Duffer brothers accused of stealing Stranger Things idea

Carla Harmon
April 4, 2018

News brief: The creators of the streaming television series "Stranger Things" are being sued by the director of a six-minute film who says Matt and Ross Duffer ripped him off in making their Netflix hit. The talk reportedly went well enough that Kessler delivered "the script, ideas, story and film" to the Duffers, which the lawsuit claims resulted in the Duffers getting the credit and reaping the rewards for Stranger Things when Kessler came up with the premise. "Defendants have made huge sums of money by producing the series based on Plaintiff's Concepts", writes Kessler's attorney Michael Kernan.

It's important to note that both Montauk and Stranger Things follow the release of a book titled The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time, which released in 1992 and tells of secret government experiments conducted at a location in Montauk, Long Island.


Kessler claims the Duffer Brothers stole major plot elements - including the story's setting near a mysterious government installation, as well as its reliance on supernatural forces leading to an alternate reality - from Kessler's 2011 short film Montauk.

Netflix and the Duffer brothers are yet to comment on the lawsuit.


If you haven't yet binged Stranger Things, you might want to check it out while you still can?

While it's possible that the Duffers were inspired by Kessler's idea, it's also possible that he or someone else piqued their interest in the Montauk conspiracy and that it became one of the many cultural references amalgamated in Stranger Things.


The plan was to make it into a series called "The Montauk Project". The filmmaker is now seeking an injunction ordering the Duffer brothers to stop using his concepts and to destroy all materials based on those concepts, as well as restitution, lost profits and punitive damages.

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