The hit series follows a group of kids growing up in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana, where strange and terrifying monsters begin appearing from another dimension known as “the upside-down.”
Production company Irish Rover Entertainment filed a lawsuit in California federal court this week, alleging the series copies plot details, characters and more from an earlier screenplay by Jeffrey Kennedy.
The script in question is titled Totem and was inspired by one of Kennedy’s childhood friends in rural Indiana who suffered from epilepsy, creating “lightning showers” in his brain that would send him to an otherworldly plane.
The lawsuit highlights similarities Totem has with Stranger Things, such as the inclusion of a young girl named Kimimela, or ‘Kimi’, with supernatural powers, who helps her friends find a portal to another world and fight off the creatures within.
The lawsuit goes on to compare this storyline with that of Eleven, or El, in Stranger Things, while also noting the projects are linked by a man named Aaron Sims, who worked on both.
Irish Rover Entertainment is suing creators The Duffer Brothers and Netflix itself for copyright infringement, seeking unspecified damages.
A Netflix representative 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for years, even though Netflix has repeatedly explained to him that The Duffer Brothers had never heard of him or his unpublished script until he began threatening to sue them.
“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.”
Stranger Things has been renewed for a fourth season on Netflix, but production has been held up by the coronavirus pandemic.