The creator, director, writer, and exec producer told Deadline that he had begun the creative process for the follow-up after the Korean dystopian drama series became Netflix’s most-watched series ever with more than 142M households watching.
“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 told Deadline at a screening on Monday night in Los Angeles.
Dong-hyuk admitted that creating a follow-up to the series, which has not been officially greenlit at Netflix, is challenging but he said that he is elated to expand on this world he created over a decade ago that has taken the world by storm.
Squid Game follows a group of people who are heavily in debt and willing to risk their lives to earn a lump sum of cash that increases each time a contestant dies.
The nine-part series stars Lee Jung-Jae, Park Hae-soo, and Jung Ho-yeon. The trio and the director were in LA for the screening.
Dong-hyuk said the simplicity of the games made it relatable.
“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 continued, “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.”
Dong-hyuk initially created the series in 2008 during the global financial crisis and he added that the Covid-19 pandemic further exacerbated wealth inequality. “We read it on the news and feel it in our lives. I studied here in early 2000’s 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?”
Season 1 is currently available to stream in its entirety on Netflix.
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