Squid Game Creator Addresses Concerns About Reality-Show Spinoff Handling Such a 'Heavy Message'

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Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk knows that there are “concerns” about how the announced reality-competition offshoot will handle the “heavy” themes of the South Korean survival drama.

Greenlit in June at Netflix, Squid Game: The Challenge will recruit 456 players who will compete for $4.56 million. They’ll play games inspired by the original series as well as some new ones, with the goal of avoiding elimination. But have no fear, unlike the fictional drama, the reality show doesn’t intend to murder its losers. “The stakes are high, but in this game, the worst fate is going home empty-handed,” the official release assured us.

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Hwang (center) on-set for ‘Squid Game’ - Credit: Hwang Dong-hyuk on set (Courtesy of Netflix)
Hwang (center) on-set for ‘Squid Game’ - Credit: Hwang Dong-hyuk on set (Courtesy of Netflix)

Hwang Dong-hyuk on set (Courtesy of Netflix)

Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk, appearing backstage at the Emmys on Monday night after winning Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (for the episode “Red Light, Green Light”), revealed that this past weekend he had met with the creator of the reality-TV offshoot, “and they had many questions for me.

“What I hope is that they will be carrying on my vision and intention as much as possible for the show,” Hwang said.

Squid Game: The Challenge promptly was derided by many for aiming to make light of a dark drama that was embedded with important messages about class and the ugliness of capitalism.

But Hwang said in the Emmys press room, “I think that even though our show does carry quite a heavy message — and I know that there are some concerns on taking that message and creating it into a reality show with a cash prize — I feel like when you take things too seriously, that’s really not the best way to go for the entertainment industry. It doesn’t really set a great precedent.

“So, I would say that reproductions of such efforts are going to bring new meaning to the industry,” he added, “and I hope that this is going to be a great new direction for the industry overall.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)

Launch Gallery: <I>Squid Game</i>: 15 Questions the Finale Left Us With — Plus, Grade Season 1

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