Acclaimed genre filmmaker, Yeon Sang-ho has garnered fame over the past five years for writing, directing and producing some of the biggest action, fantasy, horror and sci-fi movies and television shows in his native Korea. From the hit action thriller, Train to Busan, to its animated prequel, Seoul Station, and its standalone sequel, Peninsula, the filmmaker’s zombie series has become one of his country’s most successful properties around the world in recent years, besides Parasite and Squid Game.
Sang-ho has also garnered acclaim for his fantasy television show, Hellbound, which is now streaming internationally on Netflix. The live-action series was commissioned by the streaming service after the property started as a two-part animated movie and then was extended into a webtoon for the Korean digital platform, Naver. The new live-action show is currently Netflix’s top non-English language series globally.
While promoting his new sci-fi-thriller series, Sang-ho spoke to Variety, during which he discussed the origins of Hellbound and the potential for a sophomore season. He also shared his ideas for a potential third installment in his live-action Train to Busan franchise.
While discussing his experience of working with Netflix on Hellbound, the filmmaker noted “…the process of working with Netflix was very enjoyable on my end. They very much agreed to and related to my creative vision, but they also created an environment where I didn’t have to think about anything else aside from focusing on my creativity in terms of distribution or when or how to release the series,” he revealed.
While then discussing whether the show will receive a second season, Sang-ho noted: “As you know, we have only just released Hellbound Season 1 and so we didn’t have any time to discuss that issue with Netflix. So I would say this is something we need further discussion on.”
While going on to talk about how Peninsula was a hit when it was released in both Korea and international markets last year, the scribe-helmer-producer delved into whether he has any plans to make a third live-action entry in the series. “I believe that the zombie genre is very traditional but at the same time, depending on what you bring to that, it can be completely new. Personally, I do have some ideas in terms of further development of what happens after Peninsula,” he shared.
“But as for whether I will create that into a film, it’s something that I do want to do. However, because there are a lot of productions that I’m working on currently, I’m thinking that I have to sort of organize the ideas and work on what I have to work on. Up until now I have been someone who’s been an individual creator. But these days I’m thinking that maybe I need to come up with a system in order to really bring all of my creative visions to life,” Sang-ho also revealed.
When then asked if he would consider adapting Train to Busan into a television show, the filmmaker revealed that “There are a lot of ideas I’ve been tossing around but I personally think that for Train to Busan, I would like to continue that as a film series. In Korea, the circumstances are not very favorable to create a series in the Korean language with visuals that are comparable to Train to Busan the film and also, I have to work with … the distributor that we started on the original film. So I think taking into consideration all of those conditions, a film series would be the most feasible.”
Sang-ho added that for the third live-action movie in the universe, he wants to make the story closer to Train to Busan than Peninsula. He noted: “…the story will be carried out in a small and restricted space. That’s something that I have in mind currently. So in terms of the genre, you could say that it’s between Train to Busan and Peninsula.”