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By now, many of the viewers who've discovered the strange horrors and delights of Squid Game are aware at least somewhat of its backstory. Acclaimed Korean writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk spent more than a decade trying to develop the story, first as a feature film, and was met with rejection until Netflix seized on the dystopian series as an expansion of its international streaming offerings.
Now, Squid Game is one of the biggest shows of the year, with critical acclaim and a constantly growing international fanbase for its tale of desperate competitors battling for survival in an often bizarre competition that could make them rich. Though it took him a while to get the series off the ground, Hwang does understand the essential elements that seem to have made it a hit.
“I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life. But I wanted it to use the kind of characters we’ve all met in real life,” Hwang told Variety. “As a survival game it is entertainment and human drama. The games portrayed are extremely simple and easy to understand. That allows viewers to focus on the characters, rather than being distracted by trying to interpret the rules.”
In between developing the concept for Squid Game and finally launching it as a series, Hwang has found himself busy with other projects in his home country, including acclaimed films like Silenced, The Fortress, and Miss Granny. But the survival series is the thing that put him on the map worldwide, and it's easy to see why fans are clamoring for more.
In just nine episodes, the first season of Squid Game laid out an epic, eerie saga of survival that slowly whittled down its cast of characters, raising the tension every step of the way. It all culminated in a perfect setup for a second season that could delve into the background of the game itself, how it came to be, how it's organized, and who's responsible for its body count.
But that all depends on whether or not Hwang actually wants to move forward with a follow-up. At the moment, according to Variety, he's actually at work on an unrelated feature film project that he'd like to complete before attempting to return to Squid Game. There's also one other key stipulation Hwang mentioned: Hiring some co-writers after scripting every episode of the show's first season by himself, and some more filmmakers to share the load behind the camera.
“I don’t have well developed plans for Squid Game 2. It is quite tiring just thinking about it," he said. "But if I were to do it, I would certainly not do it alone. I’d consider using a writers’ room and would want multiple experienced directors.”
The first season of Squid Game is streaming now streaming on Netflix.