Just days before, the Duffer Brothers and Netflix were to go to court to defend against allegations that they stole the concept for their huge hit ‘Stranger Things’ from an independent filmmaker, Charles Kessler, who crafted a somewhat similar short film called ‘Montauk’, the suit has been dropped. The trial would have begun on May 7 and was expected to last for five days.
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Kessler has released a statement:
“After hearing the deposition testimony this week of the legal expert I hired, it is now apparent to me that, whatever I may have believed in the past, my work had nothing to do with the creation of Stranger Things. Documents from 2010 and 2013 prove that the Duffers independently created their show. As a result, I have withdrawn my claim and I will be making no further comment on this matter.”
Netflix issued its own statement in response:
“We are glad to be able to put this baseless lawsuit behind us. As we have said all along, Stranger Things is a ground-breaking original creation by The Duffer Brothers. We are proud of this show and of our friends Matt and Ross, whose artistic vision gave life to Stranger Things, and whose passion, imagination and relentless hard work alongside our talented cast and crew made it a wildly successful, award-winning series beloved by viewers around the world.”
The lawyers for both sides had met beforehand to discuss the extent of what jurors would and wouldn’t be informed about. During this process, an expert brought in by Kessler’s lawyers is said to have seen documents that undermined Kessler’s case. His lawyer also began to back down on certain arguments.
Kessler still planned to go to trial as of April 30, but filed a motion to limit its scope:
“The series was based on the pilot, but the series was written by an army of writers in one of Netflix’s writing rooms,” the motion attests.
“As such, the series is no longer even Defendants’ sole creation, but rather a collaborative work product of writers. Therefore, offering the series into evidence is wholly irrelevant as to whether Defendants’ stole Mr. Kessler’s ideas from his pitch, and subsequently used them in their pilot.”
Now that the trial has been avoided, things should proceed normally for ‘Stranger Things 3’, which will arrive on Netflix on July 4.