‘Squid Game’ director talks about season 2, controversies surrounding show

With the immense success of Netflix’s Korean series “Squid Game,” will there be a second season for the show?

“Squid Game,” produced with a budget of 20 billion won (about $16.8 million), is now the No. 1 show worldwide on Netflix.

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk (center) and his ‘Squid Game’ (Netflix)

As of Sept. 29, “Squid Game” is No. 1 in 80 countries and territories including the US, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and United Kingdom, according to streaming analytics website FlixPatrol.

It is No. 2 in Ukraine and South Africa. The show is also No. 3 in India where “Squid Game” star Anupam Tripathi (player No. 199) was born.

“Squid Game” stars Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo and tells the story of 456 debt-ridden people in Korea who participate in deadly survival games with a 45.6 billion won ($38.5 million) prize at stake.

During a press interview on Sept. 28, “Squid Game” director, writer and creator Hwang Dong-hyuk talked about the possibility of creating a second season, how he created the series, the controversies that followed including the use of phone numbers that turned out to be real numbers of people in South Korea.

Viewers and fans of the “Squid Game” are expecting a second season to follow because of the show’s success and Hwang Dong-hyuk said this is possible.

“I’ve had so many difficulties in the first season that I don’t plan on creating a second season for a while. I have another film project that I’m currently working on, but since so many fans want another season, I will be more actively pursuing the thought. I believe it can be possible with more writers and creators collaborating together in the next season,” he said, according to Korea JoongAng Daily.

The director said, "For now, it's a secret whether Hwang Jun-ho is dead. If you don't do (season 2), it seems like there's going to be an uproar. There are a few images that come to mind, but I think we need to talk a little more with Netflix. Working with Netflix is the best option," SBS News reported.

In “Squid Games,” calling cards with eight-digit phone numbers were used and these became controversial as real people in South Korea said those are their phone numbers. As a result, several people have complained that they have received endless phone calls and text messages from strangers, some of whom wanted to join the squid game.

"I wrote it because it was a non-existent number, a safe number, but the production team did not predict that 010 was automatically attached. Sorry for not checking till the end. We apologize to those who have been affected. The production company is working very hard to solve the problem," the director said. The “010” refers to the mobile prefix used by mobile phone companies in South Korea.

Hwang Dong-hyuk said he came up with the “Squid Game” storyline between 2008 and 2009.

“I first thought of the narrative between 2008 and 2009. I wasn’t working on any films and it was a financially difficult period for me. I didn’t have any money to cover my family’s living expenses and I needed to get loans,” he said.

He added, “It was initially a film script but after I completed it I was looking for investors and actors to cast but the response was not good. It was such an unfamiliar and surreal story that investors felt that it was too risky to turn it into a film. So I put it away for a while until 2018, when by chance, I happened to read through the script again. By then, a streaming platform called Netflix was out in the world. And they showed avid interest in turning the story into a series consisting of nine episodes.”

“Squid Game” was accused of plagiarizing the Japanese movie “As the Gods Will” released in 2014.

“It is true that the story for ‘Squid Game" was inspired from other manga in the survival genres. But the most crucial difference between ‘Squid Game’ and other manga or series is that the games are so simple that anyone can intuitively understand their rules,” he said.

He added that "’Squid Game’ focuses more on the personal relationships and the psychology of the characters. In other similar genres created in Japan or the U.S., one hero of the story with the greatest strength, courage and wisdom gets through the games.”