The creators of Stranger Things are being sued for allegedly taking the show's concept from a short film. The Netflix original is one of the most popular shows around at the moment, with its web of mysteries and memorable characters. What's more, the show has proved to be more than just a one-off, with the success of the second season making it one of the best TV shows of 2017 for many.
Part of the reason for the appeal of Stranger Things is the way in which it incorporates elements of other franchises, whether in the form of quick references or overriding themes within the plot itself. Throwing together everything from The Goonies to Alien, there are plenty of scenes inspired by classic movies in particular. Some who are the subject of these references also don't mind at all, as seen by Stephen King's praise for Stranger Things.
However, according to a new lawsuit against the creators of Stranger Things, there is more than just homage at play in the show's setup. As stated in The Hollywood Reporter, Matt and Ross Duffer are now being sued by Charlie Kessler, who alleges that the pair stole the concept for Stranger Things from him. Kessler created a short film called Montauk, which released in 2011 and focused on the mysteries surrounding Montauk itself, and also wrote a feature script called The Montauk Project.
Kessler alleges that he pitched the ideas to the Duffer brothers during a party at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, and the suit suggests that this pitch formed a contract in line with industry standards. "Defendants have made huge sums of money by producing the series based on Plaintiff's Concepts," stated Kressler's attorney Michael Kernan. The lawsuit itself requests an injunction, stopping Matt and Ross Duffer from using Kressler's ideas, as well as restitution, damages, lost profits, and a request to destroy any materials relating to Kressler's concepts.
Interestingly, the roots of Stranger Things do lie in Montauk itself. The show was originally going to be titled Montauk, and was also going to be set in the Long Island town, with a focus on the long-running conspiracy theories surrounding the location. Conspiracies of government experiments in Montauk, including those of telekinesis and time travel, have been circulating since the 1980s, and it all ties into plenty of Stranger Things fan theories that have been circulating.
That's also where the issues may lie for this particular suit against the Duffer brothers. Although there's undoubtedly an already-established influence of the Montauk experiments on the creation of Stranger Things, it remains to be seen whether that influence stemmed from Kressler's own work or from the conspiracies themselves. That, then, could lead to either success or failure for Kressler's case.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter