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Earlier this summer, Netflix affirmed its commitment to the blossoming Squid Game franchise by handing down the green-light for a reality competition series based on the Emmy-winning hit from South Korea. Squid Game: The Challenge will see 456 contestants vying for a $4.56 million cash prize (the largest lump sum cash prize in game show history) through a series of challenges inspired by children's games. Players must think up novel strategies and form tenuous alliances if they hope to make it to the end.
Fortunately, those who are eliminated will be sent home — not shot on sight like they are in the TV show. Even without this threat of a grisly death hanging over the participants, the project has purportedly come under fire for attempting to make light of serious themes regarding class and economic inequality. Speaking with gathered journalists at the 74th Emmys Monday evening, Squid Game creator, director, and executive producer Hwang Dong-hyuk explained that he doesn't really have a problem with the spinoff.
"I think that even though our show does carry quite a heavy message — and I know that there are some concerns of taking that message and creating it into a reality show with a cash prize — however, I feel like when you take things too seriously, that’s really not the best way to go for the entertainment industry," he said. "It doesn’t really set a great precedent." The only thing he hopes to see is that Netflix carries forth his "vision and intention as much as possible for the show."
He concluded: "I would say that reproductions of such efforts are going to bring new meaning to the industry and I hope that this is going to be a great new direction for the industry overall."
Nominated for 14 awards at this year's Primetime Emmys, Squid Game made television history with a total of three victories in the categories of Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series (Dong-hyuk), Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series (Lee Jung-jae), and Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series (Lee You-mi). “I truly hope Squid Game won’t be the last non-English series to be here at the Emmys,” Hwang said during his acceptance speech. "I also hope this won't be my last Emmy either."
Season 1 of Squid Game is now streaming on Netflix. A second season is currently in active development. Jung-jae is locked in to reprise the character of Gi-hun, winner of the most recent competition. The actor was recently tapped for a pivotal role in the upcoming Star Wars-inspired series, The Acolyte.
Looking for more bloody thrills? Check out Season 1 of SYFY and USA Network's Chucky on Peacock, with Season 2 set to arrive this fall.