The Duffer Brothers have been accused of stealing or borrowing ideas for Stranger Things since the show first debuted. Mostly from the works of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King along with a ton of iconic properties from the 1980s. However, now the creators are being sued for stealing the entire premise of the hit show from a short film that came out in 2011. The brothers have denied the claims since the lawsuit became public knowledge, and now, they have provided evidence that allegedly clears their names.
Charlie Kessler alleges that the Duffer Brothers stole the idea for Stranger Things from his 2011 short film entitled Montauk. Keesler's story was about a young boy who goes missing, much like Stranger Things and also features a monster from another dimension as well as a military base known for conducting experiments on children. Kessler also claims that he was in contact with the Duffer Brothers around this time after he pitched them the idea at a party.
Now, the Duffer Brothers have provided emails that date back to 2010 that clear their names of the plagiarism claims of Charlie Kessler. One of the emails from 2010 talks about the Montauk experiments as well as the desire to create a "real, paranormal, gritty 80s TV show." Another email from 2014, before the supposed meeting with Keesler, goes on to lay out some of the first season of Stranger Things. The email reads.
"Benny (later renamed Will) 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."
Along with the emails, the Duffer Brothers' lawyer also presented a statement clearing up any confusion about who came up with the ideas for Stranger Things. He claims that the Duffer Brothers were working on Stranger Things for years and that the ideas have nothing to do with Charlie Kessel's similar idea. The Duffer Brothers maintain that they have never even met Kessel before. Their lawyer had this to say.
"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."
A previous statement by the Duffer Brothers also denied the allegations and chalked it up to somebody trying to make a quick buck off of something that became successful. Stranger Things isn't the most original story, it's more of a homage to the 1980s than anything, which leaves it open to lawsuits like Charlie Kessel's. There's bound to be thousands of similar stories in Hollywood floating around with the Duffer Brothers winning the entertainment industry lottery by getting their idea picked up in the first place. You can check out the emails and the statement from the Duffer Brothers' lawyer regarding the plagiarism allegations over at TMZ.