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Stranger Things Wiki
Stranger Things Wiki

Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer (born February 15, 1984), known professionally as The Duffer Brothers, are American directors, editors, actors, producers and writers. They are twin brothers best known for their creation Stranger Things, a Netflix original series.


Early life[]

Matt and Ross Duffer grew up in Durham, North Carolina. They attended the Duke School for Children and then, later, Charles E. Jordan High School. They developed an obsession for film at an early age. In the third grade, the brothers received a Hi8 video camera from their parents. Each summer, they would use this camera to create their own feature length films.[2] Their first film was a feature length adaptation of the trading card game Magic: The Gathering. In high school, they developed an interest in genre, and started creating horror films.[3]

The Duffers moved to Orange, California, attending the Dodge College of Film and Arts located at Chapman University. While there, they wrote and directed a few short films, among them being a short called We All Fall Down. This film won Best Short at the 2005 Deep Ellum Film Festival in Dallas. In 2007, they were given the opportunity to meet with producer Mace Neufeld, who had produced the film The Hunt for Red October. Under his Guidance, they created their senior thesis project, a short film titled Eater. This film was one of five films selected that represented Chapman at the annual First Cut screening at the DGA.[4]

Early Career[]

After college, they wrote the script for the post-apocalyptic horror film Hidden. The script was eventually acquired by Warner Bros. in 2011, and the Duffers directed the film in 2012. The film was released in 2015.

After director M. Night Shyamalan read the screenplay for Hidden, the brothers were contacted by producer Donald De Line, asking them to be writers for Fox's science fiction television series Wayward Pines.[5] They wrote four episodes for the show.

At one point, the Duffers requested to direct the Warner Bros. film adaptation of Stephen King's It, but were denied as they weren't established.[6]

Stranger Things[]

While the Duffers had always been interested in film, they became excited about the prospect of television becoming more cinematic. This gave them the idea of taking something like True Detective or It and making it an eight-ten hour miniseries.[6]

The initial inspiration for the plot of Stranger Things came from Prisoners, a 2013 film starring Hugh Jackman where a man searches for his missing daughter. Wanting the show to have something more, the Duffers began discussing “more childlike sensibilities”, like having a monster devouring people. They also discussed bizarre experiments conducted by the government during the Cold War that they had read about, especially Project MKUltra. This led to the show taking place in the '80s, which also allowed them to pay homage to all the films they had loved growing up.[7]

However, two weeks after they conceived the idea they threw it away, believing there was no way they'd be able to create it due to their inexperience with television. When they were hired as writers for Wayward Pines, they used the opportunity to learn how to create a television series.[5]

They wrote the show's pilot script (then titled Montauk), and created a 20 page pitch book with the intention of resembling a Stephen King book.[3][6] They also created a mock trailer composed of 20-30 films that had inspired the series.[8] They were rejected by 15-20 networks, a major concern being that four of the major characters were kids, but the show itself wasn't necessarily for children. Execs wanted the show to either be made for children, or to have the story centered on Hopper investigating the paranormal occurrences in the town. The Duffers refused to comply with these demands, as they felt everything interesting about the story would be lost.[7] In late 2014, Dan Cohen, the Vice President of 21 Laps Entertainment, brought the script to director-producer Shawn Levy. Levy immediately saw the script's potential and knew he had to do whatever it took to bring the Duffers' vision to life. They then pitched the series to Netflix, and within 24 hours they had bought the entire season. After it was decided on early April 2015 that the show will be targeting for a 2016 release, the Duffers began their writing and brought both Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen to start the casting and filming as executive producers of the series.[9]

Following the successful release of the first season on July 15, 2016, Netflix officially confirmed the renewal for the second season at the end of August. But the Duffer brothers had revealed that the series was already renewed for a second season before the premiere of the first and they had actually been writing the whole time, with Netflix's decision to announce it a month later.[10] While the core story of season two had been decided before the first season aired, the Duffers took the feedback from audience reactions to modify certain elements of the second season. They also opted to call it Stranger Things 2 and wanted to treat it as more of a sequel instead of a continuation.[11] Furthermore, the Duffers wrote the second season so that the combined two seasons felt like a complete work, while also setting some elements to go forward if more seasons were to be green-lit.[12]



Season One[]

Season Two[]

Season Three[]

Season Four[]

Season Five[]


Season One[]

Season Two[]

Season Three[]

Season Four[]


Year Title Credits Notes
2005 We All Fall Down Directors and writers Short
2006 The Big Toe Editors Short
2007 Eater Directors and editors Short
2008 Saturday Night at Norm's Producers Short
2008 The Milkman Producers and actors Short. Matt played an officer, Ross played a driveby thug
2009 Abraham's Boys Directors, writers, producers and editors Short (screenplay), second hand director
2009 Road to Moloch Writers Short (screenplay)
2012 Vessel Co-writers Short film; co-writer
2015 Hidden Directors and writers First feature film
2015 Wayward Pines Writers and producers 4 episodes written, (co-executive) producer of 2 episodes
2016 Stranger Things Creators, directors, writers and producers 14 episodes directed, 12 episodes written, (executive) producer of 23 episodes



  • They’ve have been making films since they were in third grade using a Hi8 video camera that was a gift from their parents.
  • They desperately wanted to direct the remake of Stephen King’s It but were turned down.
  • Their original idea for Stranger Things was Montauk.
  • They are twin brothers and have had a close relationship since their childhood.