Continuation of the Netflix series stranger things‘ Season 4 epic finale, Collider’s Samantha Coley sat down to interview the show’s VFX supervisor, Julien Hery on all things visual effects. In the fourth season, the Duffer Brothers take their fans even deeper into the vast Upside Down, with ambitious shots of the villainous terrain never seen before. According to Hery, some of those plans in question took almost two years to complete.
As stranger things progressed, and so did worldbuilding. From the neighborhoods of Hawkins, Indiana, first shown to fans in 2016, to the shadowy Upside Down, each season’s visual effects have grown more ambitious and pose threats on a much larger scale. Due to the massive scale of Mind-Flayer’s reach, the time between seasons has increased from just over a year between Season 1 and 2 to over a year and a half between Season 2 and Season 2. 3. After the third season premiere, stranger things Volume 1 Season 4 didn’t return – in part due to the pandemic – until just over two and a half years later. The large time gap between the two gave Hery and his VFX team plenty of time to speed up these nightmarish effects.
According to Hery, Season 4 required a lot of Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower), as well as several shots of House Creel, given that Vecna turned out to be the main villain of the entire series. The Creel House became the climax of the season when fans discovered it was directly tied to the origins of the fearsome Vecna and its sinister past. Much of the season takes place inside and outside the mansion, both in present-day Hawkins and the Upside Down, and with so much time allocated to the team, Hery says they used the extra minutes (nearly two and a half years worth) to bring a particular shot to the screen:
“Actually, there’s a fun fact, we started before the pandemic on this show, we started working on it over two years ago. We actually started developing some looks, started working on the active before the pandemic. And when it stopped, we continued to work on one or two planes. One is a flyover of Hawkins – to follow the bats over Hawkins, then you land on the Creel House And that shot took us almost a year and a half or two years to make it happened, changing the animation, and there was a lot of time, so we took so long to develop this plan. So that was pretty cool.
In the finished product, fans saw Demobat’s bird’s-eye view of the dark and gloomy Upside Down, now transformed into a near-perfect replica of Hawkins. When fans see the town, lake, and forests around Hawkins unraveling in the alternate dimension of Vecna, they see two years of hard work by an outstanding team of visual effects experts, led by Hery. Hery is known for other notable credits, including his Emmy-nominated work for Disney+’s MCU miniseries. Wanda Vision and HBO game of thrones renamed episode “Battle of the Bastards”, as well as Loki, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Eric Kripkeit is The boys.
To see Hery’s work, the four seasons of stranger things are available to stream on Netflix. You can also check out the nearly two-year-old shots of the scene in the official Season 4 trailer below, from the two-minute mark: