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SYFY WIRE Squid Game

Who’s richer, Squid Game’s creator or its fictional contest winner? Ask him after Season 2.

Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk says it’ll take a second season to score the big prize

By Benjamin Bullard
Squid Game 102 Still

Squid Game may have rewarded its ultimate winner with a whole lot of moolah, but the dystopian Netflix smash hasn’t lavished the same kind of wealth on creator Hwang Dong-hyuk — at least not yet. Though the series now stands as the most successful launch in Netflix history, it’ll take a second season for Hwang to have a chance at the kind of high-stakes payout as the show’s fictional champ.

But when you’re talking about a show where a second-place finish means you’re literally finished, winning anything at all is definitely better than losing. Hwang says the show’s runaway success hasn’t made him “that rich” just yet, but he doesn’t sound too concerned. After all, that’s a worry he can postpone until it’s time to negotiate with Netflix for a possible second season.

“I’m not that rich,” Hwang recently joked to The Guardian while discussing his share of the bounteous Squid Game haul. “But I do have enough. I have enough to put food on the table. And it’s not like Netflix is paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract.”

That, of course, was drawn up before anyone knew just how huge Squid Game would become worldwide, surging past Bridgerton and previous Netflix originals like The Witcher and Stranger Things to become the most-watched series debut the platform has ever launched. But that same success means Hwang now has a new incentive — one his fictional contestants would likely share — to pull the trigger and at least talk about moving forward with a second season.

“That’s inevitable because it’s been such a success. I am considering it. I have a very high-level picture in my mind, but I’m not going to work on it straight away. There’s a film I really want to make. I’m thinking about which to do first,” he said, before framing his second-season conundrum with an ironic Squid Game twist: “It’s possible that I have to do Season 2 to become as rich as Squid Game’s winner,” he joked.

Though they come from all walks of life, the contestants in Squid Game share one common trait: They’re all desperate for money, and, in one way or another, they’re fighting against a system that’s stacked against them. Hwang said that same desperation fueled his original idea for the series, inspired in part by the comics he read while mulling his career over in the comic book cafes of his native South Korea.

“I read Battle Royale and Liar Game and other survival game comics. I related to the people in them, who were desperate for money and success. That was a low point in my life,” he confessed. “If there was a survival game like these in reality, I wondered, would I join it to make money for my family? I realized that, since I was a filmmaker, I could put my own touch to these kinds of stories so I started on the script.”

As Squid Game’s insane binge numbers attest, the rest is history…at least for now. As Hwang himself admits, it’s tough to shrug off making more episodes now that the hunger for more Squid Game has grown so voracious across the globe. Catch the show's first (and so far only) season at Netflix, then check out our own carefully-curated hit list when you’re ready for even for more dystopian horror.

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