‘Squid Game’ Was Rejected For 10 Years For Being ‘Too Unrealistic,’ But Then The Real World Got Dark Enough To Catch Up

After debuting last month, Squid Game has rocketed to the top of Netflix charts all over the globe. The dystopian drama is putting up record numbers for the streaming company, and it’s on track to be Netflix’s biggest show ever (as well as fully dominate Halloween this year). Turns out making people compete in children’s games to the death is the key to a guaranteed genre hit. However, Squid Game almost never saw the light of day, and a new report reveals that the show’s creator spent over a decade trying to convince network execs to take a chance on the dark drama.

While living with his mother and grandmother, Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk developed the idea over a decade ago, and the show’s treatise on class warfare took on a personal meaning as Hwang was forced to sell his laptop while writing the now international juggernaut. Unfortunately, Hwang couldn’t get anyone on board with the series because it was deemed too unrealistic, but that all changed when Netflix stepped in and basically agreed that, yup, actually the world is messed up enough that Squid Game makes total sense. Via The Wall Street Journal:

Back then, potential investors and actors bristled at the brutal killings and implausibility of individuals competing to the death for money. But two years ago, Netflix thought the class struggles outlined in “Squid Game” spoke to reality.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the global economy, it exacerbated the disparity between the rich and the poor, said the 50-year-old Mr. Hwang. Even vaccine rollouts vary greatly based on whether a country is wealthy or not, he said.

“The world has changed,” Mr. Hwang said. “All of these points made the story very realistic for people compared to a decade ago.”

And there you have it. The world got dark and depressing enough that a game show where contestants risk getting shot in the face for a million dollars doesn’t sound crazy at all. It’s the feel-good story of the year.

(Via Wall Street Journal)