South Korean filmmaker Hwang Dong-hyuk, who wrote and directed all nine episodes of the Korean-language drama, said he first conceived of the ideas for the show in 2008 during the global financial crisis.
At the time, there wasn’t much appetite for the show’s bizarre premise, he told IndieWire.
Then came the cryptocurrency boom, the rise of tech giants and the Trump presidency. With those major global developments over the past 10 years and changes in the way the show could be distributed to audiences, Dong-hyuk said he felt it was finally the right time.
“I think he kind of resembles one of the VIPs in the Squid Game,” he said of Trump. “It’s almost like he’s running a game show, not a country, like giving people horror. After all these issues happened, I thought it was about time that this show goes out into the world.”
The “VIP” characters in the show are anonymous members of a mega-rich cabal who spectate and bet on the competition, in which hundreds of deeply indebted people play twisted versions of children’s games for a massive cash prize. Players are violently killed when eliminated from the contest.
Within four days of its release on Netflix Squid Game had reached the No. 1 spot on the streaming platform. In South Korea, it debuted at No. 2 and reached the top spot a day later.
The season ended with many unanswered questions, and Dong-hyuk said he was getting a lot of pressure to create a second season.
“I think I do have the obligation to explain it to the fans and I’m thinking about Season 2, but at the time, I was so tired after finishing Season 1, I couldn’t really think of Season 2,” he told IndieWire. “But now that it’s become such a big hit, people would hate me if I don’t make a Season 2, so I feel a lot of pressure and think I’d have to. The big success of Season 1 is a big reward to me, but at the same time it’s given me a lot of pressure.”