on Tik Tok, shows a fan watching episode one, "The Vanishing of Will Byers", and suggesting a bunch of compelling evidence that Vecna was responsible. This has since sparked many counter-arguments suggesting that it was undoubtedly a Demogorgon who took Will to the Upside Down.


(Video) Will Byers gets caught by the Demogorgon|Stranger Things (2016)|Season 1


What Happened in the Season One Premiere?

If you haven't seen the episode in a while, lets quickly re-jog your memory of the scene. In the very first episode of the show, we see Will Byers riding home on his bike after a game of D&D with his friends. After being spooked by a mysterious figure and falling off his bike, Will bolts towards home. Reaching his home and running inside, locking the door behind him, Will attempts to call his mom, but the phone isn't working. The door begins to unexplainably open, causing Will to run out the back door of the house and into the shed, grabbing a rifle. After a brief moment of tension, something appears behind the boy and abducts him to the Upside Down.

Related: How Stranger Things Season 4 Compares to the Other Seasons, Using Classic '80s Movies

Who or What Could Have Taken Will Byers to The Upside Down?

Stranger Things: Who Actually Kidnapped Will Byers in Season One? (3)

After six years since the first episode of the show aired, you would think that the question of who kidnapped Will would have been answered by now, and we thought it was too. But, with the recent introduction of Vecna; the most powerful and terrifying villain yet, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that the super-powered bad guy is responsible for abducting Will. Audiences have always assumed it was a Demogorgon who kidnapped Will and trapped him in the Upside Down, with no evidence pointing away from the creature, until now. So let's take a more detailed look at both culprits and determine who we think is responsible for the Vanishing of Will Byers.

(Video) Stranger Things - The Vanishing of Will Byers - Netflix [HD]

The Demogorgon

Stranger Things: Who Actually Kidnapped Will Byers in Season One? (4)

The Demogorgon is a very animalistic creature, typically maneuvering around on all four legs, similar to a dog. This faceless creature will hunt and stalk its prey, before devouring it, which is why we find it hard to believe that the demogorgon kidnapped Will, instead of eating the boy on the spot.

We know that the Demogorgon has the energy and ability to create portals to the Upside Down; however, the monster doesn't possess any telepathic abilities, nor do they have the power to teleport on the spot without creating a portal. It is possible that the Demogorgon did create a teleport to take Will to the Upside Down, but this doesn't explain how the creature was able to move the bolt on the front door and teleport into the shed without creating a portal.

Arguing against this, fans of the show have pointed out that they could hear growling and snarling, very similar to the noises a Demogorgon would make. Adding support to this claim, the first time Will spots the figure, it resembles the shape of a Demogorgon. This goes alongside many stating that the show was originally meant to only have one season.

Related: Stranger Things and A Nightmare On Elm Street Collide In Fan Poster

(Video) Will Byers abducted by the Demogorgon | Stranger Things 1x01 | clip


Stranger Things: Who Actually Kidnapped Will Byers in Season One? (5)

The latest season of the show introduced fans to the terrifying Vecna, who torments victims that suffer from some sort of past trauma. What makes this super-powered bad guy so creepy, however, is that when his victims are about to enter his nightmarish trance, they are treated to the terrifying and creepy chimes of a grandfather clock. The Duffer brothers drew much inspiration from the likes of Freddy Krueger, Pennywise and even Game of Thrones villain The Night King to create the already iconic and terrifying; Vecna.

Re-watching the episode where Will Byers goes missing, there is a lot of evidence suggesting that it was Vecna who abducted Will and trapped him in the upside down. Many Stranger Things fans who re-watched the scene pointed out that they could hear the chimes of the grandfather clock. While this could only be the effect of sound mixing to create a more tense and scarier scene, it still could be possible that we could hear the chimes of the same grandfather clock.

In season four, it is revealed that Vecna is number one (001), who possesses the same abilities as Eleven (011); the only difference being that number one has had more training with his powers and is able to control them far better than El. If Vecna was the one who abducted Will, this would explain why the bolt on the front door was able to move on its own.

