Skip to content

8 Squid Game Facts That Prove The Drama’s Director Is A True Mastermind

Squid Game facts 

Packed with spine-chilling scenes and plenty of twists and turns, Squid Game has taken the world by storm, becoming one of the most popular Netflix series ever. Here are eight intriguing Squid Game facts that will make you love the drama even more. 

You can also read our review of the first episode of Squid Game here if you need a quick recap or just need a push to get started on the drama. 

1. Director Hwang began writing the script in 2008

Squid Game Facts - Director Hwang Dong-hyuk
Director Hwang Dong-hyuk
Image adapted from: Netflix

During the press conference for Squid Game, Director Hwang Dong-huk shared that he first wrote the script in 2008. 

Back in 2008, Director Hwang was in debt, just like the 456 participants of Squid Game. It led him to think, “If there were a game like this, I would have participated in it. 

The script for Squid Game was completed in 2009. However it was difficult to attract investors and actors because 12 years ago, the genre and plot of Squid Game were considered brutal and unconventional. 

Squid Game Facts - drama poster
Image credit: Netflix

But more than a decade has passed since the script was written, and many said that the plot was relatable and intriguing. As a result, Director Hwang began to expand the script for Squid Game in 2019. And thanks to Netflix, we got to see the director’s vision come to life.

2. The conspicuously coloured uniforms symbolise conformity

Squid Game Facts - colour contrast between pink and green
Image credit: @netflixkr

If we had to pick two iconic colours of Squid Game, they would be green and hot pink. The participants wear green gym clothes, while the soldiers don hot pink uniforms. 

Squid Game Facts - park seo-joon in korean gym outfit
Our eternal bae, Park Seo-joon, in a typical gym uniform.

Director Hwang dressed the participants in green gym clothes as it reminded him of what Korean high school students wore when he was young. 

Squid Game Facts - uniform colour contrast
Image credit: @netflixkr

To give a nice colour contrast, the soldiers were dressed in hot pink, which is the opposite of green on the colour wheel. The result is not just captivating, but also visually shows that the two groups are on opposing teams. 

Interestingly, pink is used to elicit fear in Squid Game. Besides the soldiers’ pink uniforms, the hallway between the dorm and game arena is also pink. 

Director Hwang initially thought of dressing the soldiers in a boy scout’s uniform, but he had to rule it out as boy scouts usually wear shorts. Since the bodies of the soldiers had to be hidden, he made them wear jumpsuits in order to cover their bodies as much as possible.

Squid Game Facts - uniform colour contrast
Image credit: @netflixkr 

Also, dressing the participants and soldiers in uniforms of the same colour symbolically erases their individuality and identity.

Another thing that adds to this element of anonymity is the use of numbers instead of names. By calling the participants and soldiers by their designated numbers, it signifies how the system robs them of their identity.

3. The shapes on the masks were inspired by an ant colony 

Squid Game Facts - different shapes on soldiers' masks
Image credit: @netflixkr 

In an ant colony, ants follow a structure where their duties and roles are clearly delineated. However, from the outside, most of the ants look indistinguishable from each other. Director Hwang took inspiration from this when designing the soldiers’ uniforms.

Although every soldier wears the same clothes, the shapes drawn on the masks are different. Some have a circle drawn on their masks, while others have a triangle or a square.

The circle represents workers, the triangle represents soldiers, and the square represents managers. In Squid Game, workers, soldiers and managers only carry out their given tasks and nothing else. Otherwise, they would be shot dead. 

4. The paintings on the dorm walls foreshadow the games 

Squid Game Facts - dorm walls that foreshadow the games
Image adapted from: Netflix

In the beginning, there were many beds covering the dorm walls, but as more participants died, the number of beds decreased. Hidden behind the beds were paintings that show the games that would be played.

With only three participants and three beds left in episode eight, the paintings on the dorm walls became apparent. 

