A new lawsuit is claiming copyright infringement against Stranger Things. Netflix, as well as creators Ross and Matt Duffer, aka the Duffer Brothers, are being sued by Irish Rover Entertainment. The company claims that the idea for the hit sci-fi series was stolen from a screenplay for an unproduced movie titled Totem.
The script in question was written by Jeffrey Kennedy. Per the lawsuit, which was filed in California, plot, sequence, characters, theme, dialogue, mood, setting and even concept art was copied from Totem. The lawsuit alleges that Aaron Sims worked closely with Kennedy during the script's development, only to later be hired for Stranger Things as a concept artist. Kennedy says he came up with the idea for his story following the death of his friend, Clint Osthimer, who was epileptic. A section of the claim reads as follows.
"During their childhood together in rural Indiana. Osthimer and Kennedy dealt with the constant threat of Osthimer's 'personal demon,' epilepsy, which created 'lightning showers' in his brain. These lightning showers or seizures would send him to an alternate supernatural plane where the demon resided."
In the filing, attempts are made to connect the two projects. A girl named Kimimela, who has "supernatural powers," leads Totem, which centers on a group of friends battling a dark spirit in another dimension. It is argued that Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven and her friends in Stranger Things, who battle the Demogorgon in the Upside Down, is similar.
It was not revealed how much Irish Rover Entertainment is seeking in damages. Stranger Things has become one of Netflix's biggest original hits in the four years since it originally debuted. This also isn't the first time that the show has faced a lawsuit. A man named Charles Kessler filed a similar complaint in 2018, only to drop the suit ahead of the scheduled trial. A representative for Netflix had this to say.
"Mr. Kennedy has been peddling these far-fetched conspiracy theories for years, even though Netflix has repeatedly explained to him that The Duffer Brothers had never heard of him or his unpublished script until he began threatening to sue them. After we refused to give in to his demands for a payoff, he filed this baseless lawsuit. There is no shortage of people who would like to claim credit for creating 'Stranger Things.' But the truth is the show was independently conceived by The Duffer Brothers, and is the result of their creativity and hard work."
Meanwhile, the streaming service is hoping to get production back up and running on Stranger Things season 4. The show had started filming on the new batch of episodes ahead of the ongoing shutdown. It has not yet been revealed when filming will pick back up, which has also made it difficult to predict when the series will return. At this point, season 4 is unlikely to premiere until late 2021. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details are made available. This news was previously reported by The Wrap.