However, there are still a few questions, like how did Vecna really kidnap Will, because Vecna cannot take a physical form outside the Upside Down, and if Vecna wanted to create a portal, he would have to kill his victims, which is what we see in season four. Due to Will being the first victim, there isn't a way for Vecna to physically travel to the Upside Down, let alone abduct Will, and trap him in the parallel dimension without a portal. Unless Vecna has another terrifying ability that we are unaware of.

Stranger Things: Who Actually Kidnapped Will Byers in Season One? (6)
(Video) Eleven find Will Byers and talks to him | Stranger Things | CC

Many Stranger Things fans have noted that Stranger Things was originally only meant to be one season. The Duffer brothers' first pitch was to tell an anthology story, with Elevens story concluding in the first season. But, because Netflix execs loved Eleven's story so much, they decided to make it a full-blown series. Due to this, fans have pointed out that the Duffer brothers hadn't yet planned on having Vecna on the show, so it would have had to be the Demogorgon that abducted Will. While this is a compelling argument, there are however, a few factors Stranger Things fans may not take into account. For example, if Netflix execs went with the Duffer brothers' original pitch, the show may have had a very different premier, so different, in fact, that Will Byers may not have been abducted, and trapped in the Upside Down at all.

It is very possible that the anthology series followed the same story as the show so far, more specifically in season four, with Vecna's origin story. In the show, it is revealed that Vecna is number one, who is very important in Eleven's story. Number one possesses a very similar set of powers to Eleven, with both having telepathic powers. The Duffer brothers could have very well planned on having Vecna as the main big bad of the show, and the super-powered monster could have been behind all the goings-on in Hawkins.

There is a lot of evidence suggesting both frightening villains were behind the vanishing of Will Byers, but we have to give the win to Vecna. There is much more evidence suggesting that it was the super-powered bad guy, and even if Vecna sent a Demogorgon to kidnap Will, it would still be Vecna who is responsible. This is still just a theory, however, and even with all the evidence and clues, we don't have a distinct answer as yet. So, we will just have to wait and see what questions are answered in the last two episodes of season 4, both dropping on Netflix July 1st.

(Video) Stragner Things - Season 01 - "Will Found in critical condition in Upside Down"


Stranger Things: Who Actually Kidnapped Will Byers in Season One? ›

Will Is Abducted By A Demogorgon Riding Home From A D&D Game (Season 1) The life that Will Byers lived prior to his journey getting started in Stranger Things is only briefly explored in the opening minutes of the show's Season 1 debut.

Who kidnapped Will in season 1? ›

Vecna was the one who originally kidnapped Will in season 1.

Who took Will in Stranger Things Season 1? ›

The Demogorgon is a very animalistic creature, typically maneuvering around on all four legs, similar to a dog. This faceless creature will hunt and stalk its prey, before devouring it, which is why we find it hard to believe that the demogorgon kidnapped Will, instead of eating the boy on the spot.

How did Will Byers go missing in season 1? ›

On November 6, 1983 in Hawkins, Indiana, a scientist is attacked by an unseen creature at a U.S. government laboratory. 12-year-old Will Byers encounters the creature and mysteriously vanishes while cycling home from a Dungeons & Dragons session with his friends Mike Wheeler, Dustin Henderson and Lucas Sinclair.

What creature kidnapped Will Byers? ›

The friends and family of Will Byers, one of the Demogorgon's victims, slowly began to uncover the truth about the creature, with the help of the escaped Eleven. The creature was finally defeated in a showdown with Eleven at Hawkins Middle School.

What attacked Will in season 1 Stranger Things? ›

Through the Gate, the Demogorgon traveled into Hawkins. There, it abducted Will Byers and killed Barbara Holland. At Hawkins Middle School, the Demogorgon killed several Department of Energy officials and attacked the Director of Hawkins Lab, Dr. Martin Brenner.

