Squid Game is currently the hottest show on television, but studios passed on the Korean survival drama’s script for an entire decade before Netflix finally secured the rights. Director Hwang Dong-hyuk initially came up with the idea for Squid Game ten years ago, but he says that local film studios passed on the concept for being too “grotesque” and “implausible.”

Currently on pace to become Netflix’s biggest show ever, Squid Game was finally green-lit because Netflix thought the class struggles displayed “spoke to reality.”

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


This is one of Netflix’s first major successes since investing in more Korean content, spending over $700 million on Korean-made films and television shows between 2015 and 2020. 

While Squid Game has been a runaway hit for Netflix, there has been some controversy surrounding the show. A Korean fan of the show recently called out Netflix’s English dubbing and translation of the actors’ dialogue, claiming that one character’s words were translated poorly and don’t reflect what they were actually communicating. As IGN has pointed out though, one of the English subtitle options is reportedly more accurate than others though, so choose wisely if you’re just starting up the series.

Have you checked out Squid Game yet, and are you surprised that it was rejected for an entire decade?