Hwang Dong-hyuk created one of the most unexpected and popular shows of all time in Squid Game. It seemingly came out of nowhere to become Netflix’s most watched show in its history, with over 142 million households checking it out.
Dong-hyuk has been on the fence in the past on whether he was going to do a second season, but now he’s saying he’s up to the monumental task of making the show even better a second time around.
“That’s my homework right now, figuring out how to take what I created in Season one and making something new and unexpected,” Dong-hyuk said to Deadline.
While the second season of the deadly game show battle royale series isn’t even official yet, Dong-hyuk said he was really excited to dive back into a world he created more than 10 years ago.
One of the reasons the show was so relatable, Dong-hyuk said, was because of the simplicity of the games.
“Although these games that I played as a child in Korean, they’re all simple and easy games,” he said. “Despite what culture you’re from, I thought these games were very easy to understand and enjoyable to watch. I did try to choose simple and easier games.”
He also said that when he was writing the show, he intentionally wrote stories unique to Korea with the characters, but that he also knew they would have a global appeal.
“As for the stories behind each character, even though they are uniquely Korean with Gi-hun [Lee Jung-jae] being an ex-auto worker, Ali [Anupam Tripathi] being a Pakistani immigrant, Sae-byuk [Jung Ho-yeon] who’s a North Korean refugee, you see people with these stories anywhere in the world. Personally, I was very confident this story would be understood globally and these stories would resonate with a global audience. I felt confident the audience would understand what these characters would go through. On a personal level, I always had the confidence when we showed Squid Game, this was not going to be a spectacle, something you see from afar, but instead, something that is close to the heart and hits home.”
The show was written during the 2008 global financial crisis and meant to highlight wealth inequality. The pandemic drive the wealth gap even farther, he said.
“We read it on the news and feel it in our lives. I studied here in [the] early 2000s and visited L.A. 3 or 4 years ago and when I visited I was saddened to see so many without homes and thought so many more are now in pain. There is such a huge and worsening wealth gap. I made Squid Game in hopes that it’s not just a show to consume but you get to experience it. Like when Gi-hun looks straight into the camera, it’s like he’s asking you this question, ‘Do we have to live in a world like this?’ and can we change that?”
Whatever happens, there’s a wealth of character arcs that have yet to be explored in the show. Should be pretty interesting either way.