For the second time, the Duffer Brothers (Matt and Ross) and Netflix are being sued by someone claiming they stole the idea for ‘Stranger Things’. This time, the suit comes from Irish Rover Entertainment, who allege that ‘Stranger Things’ was swiped from the script for their show called ‘Totem’, written by Jeffrey Kennedy. The suit accuses the Duffer Brothers of stealing “plot, sequence, characters, theme, dialogue, mood, and setting, as well as copyrighted concept art.” (‘Totem’ never got made, by the way.)
Last year, Netflix and the Duffer Brothers had to go to court to defend their project against Charlie Kessler who accused them of stealing the idea from his 2012 award-winning short ‘Montauk’, which he had hoped to turn into a feature-length film– a plan he reportedly pitched to the Duffers in 2014, at the Tribeca Film Festival.
This time, allegedly, a man named Aaron Sims worked closely with Kennedy to develop ‘Totem’, and was then hired to create concept art for ‘Stranger Things’ Seasons 1 and 2.
According to The Wrap, the inspiration for ‘Totem’ was the death of Kennedy’s childhood friend, Clint Osthimer, who suffered from epilepsy. Per the lawsuit:
“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 suit also included these descriptions of both projects:
In “Totem,” one of the characters is a little girl named Kimimela or “Kimi” for short who has supernatural powers. Kimimela helps her friends find the portal gate to an alternate supernatural plane and helps them battle the plane’s inhabitants; a dark spirit named Azrael and his army of Blackwolf.
In “Stranger Things,” one of the characters is a little girl name Eleven or “El” for short who has supernatural powers. Eleven helps her friends find the portal gate to an alternate supernatural plane and helps them battle the plane’s inhabitants; a Shadow Monster and his army of Demogorgon.
Well… I mean, when you put it that way…
The Duffers and Netflix won the last suit.
A representative for Netflix has already responded:
“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for years, even though Netflix has repeatedly explained to him that The Duffer Brothers had never heard of him or his unpublished script until he began threatening to sue them.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.”
Stay tuned for updates!