15 Things You Didn’t Know About Netflix’s Squid Game

Squid Game follows Seong Gi-Hun (Lee Jung-jae) and a group of indebted individuals taking part in a series of gory children’s games to win millions (KRW 45.6 billion to be exact) and it’s a runaway hit for Netflix. Released on September 17, the nine-episode Korean thriller is actually poised to become Netflix’s biggest shows ever. Previously, Shonda Rhimes’ luxe period drama Bridgerton set a record with a season one viewing record of 82 million in its first month.

“It’s only been out for nine days, and it’s a very good chance it’s going to be our biggest show ever,” Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos said on stage at CodeCon recently. “We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity.”

To say the newly released Korean original series is causing buzz is an understatement. According to Flix Patrol, a website that tracks streaming statistics for the top platforms in the world, Squid Game is the number one show in 82 of the 83 countries it is available in. (It’s number two in Denmark.)

Obsessed with Squid Game and need to know more? Here, we break down 15 things that you probably didn’t know about the addictive thriller.

Squid Game originally had another name
In September 2019 Netflix announced plans for a new series called “Round Six,” a collaboration with creator Hwang Dong-hyuk. It was his first time working with an international entertainment company. Dong-hyuk wrote all of the series himself.

Dong-hyuk began working on the script over a decade ago
Dong-hyuk began working on his script back in 2008 and finished the first draft of it in 2009. It took the writer and director nearly six months to write the first two episodes alone.

He told Radio Times that at the time the story felt “unfamiliar and violent” and he worried people would find it too abstract to be commercialized and find a wider audience. Dong-hyuk also said he also struggled with funding and casting until Netflix picked it up about a decade later.

It was originally meant to be a movie
In an interview with Variety, Dong-hyuk said that he first imagined the project as a feature film. This isn’t too surprising, considering his film background. He wrote and directed major hit movies like Silenced and The Fortress. He was also a screenwriter and director of the musical comedy Miss Granny, which is widely considered one of the most successful Korean films of all time.

It was inspired by Manhwa
Dong-hyuk revealed that the story of Squid Game was inspired by manhwa (Korean comics) that he had read. In an interview he said: “At that time, I went to bookstores often. And when I read many manhwa, I want to make a story similar to the ones in the manhwa that I read.”

The first game’s doll is a real creation you can visit
The eerie oversized doll from the first episode of the show is real and can be found in Jincheon County, a rural area around three hours north of Seoul. The doll was reportedly borrowed for filming and then returned. According to Koreaboo, the doll guards the entrance of a horse-carriage museum.

The phone number in the first episode of the show is also real
Contestants get involved in the game by calling the eight-digit number on mysterious business cards. Unfortunately, the phone number is real and belongs to a man who said he received about 4,000 calls a day. A South Korean presidential candidate actually offered to purchase the number from him.

The paintings on the dorm walls foreshadow the games
The dorm walls, which are initially covered by beds, actually have drawings that serve as clues for the players to see which games will be played.

Filming started in 2020
Casting of Squid Game was confirmed on June 17, 2020 and things got rolling. However, they had to halt the filming in August 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea. Squid Game resumed filming in September 2020.

There were really 456 people cast to play the game
The story shows that there are 456 people initially participating in the game. Dong-hyuk cast exactly 456 actors and actresses people to get suited up in those green tracksuits for the initial game.

Behind those uniforms
Everything in Squid Game was done for a reason. In the series, we can see that the participants are wearing green tracksuits, while the game managers wear hot pink tracksuits with black masks.

“We paid attention to the contrast of colors because both groups wear team uniforms. The wearing of uniform clothes in the same color was meant to symbolize the erasing individuality and personality.” Dong-hyuk told a South Korean film magazine.

And, those sets?
Upon entering the filming location, the cast of Squid Game was surprised by the design of the filming set. The size and details are exactly the same as what we saw in the series.

One of the challenges in the show is now a TikTok trend
One of the challenges that appears in episode 3 (titled “The Man with The Umbrella”) shows the surviving contestants being given a round tin. Once the tin is opened, a popular South Korean sweet is revealed: Dalgona Candy, a type of honeycomb toffee. The candy consists of two simple ingredients — sugar and baking soda — but the true challenge is eating around the image imprinted in the treat without breaking it. The challenge has inspired TikTokers to create their own viral version… although not as deadly.

“The production crew and I would joke about our series starting a dalgona craze, like how Netflix’s Kingdom did with the gat ― a traditional Korean hat ― but I’m astounded that it actually happened,” the director told The Korea Times.

A first
Squid Game is the first Korean drama to rank No. 1 on Netflix’s top-10 show chart in the United States.

And, it’s helping to make similar shows popular on Netflix
Forbes reported that Squid Game is boosting similar shows that aren’t in English.

Since the show’s release, both the Japanese thriller series Alice in Borderland and Korean drama Sweet Homehave also been trending on Netflix.

There aren’t yet any plans for a second season
Dong-hyuk said he’d want to look into creating more movies before thinking about creating a second season of the show.

“I don’t have well developed plans for Squid Game 2, he told Variety. “It is quite tiring just thinking about it. 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.”

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