Many Stranger Things fans – perhaps the most insatiable of all TV bingers – have already consumed volume two of season four. With nothing to do but speculate about season five, several fan theories have arisen, the most popular of which suggests a connection between Vecna and Karen Wheeler (Cara Buono)
The theory was picked up by Games Radar, who linked back to a TikTok video which outlines the possibility of familial ties between Karen Wheeler and Jamie Campbell Bower’s big bad. The theory has subsequently gone viral, spreading across Twitter and Reddit in a flash.
If you’re wondering what the theory suggests, and if it could be true, pay attention. Basically, the theory proposes that Karen Wheeler (that’s Mike, Holly and Nancy’s mom) might be Vecna’s sister, Alice Creel. Vecna, of course, goes under many names, such as Peter Ballard, 001 and Henry Creel. We previously say Henry and Alice playing together as children in a short flashback scene during which it is implied that he killed his sister along with their mother.
But what if Alice survived? Many are starting to think that she may never have died, largely thanks to the character posters for season four, which include Karen Wheeler – a curious thing considering Cara Buono’s role has been relatively minor in all previous seasons. She’s not even a series regular, and yet she’s been given her own character poster; why?
Karen’s poster also depicts the Creel residence. It makes sense for Nancy, Steve, Dustin, Erica, and Robin to be pictured in front of the house because they’re the ones who spend the most time there. Karen’s connection to the Creel house, on the other hand, is far less clear.
But it’s more than a poster fuelling this theory. Some fans have said that Karen’s reaction to the Upside Down ash, or “snow”, in Hawkins, implied that she was aware of more than she was letting on, that she felt the change coming before it happened. That’s not to mention that Karen has had a far bigger role this season compared to other minor characters. All of this suggests that Karen’s role in the world of Stranger Things might be about to expand. Sure, she might not be Alice Creel, but she’s definitely hiding something.