The creators of Stranger Things are alleged to have ripped off their show’s concept from a short film by Charlie Kessler, who has since filed a lawsuit against them.
But new documents from brothers Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer could serve as proof that they did not plagiarize or steal Kessler’s idea. The documents date back to November 2010 and were recently obtained by TMZ.
“These documents prove that Mr. Kessler had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of ‘Stranger Things.’ The Duffer Brothers were developing their project years before he claims to have met them,” the lawyer for the two said to TMZ.
According to a pair of emails dated November 2010, the two discussed their ideas for a series they described as “real,” “paranormal,” and “gritty eighties”. Another email specifically states the series was to be set in the town of Montauk, as a reference to the Montauk experiments.
Kessler’s short film Montauk is what he alleges the brothers stole from him — the movie was released originally in 2012. His lawsuit alleges he had a meeting with the Duffers in 2014 where he pitched a series based on his short.
More documents obtained by the outlet show a 2013 pitch outline by the Duffers, which states the following:
Benny (renamed Will for the show) leaves his friend Elliot’s house, a bunch of kids are there, eating pizza, dungeons and dragons … Benny leaves on bike, hears voices, goes into strange world, taken by some evil force.
Emails from February and April 2014, dated prior to the meeting alleged by Kessler, also mention a “set in 1980s Long Island” and “a vintage Stephen King feel,” with one stating a location scout was already looking at Montauk.
The lawsuit from Kessler states he is seeking “destruction of all materials that were allegedly ripped off from his concept.”
“Mr. Kessler’s claim is completely meritless,” attorney Alex Kohner said to Deadline. “He had no connection to the creation or development of Stranger Things. The Duffer Brothers have neither seen Mr. Kessler’s short film nor discussed any project with him. This is just an attempt to profit from other people’s creativity and hard work.”
This is the latest development in the ongoing legal saga.
Stranger Things 2 is now available to stream on Netflix. The third season is rumored to premiere in 2019.