How did Will get rescued in season 1? ›

Will's mom and police chief Jim Hopper managed to enter the Upside Down and found Will unconscious in the membrane with a creepy tentacle in his mouth. They cut him free and brought him back to the real world while Eleven fought the monster.

Why did Demogorgon take Will? ›

One of the theories could be that Will has some supernatural powers that caused the monster to be lured to him even though he wasn't injured. That could also be the reason he could communicate with his mother using the lights.

Are Will and Vecna connected? ›

Even though Will was rescued, it seemed the time he spent in the Upside Down forever linked him to his captor. This manifested itself in some terrifying ways in Season 2. Now we know that Will's connection has always been to Vecna (not the Mind Flayer).

Was that Vecna in season 1? ›

And watching earlier seasons back, TikToker Mark Byers discovered signs of Vecna since the show's first season. A major moment of note happens all the way back in Season 1, Episode 1, when Will is biking home just before he's trapped in the Upside Down.

Who is Will Byers boyfriend? ›

Noah Schnapp CONFIRMS his Stranger Things character Will Byers 'is gay and he does love Mike Wheeler' | PINKVILLA.

Was Barb killed by Vecna? ›

Using past traumas to break down his victims, Vecna brought Nancy to the pool where Barb was killed by the Demogorgon and revealed her mangled corpse. Vecna then taunted Nancy with her own feelings of guilt - that she was responsible for Barb's death and had forgotten about her.

Did Eleven create Vecna? ›

In a fit of rage, Henry used his restored powers to brutally murder the other test subjects and workers, and attempted to do the same to Eleven. However, Eleven stood her ground and ultimately overpowered him, sending him through a gate to the Upside Down; there, he gradually transformed into the being known as Vecna.

What took Will in season 1? ›

As season one clearly sets out: Will was specifically chosen and taken by the Demogorgon with the creature pursuing him into his shed to take him rather than just a random kidnapping.

Was Will kidnapped by a Demogorgon? ›

So, how did Will Byers get there? It seems that Will was abducted by a Demogorgon on his late-night bike ride back home from Mike's house. Inside the Upside Down, Will tried to evade the creature that kidnapped him by hiding in familiar places, like the Upside Down version of his fort, Castle Byers.

Who was controlling Will Byers? ›

In 1986, Will finally discovered the Mind Flayer to be Vecna's puppet and it was he who possessed him through the Mind Flayer.

Who killed Vecna? ›

At his empire's height, Vecna was betrayed and destroyed by his most trusted lieutenant, a vampire called Kas the Bloody-Handed, using a magical sword that Vecna himself had crafted for him, now known as the Sword of Kas.

Why did Vecna become a monster? ›

Then, as he was falling through the Upside Down, One became the creature Vecna after lightning struck him in such a way that it changed his skin and made him into the monster he is now.

Why is Will coughing up slugs? ›

What Was That Repulsive Slug Will Coughed Up? When Joyce and Hopper found Will in the Upside Down, he'd basically been intubated with a tentacle that kept him alive in a suspended state. Hopper had to yank that thing out of Will's throat and then provide some (questionably rough) CPR to get him breathing again.

Why wasn't Will killed in season 1? ›

In Stranger Things season 1, Will is attacked and captured by the Demogorgon. His vanishing kicks off the plot of the whole show and he survives for a long, lonely week in the mysterious Upside-Down after being snatched by the toothy-mawed monster.

What did Vecna eat in the upside down? ›

Vecna, who absorbs beings' consciousnesses and resultantly feeds off their power, knew he had stumbled upon exactly what he needed to exact his revenge on the world: I saw so many things, then one day I found the most extraordinary thing of all. Something that would change everything.

How long was Vecna in the upside down? ›

We still don't know why Vecna waited seven years after being banished to the Upside Down before starting his murderous rampage. At this point, I'm not sure we ever will. However, it's not like Vecna was twiddling his tentacle-y thumbs for seven years.

