Stranger Things creators the Duffer brothers are in trouble again, but this time someone's actually taking them to court. Matt and Ross Duffer are officially being sued for allegedly stealing the concept of Stranger Things.
Charlie Kessler claims he pitched the concept for a sci-fi story set near an abandoned military base to the Duffers back at a Tribeca Film Festival party in 2014. Kessler made a short film of the concept (and wrote a feature script titled The Montauk Project), which told the story of a paranormal phenomenon occurring in proximity to a government facility. Both story concepts hold ties to a novel called The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time, which implements storylines with secret government experiments to create humans with supernatural abilities.
Kessler's lawsuit claims that after his pitch, which was "consistent with well-established customs and practices of the entertainment industry," Matt and Ross Duffer "misappropriated, used, and exploited" his concept without his "permission and/or without compensation in the form of payments, credit and other consideration."
While his original story concept definitely sounds similar to the Netflix hit series, it's also worth noting that the original working title of Stranger Things was actually Montauk.
As restitution, Kessler is not only demanding his slice of the pie in lost profits and punitive damage, he's also seeking an injunction to stop the Duffers from using his concepts and demanding they "destroy all materials" based on his concept.
The Duffer brothers' lawyer Alex Kohner has responded to the lawsuit, firmly denying that Matt and Ross had any connection to Kessler or Montauk.
"Mr. Kessler's claim is completely meritless. 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," he said in a statement to TV Guide.
If you haven't yet binged Stranger Things, you might want to check it out while you still can?
Netflix did not immediately respond to TV Guide's request for comment.