According to the lawsuit, Irish Rover Entertainment, the production company, claims that Stranger Things copied their concept from their TV series project, titled Totem.
Totem’s screenplay is written by Jeffrey Kennedy, who is responsible for “plot, sequence, characters, theme, dialogue, mood, and setting, as well as copyrighted concept art”.
The complaint claims that both shows are related by Aaron Sims, who helped Kennedy create Totem, and later continued to do Stranger Things with the concept of art.
Kennedy says the idea for Totem was influenced by the death of one of his childhood friends, Clint Osthimer, who had suffered from epilepsy.
“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 lawsuit reads.
The argument goes on to draw several similarities between the two series, noting that the core premise is the same.
One of the characters in Totem is a young girl named Kimimela (for short, Kimi) who has supernatural powers. Kimimela finds, with the help of her friends, a portal gate to an alternative, supernatural dimension where they battle a dark spirit called Azrael and his Blackwolf army.
The suit claims that the premise of Stranger Things is an exact copy of this, with the girl named Eleven instead (El for short), and the dark spirit replaced by a shadow monster and his Demogorgon army.
In response to the lawsuit, a representative from Netflix told The Wrap: “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for years, even though Netflix has repeatedly explained to him that The Duffer Brothers had never heard of him or his unpublished script until he began threatening to sue them.”
The statement continued, “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.”