Why did the Demogorgon choose Will in season 1? ›

It uses Will because of the connection Will has to Eleven, who would be able to open further gateways to parallel universes so the Mind Flayer would be able to continue this cycle nearly indefinitely. As the Redditor continues, it becomes clear why Will could be the Demogorgon.

How long was Will in the upside down season 1? ›

Will Byers miraculously survived a week stuck in the Upside Down during Stranger Things season 1. Here's how based on the Dark Horse comics series. One of the biggest lingering mysteries surrounding Stranger Things is how Will Byers managed to survive while being stuck in the Upside Down.

Was Vecna planned from the start? ›

In an interview with IndieWire, the two showrunners were asked how long Vecna had been part of the show's master plan. Ross Duffer revealed that the character had been conceived during the show's early seasons.

Whose son is Vecna? ›

It's revealed that Vecna is actually Victor Creel's son, Henry. After realizing he has powers while feeling alone in his own home, Henry decides to attack his own family and kill them to test his power.

Who did Vecna turn into? ›

"I saw a means to realize my potential to transcend my human form, to become the predator I was always born to be," Vecna tells El. We then see One use his powers to mold the cloud into the spindly shape of the Mind Flayer. Vecna did say he had a fondness for spiders, particularly Black Widows.

Is Vecna Eleven's Father? ›

Next up, the viewers go on to theorise that One/Vecna is actually Eleven's dad. Yep, told you it was wild. The theory claims that Brenner wanted to create a child with stronger powers, so he waited until One was old enough to become a father.

How does Vecna choose his victims? ›

While intending to get his revenge on Eleven and Brenner, Vecna also goes after victims who have dealt with traumatizing experiences in the past (reminiscent of his childhood and his time at the Hawkins lab).

How did 1 turn into Vecna? ›

Henry spends years trapped in the Upside Down, which changes him into the monster that is now terrorizing Hawkins in the present: Vecna.

Who did Vecna killed first? ›

Vecna's first big credited kill was Chrissy Cunningham (Grace Van Dien). He followed that murder with canonically terrible driver Fred Benson (Logan Riley Bruner) and basketball star Patrick McKinney (Myles Truitt).

Who is Will Byers secret crush? ›

And in season 4, it became apparent to many that Will was struggling with a secret. Now actor Noah Schnapp, who plays Will, revealed to Variety that his character is indeed gay, and secretly has feelings for his best friend, Mike, who's in a relationship with Eleven.

Who is Byers ex husband? ›

Lonnie Byers is a supporting antagonist in the first season of Stranger Things. He is Joyce Byers' ex-husband, as well as the estranged and neglectful father of their two sons, Jonathan and Will. He was portrayed by Ross Partridge.

Who are the three kills of Vecna? ›

Vecna kills Chrissy, Fred, and Patric, three characters we were just beginning to know. The villain also almost takes our beloved Max, but she is saved by the power of music! Finally, episode 7, titled “Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab,” left audiences with a pretty big cliffhanger: Vecna enters Nancy's mind.

Why did Nancy get attacked by Vecna? ›

Nancy is Vecna's latest victim, targeted for her guilt over Barb's death. She falls under his spell just as she, Robin, Eddie, and Steve are escaping the Upside Down.

Who created the demogorgon? ›

Demogorgon is first mentioned in the commentary on Statius's Thebaid often attributed in manuscripts to a Lactantius Placidus, (c. 350–400 AD). The Lactantius Placidus commentary became the most common medieval commentary on the poem by Statius and is transmitted in most early editions up to 1600.

What does Vecna want? ›

What Does Vecna Want? Vecna's goal is to open as many gates to the Upside Down as he can, in order to help the Mind Flayer.

Did Eleven cry when she saw Vecna? ›

You know, the part where Eleven is crying and trying to get out of Vecna's tentacle clutches in the last episode of Season 4? Yeah, Bower says Brown was crying real tears during that scene. “She was terrified and freaked out.

Who are Vecna's victims? ›

His first three victims — Chrissy Cunningham, Patrick McKinney, and Fred Benson — are all peers of The Party, people they know from school, which makes Vecna's terror all the more real.

