Why Stranger Things' Creators Just Got Hit With A Lawsuit

stranger things season 2 poster kids on bikes
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Netflix)

Stranger Things is one of the most talked-about shows in Netflix's library of originals, and fans are already anticipating what's to come in the third season courtesy of the Duffer brothers, who created and executive produce the series. Now, however, something has happened to complicate things for Matt and Ross Duffer as production on the third season gets into gear. They're being sued by a director who claims that the Duffers stole his ideas to create Stranger Things. Here's what's happening.

Charlie Kessler filed the lawsuit against the Duffer brothers based on the fact that he directed a 2012 short film by the name of Montauk that told the story of a young boy who went missing, featuring an adjacent military base known for conducting experiments on kids and a creature from another dimension. Fans of Stranger Things will recognize those basic plot points as sounding quite similar to elements of the first season of the Netflix show.

Stranger Things was originally titled Montauk and set out of Long Island. Both Charlie Kessler's and the Duffer brothers' projects bear striking similarities to the "Project Montauk" described in the 1992 book The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time, based on supposed experiments out of a place called Camp Hero in Montauk, Long Island. That said, Kessler claims in a lawsuit against the Duffer brothers stole from his story specifically due to past encounters with each other.

According to Charlie Kessler, he pitched the concept of Montauk to Matt and Ross Duffer when they met at a party at the Tribeca Film Festival way back in April 2014. 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. Given the smash success of the series, there's no denying that the rewards reaped were great and will likely only get greater. After all, Stranger Things isn't ending any time soon.

The lawsuit states that Charlie Kessler is looking for monetary damages due to breach of implied contract, according to Deadline. The goal is for a trial by jury, which could theoretically be ugly for the Duffer brothers as the third season of Stranger Things gets further into production. Matt and Ross Duffer are the only two named as defendants in Charlie Kessler's lawsuit, meaning that Netflix has been left out of the legal affair.

Only time will tell whether or not Charlie Kessler's lawsuit against the Duffer brothers is successful. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV and Stranger Things news. If you're now in the mood for some Stranger Things, the first two seasons are currently available on Netflix. For more streaming options, check out our 2018 Netflix premiere schedule. If streaming isn't always your style, we have a handy rundown of midseason TV premiere dates and summer TV premiere dates.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).