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Squid Game Creator Hwang Dong-Hyuk Weighs In On Netflix's Reality Adaptation

Netflix is more than ready to capitalize on the critical and commercial success of "Squid Game." After its premiere, the show broke every record for the streaming service, bringing in over 1.6 billion hours watched in its first 28 days on the platform. The series even beat out "Stanger Things" to become the most popular Netflix series of all time (via Netflix Top 10). 

More recently, "Squid Game" made history at the 2022 Emmy Awards. The show received an astounding 14 nominations, taking home six of them. Lee Jung-jae — the newest addition to the Star Wars franchise — made history as the first South Korean and Asian person to win the Outstanding Lead Actor category. Show creator Hwang Dong-hyuk also became the first South Korean and Asian person to take home the Outstanding Director for a Drama Series award. 

The streaming service giant already has Hwang, who served as writer, director, and producer, working on Season 2, and they aren't stopping there. Netflix announced a collaboration between "Squid Game" and popular reality series "The Challenge" to create a brand new reality competition on the platform, "Squid Game: The Challenge." 

While some fans think "Squid Game: The Challenge" is pretty ironic considering the message behind the original series, Hwang doesn't really see it that way.

Fans shouldn't take Squid Game: The Challenge so seriously

After the historical Emmy wins for "Squid Game," creator Hwang Dong-hyuk commented on Netflix's upcoming reality competition, "Squid Game: The Challenge." 

"I think that even though our show does carry quite a heavy message — and I know that there are some concerns of taking that message and creating it into a reality show with a cash prize," Hwang told Variety. "However, 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." Hwang hopes that adapting a property such as "Squid Game" pushes the industry in a better direction, potentially getting the original series' message across in a more accessible fashion. 

Many fans see the show as problematic, given the original series' depiction of capitalist society and what it does for those less fortunate. Hwang even told Variety in an earlier interview, "I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life." The statement shows the irony surrounding "Squid Game: The Challenge," but Hwang's comments backstage at the Emmy's offers a different perspective on the upcoming reality show. 

Believe it or not, "Squid Game: The Challenge" won't be the first time someone's brought the critically acclaimed series to life. Popular YouTuber MrBeast offered 456 contests $456,000 if they beat out the competition in his much less deadly version. Netflix will up the ante a bit, digging deep into their wallet for "Squid Game: The Challenge," offering 456 competitors the chance to win $4.56 million. Netflix promised that the reality show would include games from the original series and some new surprises.