Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 May 2019

'Stranger Things' lawsuit dropped ahead of trial

A filmmaker had claimed that the Duffer brothers stole his idea for the show

A preview of 'Stranger Things' season three, which is out on July 4, 2019. Netflix / Stranger Things 
A preview of 'Stranger Things' season three, which is out on July 4, 2019. Netflix / Stranger Things 

Filmmaker Charlie Kessler has dropped his claim that Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer stole his idea for the popular Netflix show.

One day before the trial was due to begin, Kessler released a statement that acknowledging "the Duffers independently created their show".

Previously, Kessler claimed he pitched the idea to them at a 2014 Tribeca Film Festival party.

He had alleged the brothers have taken the idea from Montauk, his short film "set in the New York town in which he says is home to various urban legends, and paranormal and conspiracy theories," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"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," Kessler's statement, released on May 5, reads. "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 As a result, I have withdrawn my claim and I will be making no further comment on this matter."

The Duffer brothers continuously denied the claims, but interestingly, Montauk was the original Netflix working title of Stranger Things.

"Charlie Kessler asserts that he met the Duffers, then two young filmmakers whom Kessler never had heard of, and chatted with them for ten to fifteen minutes," the Duffer brothers' attorney had previously said.

"That casual conversation – during which the Duffers supposedly said that they all 'should work together' and asked 'what [Kessler] was working on' – is the sole basis for the alleged implied contract at issue in this lawsuit and for Kessler's meritless theory that the Duffers used his ideas to create Stranger Things."

Despite strong denials, it seems that the Duffers and Netflix were more concerned about spoilers leaking than the outcome of any trial.

In April, The Hollywood Reporter revealed: "The Duffers have already brought a motion to seal portions of the trial because of the prospect of highly confidential information.

"An attorney for the Duffers told the judge that 'public disclosure threatens substantial harm not only to their legitimate privacy interests, but also as to their ongoing commercial efforts, including by revealing confidential information that may be included in future episodes of Stranger Things and weakening the Duffers’ (and Netflix’s) position in future commercial negotiations,'" the industry publication reported.

Updated: May 6, 2019 12:33 PM

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