What does Vecna want with Will? ›

The theory predicts that Vecna wants to regain his human form, and he will use Will to do so in Season 5. Knowing that Vecna singled out Will in Season 1, it's a reasonable theory, but it might go too far. After all, Vecna already has a human form, and he has vowed to eliminate humanity.

Is Will In Love With Mike? ›

Now that Stranger Things season 4 has confirmed not only Will's queerness, but also his unrequited love for Mike, it's certainly interesting to look at their relationship in retrospect.

Who killed Barb? ›

Barb sits outside near the pool and the Demogorgon grabs her, and before she knows it, in episode 3 "Holly, Jolly," she's in the Upside Down. The Demogorgon then kills her brutally.

Is Will Byers a spy? ›

Susan: Will is the spy into the Shadow Monster's motives, but it appears like he's a double agent. As his hippocampus abnormalities grow, his own memories of people are being replaced by not only the “now memories” but he's a slave to the evil's bidding.

Why does the Demogorgon want 11? ›

The monster wants revenge after Eleven stopped its spread into our world. It was clearly displayed in season 2 that the Upside Down and its inhabitants harbor a grudge against Will for escaping in season 1.

Did Vecna kidnap Will? ›

- Vecna was the one who originally kidnapped Will in season 1.

Why does Vecna look like that? ›

Vecna's burned, corpse-like look draws heavy inspiration from the iconic “Nightmare on Elm Street” slasher Freddy Kruger, with the films in general serving as a lodestar for the season.

Is Will Byers dad abusive? ›

Lonnie is also homophobic, and in the past, harassed Will about his sexuality, calling him weak and a waste of a son, due to his sensitive nature. All in all, Lonnie was an emotionally abusive father, and is unloved by both his ex-wife and his sons.

What happened with Will in season 1? ›

In Stranger Things season 1, episode 1, Will Byers disappears and is presumed dead by the Hawkins police after finding a dupe body dumped by Hawkins Lab in the lake; his faux-death marking the major conflict for season 1.

What episode does Will get abducted? ›

200 (Criminal Minds)
Directed byLarry Teng
Written byRick Dunkle
Featured music"Blackbird"
Original air dateFebruary 5, 2014
10 more rows

Is Will found at the end of season 1? ›

When Eleven went looking for both the missing kids in the Upside Down she found Will alive and hiding, but came across Barb's decaying corpse with a slug-like creature crawling out of her mouth.

Why was Barb killed but not Will? ›

Barb's death implied that whatever the slug does didn't take, so the Mind Flayer reached out to Will instead. It could be that the Mind Flayer needed a younger host, or Barb may have simply died while the Demogorgon was attempting to infect her.

How long was Will Lost in season 1? ›

From the looks of it, Will is trapped in the Upside Down for just a week, even if it felt much longer. Additionally, season one sees a time jump after Will is rescued with the series closing a week or so before Christmas, which again seemed to suggest it was a matter of days he had been gone for.

In what episode was Will found? ›

In the Stranger Things Season 1 finale, Will Byers was rescued from the Upside Down by his mom, Joyce (Winona Ryder) and Hawkins Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) in one of the show's most emotional scenes (the flashbacks to Hopper's daughter dying is still just as heartbreaking six years later).

What does Will get kidnapped by? ›

Abduction by the Monster

Mike, acting as Dungeon Master, summoned a Demogorgon, which ultimately defeated Will's character.

What episode do they find out Will is not dead? ›

"The Upside Down" - Eleven provides proof of Will being alive.

Does Will have a crush on Mike? ›

Now that Stranger Things season 4 has confirmed not only Will's queerness, but also his unrequited love for Mike, it's certainly interesting to look at their relationship in retrospect.

Which episode is Will saved? ›

"When It's Cold I'd Like to Die" by Moby - Will is brought back to life in the Upside Down.

Who found 11 in season 1? ›

Amongst the chaos, Eleven escaped the lab through a drain pipe; she was soon found by Mike, Lucas, and Dustin.


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