10 things you probably didn’t know about ‘Squid Game’

On “Squid Game,” the contestants compete in children’s games with a deadly twist.
Youngkyu Park / Netflix
  • Netflix’s South Korean drama “Squid Game” follows people competing for money in violent games. 
  • Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk began working on the script in 2008, and it was originally a film
  • The doll from the first game actually exists, and the phone number belongs to a real person.
Netflix announced its plans for the series a few years ago.
Netflix

Netflix announced plans for the series in September 2019, and it was originally called “Round Six.” 

This collaboration with Netflix was creator Hwang Dong-hyuk’s first time working with an international entertainment company.

Hwang began working on the script over a decade ago.

“Squid Game” wasn’t always easy to get funding for.
Netflix

Hwang began working on his script 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. 

The creator said he also struggled with funding and casting until Netflix picked it up about a decade later. 

“But after about 12 years, the world has changed into a place where such peculiar, violent survival stories are actually welcomed,” he told The Korea Times.

“Squid Game” was originally meant to be a movie.

Hwang Dong-hyuk is a filmmaker.
Netflix

In an interview with Variety, the creator said the project was also originally created as a feature film. 

This isn’t too surprising, considering Hwang’s 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. 

The walls in the players’ room have doodles that foreshadow the games.

The artwork foreshadows the games the players participate in.
Netflix

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. 

The first game’s doll is a real creation you can visit.

The doll guards a museum.
Netflix

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 “Squid Game” 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.

The owner of the phone number reported getting thousands of calls each day.
Netflix

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. 

One of the challenges in the show is now a TikTok trend.

“Squid Game” has a game with dalgona candy.
Netflix

The challenge with dalgona candy, a type of honeycomb toffee, has inspired TikTokers to create their own version.

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 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.

“Squid Game” might be helping to make similar shows popular on Netflix.

A still from “Alice in Borderland.”
Haro Aso,Shogakukan / ROBOT/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 Home” have been trending on Netflix. 

It’s on track to be one of the best-performing shows in Netflix history.

“Squid Game” has been on US Netflix’s top 10 for a while.
Netflix

The show is rapidly becoming a sensation and is the first Korean drama to rank No. 1 on Netflix’s top-10 show chart in the United States.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said “Squid Game” has a very good chance of being the streaming service’s most popular show ever.   

There aren’t yet any plans for a second season.

The creator has some other projects he wants to work on first.
Netflix

Hwang 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.”

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.