Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer and Netflix are being sued for allegedly stealing the idea for the show from an unpublished screenplay.
According to the lawsuit, production company Irish Rover Entertainment claims that Stranger Things copied its concept from its TV series project, titled Totem.
The screenplay for Totem is written by Jeffrey Kennedy, who is responsible for the series’ “plot, sequence, characters, theme, dialogue, mood, and setting, as well as copyrighted concept art”.
The lawsuit states that both shows are linked by Aaron Sims, who helped Kennedy develop Totem, then later went on to provide the concept art for Stranger Things.
Kennedy says that the idea for Totem was inspired by the death of Clint Osthimer, one of his childhood friends who suffered from epilepsy.
The lawsuit reads: “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.”
The claim goes on to draw numerous comparisons between the two shows, noting that they have the same basic premise.
In Totem, one of the characters is a young girl named Kimimela (Kimi for short) who possesses supernatural powers. With the help of her friends, Kimimela finds a portal gate to an alternate, supernatural dimension where they battle a dark spirit named Azrael and his army of Blackwolf.
The lawsuit states that Stranger Things’ premise is an exact copy of this, with the girl instead named Eleven (El for short) and the dark spirit replaced with a shadow monster and his army of Demogorgon.
In response to the lawsuit, a Netflix representative told The Wrap: “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for years, even though Netflix has repeatedly explained to him that The Duffer Brothers had never heard of him or his unpublished script until he began threatening to sue them.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.”