Did Donald Trump Inspire One Of Squid Game's VIPs?

Donald Trump is one of the most divisive and influential people of the past decade, for reasons we are sure we don't need to explain. Regardless of your nationality or political affiliation, Trump's impact on pop culture and society is undeniable. 

Although many shows have been direct and unflinching in their parodying of the former president, "Saturday Night Live" being the best example, Trump has served as inspiration for many artists and storytellers seeking to craft narratives around power and corruption.

"Squid Game," Netflix's latest massive success story, is no exception. Quickly becoming the #1 Netflix show worldwide following its September 17th release (via Forbes), the South Korean drama is a clear commentary on capitalism, class division, and greed in our modern world. "Squid Game" may not be an American production, but it turns out that the former American president inspired the show's writer and director, Hwang Dong-hyuk.

Donald Trump influenced a specific character

Creator, writer, and director Hwang Dong-hyuk has not been shy about sharing the real-world instances (and people) that inspired "Squid Game."

In an interview with IndieWire, as reported by Insider, Dong-hyuk shared (via translator) that the idea of the show was conceived shortly after the financial crash of 2008. He elaborated on how the rise of massive tech companies over the past decade influenced the show, saying, "There was the rise of IT giants like Facebook, Google, and in Korea, there's Naver, and they are just restructuring our lives. It's innovative but these IT giants also got very rich."

It's not just tech CEOs who have the means to exert enormous influence. Donald Trump became one of the most powerful people in the world in 2016, and according to Dong-hyuk, he inspired one of those appalling VIPs from Episode 7. "I think he kind of resembles one of the VIPs in the Squid Game," the director said of Trump. "It's almost like he's running a game show, not a country, like giving people horror." Though Dong-hyuk did not specify which VIP, any viewer of the show can likely deduce which character he is referring to.

The relatable sociopolitical messaging of "Squid Game" is undoubtedly part of its success, and we certainly hope the series gets the opportunity to expand on these themes in a second season.