'Stranger Things' Lawsuit Dropped Right Before Trial

The Duffer Brothers can breathe a sigh of relief, because a lawsuit against them has gone kaput. The Stranger Things creators were on the cusp of heading to trial after writer Charlie Kessler accused them of stealing the idea for their hit Netflix series from a script he wrote. Now, only days away from trial, Kessler has withdrawn the lawsuit, claiming he was mistaken. More on the Stranger Things lawsuit below.Stranger Things is a show that wears its inspirations on its sleeve. But those inspirations appeared to be far too pronounced for writer Charlie Kessler. Kessler originally claimed that back in 2014, he pitched the Duffer Brothers his script The Montauk Project. Kessler maintained that the Duffers then mined his script – which involved a small town home to various urban legends – for Stranger Things without giving him credit.

The Duffers protested this accusation. "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 attorney for the Duffers previously said 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 this defense, the case was set to head to trial. But that's no longer happening. According to Geek Tyrant, the Duffer Brothers were able to produce emails and Google documents proving they began working on Stranger Things as far back as 2010 – four years before they met Kessler. In the light of this, Kessler withdrew his claim and issued the following 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 As a result, I have withdrawn my claim and I will be making no further comment on this matter."

I can sympathize with Kessler. I'm guessing he drew inspiration for his script from the same places as the Duffers – '80s Amblin movies and early Stephen King novels. This, coupled with the fact that he once met the Duffers and discussed something with him, probably seemed like too much of a coincidence. But it's clear now that he was mistaken.

Strange Things returns to Netflix on July 4.