Squid Game Facts - participants in the set of the second game
Image credit: @netflixkr

This set design detail blew the minds of many viewers. At first glance, these paintings resemble illustrations from a children’s book, which made it easy to dismiss them without much thought. However, the paintings on the dorm walls were actually important clues that could have helped the participants win. Perhaps Player 111 should have appreciated his surroundings a little better.

5. The stairs were inspired by Escher’s Relativity 

Squid Game Facts - stairs inspired by Dutch artist
Image credit: @netflixkr

In episode one, a top-down shot of the colourful, disorienting stairways impressed viewers and created an unsettling atmosphere.

Squid Game Facts - M.C. Escher’s Relativity
M.C. Escher’s Relativity
Image credit: The M.C. Escher Company

Director Hwang revealed that he was inspired by a lithograph print by Dutch artist M.C. Escher. The lithograph print is titled Relativity, and it illustrates a world where the laws of gravity are different from the real world. 

In Relativity, there are a total of seven stairways arranged in a mind-boggling manner. This is similar to the complex stairway design and maze-like corridors in Squid Game.

6. 456 people really participated in the first game 

Squid Game Facts - 456 real actors
Image adapted from: Netflix

In the beginning of Squid Game, there were a total of 456 participants. The participants were played by real actors, and not CG!

Squid Game Facts - set of the first game
Image credit: @netflixkr

Director Hwang was adamant on minimising the use of CG, which meant that most of the sets were created and built in real life. Lee Jung-jae, the veteran actor who played Gi-hun in Squid Game, was taken aback when he saw how large-scale the sets were in real life.

By building enormous sets and filming with real people, Director Hwang ensured that the drama was portrayed in the most realistic manner. The cast could interact with the physical sets and give an authentic performance.

7. The music evokes familiarity in an unfamiliar world

Squid Game Facts - music choice
Image adapted from: Netflix

Oftentimes, dramas with violent scenes rely on a dramatic soundtrack to heighten the tension. But Jung Jae-il, the music director of Squid Game, made use of soothing music to convey comfort in a world of grisly games. 

You may have recognised some of the music used in Squid Game, such as Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon and Johann Strauss II’s The Blue Danube. Although the music itself is calming, it provides a jarring contrast against the world of blood, brutality, and death in Squid Game.

The way familiar pieces of music have been manipulated to incite horror is similar to the way that fun childhood games have been twisted to bring about death. 

On top of that, familiar instruments such as the recorder were used in the gameplay music. Hence, the contrast between the ruthless reality and the sentimental music not only elicits uneasiness, but also portrays the upheaval of the characters’ emotions as they engage in life-and-death games.

8. Oh Il-nam’s name could have been the biggest hint

Squid Game Facts - oh il-nam
Image credit: @netflixkr 

In Korean, Oh Il-nam’s name literally means “number one man”. This is because il” (일) means one, and nam” (남) means “man” in Korean. 

Oh Il-nam’s name ties in with his designated number, 001. This could have been Director Hwang’s way of foreshadowing the mastermind of Squid Game. Oh Il-nam is not only the first participant of Squid Game, but also ranks number one in terms of wealth and power. 

Squid Game Facts - oh il-nam's motion not detected
Image adapted from: Netflix

Another hint is shown in the first episode of Squid Game. If you look closely, Oh Il-nam was not detected by the animatronic girl in the game “Red Light, Green Light”. You can see how he was not outlined in green when the animatronic girl scanned the crowd.

Squid Game facts that will make you look at the drama differently 

Squid Game Facts - invitation card
Image credit: @netflixkr

Squid Game is making history and paving the way for Korean dramas on global platforms such as Netflix. We hope these eight facts will help you better appreciate the detail-laden and thought-provoking drama.

Although Squid Game revolves around money and the corruption of humanity, Director Hwang ultimately hopes to deliver one hopeful message. He said, “Even when it feels like there’s only despair, fear, and sorrow left for those participating in the game, there’s always those who don’t give up their humanity. I want to convey hope.” 

Also check out:

Cover image adapted from: @netflixkr and @netflixkr