It might be easy to dismiss this without "The Montauk Project" connections...
They say you haven't really made it until you get sued, so congrats to the Duffer Brothers for making it with "Stranger Things."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Charlie Kessler is suing the "Stranger Things" creators for breach of implied contract. He claims he pitched them a similar concept during a 2014 Tribeca Film Festival party.
It's not like "a sci-fi story set near an abandoned military base" is that unique a concept. However, Kessler claims "Stranger Things" is based on his short film "Montauk" and a feature film script called "The Montauk Project." Both are set in the Long Island town of that name, which Kessler said is home to "various urban legends, and paranormal and conspiracy theories."
Interestingly enough, "Stranger Things" was originally going to be called and set in Montauk, with a focus on the area's conspiracy theories.
As the lawsuit reads:
"Stranger Things was initially sold as a show entitled The Montauk Project (the name of Plaintiff's film) and initially the show was repeatedly referred to as The Montauk Project, before its name was changed to Stranger Things."
ScreenRant added this historical note:
"Conspiracies of government experiments in Montauk, including those of telekinesis and time travel, have been circulating since the 1980s, and it all ties into plenty of Stranger Things fan theories that have been circulating."
But did the Duffer Brothers use Kessler's concepts or just build off the idea of using the existing Montauk conspiracies as a story? It's not like the Duffers got their entire Hawkins, Indiana show from a party pitch, and there are so many other sci-fi tropes and references in the series. So -- apart from using his exact movie title in the original pitch -- Kessler may have some work to do to sell this case. (THR has the full court documents up, if you want to read them.)
Kessler is asking for an injunction ordering the Duffers to stop using his concepts and to destroy all materials based on those concepts, as well as restitution, lost profits and punitive damages. Guessing a settlement may be coming, but nothing to stop "Stranger Things" Season 3, which is now in production.
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