The Duffer Brothers stand accused of ripping off the hit show STRANGER THINGS in a lawsuit filed by a filmmaker and former Marvel crew member. Yet, somehow, that statement is only the third strangest thing about the situation. Charlie Kessler claims he pitched the brothers at Tribeca party in 2014 on his shortfilm, Montauk, and script for a feature film adaptation subject to an “implied contract.” The subject, apparently, was the so-called Montauk Project–a conspiracy theory about a military base in New York that kidnapped kids and conducted psychological warfare experiments under the authority of the Department of Energy. Sound familiar?

There are endless rabbit holes you can follow for more info on the conspiracy theory surrounding Montauk, including a 2014 documentary called Montauk Chronicles, affiliated neither with Kessler nor the Duffers. But the similarities are no accident. Netflix originally announced the show’s acquisition under the name “Montauk.” The Duffers later re-named the show and changed the location to the fictional town of Hawkins.

a conspiracy theory about … psychological warfare experiments under the authority of the Department of Energy. Sound familiar?

Kessler’s film credits include production crew work on various Marvel Netflix shows, including Daredevil and Jessica Jones. His lawsuit initially asked, effectively, for STRANGER THINGS to be canceled and removed from Netflix. However, his lawyers amended their filings to pull that request following a report of death threats from childish morons overly enthusiastic fans of the show. According to a legal analysis, Kessler’s victory “may very well come down to when, precisely, he knew or should have known about the [Duffers’] alleged breach.”  As mentioned, Kessler worked on a variety of Netflix shows, including between 2015 and 2017, and only brought his lawsuit in April of this year. Of course, assuming he overcomes that hurdle, he must still prove existence of the “implied contract.”

TMZ claims to have e-mails between the Duffers from as early as 2010 laying out the groundwork for what ultimately became STRANGER THINGS. Thus far, the Duffers have not acknowledged meeting Kessler. A hearing in the case is set for August 8 in Los Angeles.