Squid Game Creator Explains Why The Show Feels More Realistic Now Than It Did When He First Conceived It

screenshot squid game
(Image credit: Netflix)

To say that the Korean series Squid Game took the world by storm when it released on Netflix last September would be an understatement. It was a mega hit and became one of the most talked about shows in the streaming realm. Many of those fan conversations revolved around the show's cultural relevance. The premise is very dystopian: individuals participate in deadly playground games, after which a lone survivor gets a cash prize. It may have seemed outlandish but, according to the person who crafted the series, current events have made it even more timely.

The creator of Squid Game, Hwang Dong-hyuk, reflected on his show's societal relevance and the initial apprehension people had to the premise during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. He said: 

A decade ago, when I showed the script around, a lot of people told me that while it was creative and original, it wasn’t realistic. Now, I think a lot of people don’t feel that I went overboard with the story. That’s the biggest difference. There’s so much inflation now, and together with the war, the poor are becoming even poorer because the interest rates are higher, it’s more difficult to pay back their debt and gas prices are so high. Ten years ago, people thought nobody would join a Squid Game, but now people maybe do want to because it’s so hard to get by.

The acclaimed series is a great example of how a change in culture and world events can deeply impact how we see stories on screen. On the surface, it's a science-fiction show with morally bankrupt characters but, in reality, the show is much more than that. It offers sharp commentary on wealth, class, and humanity, all of which are extremely relevant topics that so many of us contend with during our daily lives. All in all, while the titular game itself may seem unfamiliar, the characters are very true to life. 

People who didn’t initially grab on to the premise of the show may be feeling a bit differently now, especially as the drama has become a pop culture staple. The show beat Bridgerton to become the most watched original in its streaming platform's history. In addition, it received 14 nominations for the 2022 Primetime Emmys, including one for Outstanding Drama Series. 

The messages have clearly resonated with audiences because a second season of Squid Game has been ordered, with some characters from the first season rumored to return. The actor who played the main protagonist Seong Gi-hun, Lee Jung-jae, has already expressed interest in returning to the show.  The second season may be something of a saving grace for Netflix, who’s subscriber count has suffered as the number of streaming services has increased. Hopefully, the new episodes will have just as much drama and biting social critiques as the first.

If you still haven’t checked out Hwang Dong-hyuk's masterpiece, grab a Netflix subscription and give it a watch. In addition, if you need a refresher at some point before the second season airs, you can check out CinemaBlend's breakdown of the Squid Game Season 1 finale.

Caroline Young

Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.